Fairview case draws scrutiny from Liberian ambassador

BY ANN KELLEY Published: April 18, 2010
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/> Calls to Chris Foell, executive director of Oklahoma Home Study, and Erlene Logan, the adoption worker who completed the study, were not returned.

Logan’s report says Ardee Tyler’s 28-year-old son, Jeremy Tyler, was interviewed and supportive of his parents adopting.

Jeremy Tyler said he was beaten and abused by Penny Tyler as a child and would have recommended against the adoption if asked. No one ever called him, he said.

The report claims Penny Tyler has a good relationship with her siblings, except her sister, Robyn Raveling. It never says why.

Raveling said she sent her children to live with the Tylers while she was going through a divorce. A month later, the Tylers refused to return the children, and a custody battle ensued, she said.

Raveling said she got her children back and hasn’t spoken with the Tylers since. The home study indicates the Tylers have an annual income of $83,000, a figure that contradicts a presentence investigation that reveals they bring home about $60,000 less.

In an April 10 interview with the Tylers, the couple denied claims that Jeremy Tyler was an abused child and defended the home study. Penny Tyler said it’s possible the agency has a letter from her stepson to prove they contacted him.

"We don’t have any way of knowing for sure if she interviewed all the people she said she did, but why would she lie?” Penny Tyler said.

"We never put ourselves out there to be the perfect family, but whose family is?”

Adoptive parents urged to be prepared
Along with a thorough home study, it’s important that any adult considering an international adoption be well educated about the problems that can transpire, said Dr. Dana Earnest Johnson, a member of the University of Minnesota’s adoption medicine program and clinic. One of Johnson’s areas of study is the effects of institutionalization on the growth and development of internationally adopted children.

Johnson has addressed the U.S. Congress on international adoption issues. He also has firsthand knowledge — he and his wife adopted a son from India.

He said not all, but many children coming to the United States arrive with a complex set of problems that adoptive parents aren’t skilled to deal with. Some parents are so eager to adopt that they’re afraid to ask about the child’s history, Johnson said.

He said many children, especially those coming from countries with political unrest, are abused, neglected, starved or raped and have witnessed atrocities happening to other people.

As a result, the children might not grow physically as they should, and have delays in motor skill development and language skills, Johnson said.

In some instances, children so hurt in their former lives develop Reactive Attachment Disorder, making them unable to trust adults. Those children can work against the very adults who are trying to help them, Johnson said.

"The most important advice I can give any adoptive parent is be prepared,” Johnson said. "If you see problems, get help immediately.”


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