Israeli twin babies sold in child trafficking scandal in USA
The business of selling babies. A lucrative business run by a Jewish Orthodox child trafficking operation. Babies can be sold for as much as $150,000 each. News of a gag order partially lifted earlier this month names Rabbi Shmuel Puretz as a major player in this scam operating between Israel and the USA.
The other victim in the news is Adi Gino. She has come forward to give her story in English to the NGO CFI - Children and Families International, of how her twin girls were taken from her several years ago. Currently raising her 3 sons, she has found the courage to tell the story of the network who coerced her into taking her twin girls and then selling them. Despite the fact she was paid expenses at the time, she goes into details as to how she was manipulated by an experienced ring of traffickers. Here is the inside exclusive story of how she was pressured by a sophisticated ring of people to sell her children against her will. Her own country Israel – were waiting to take her babies at the moment of birth, and in the USA, an unscrupulous ring capitalised on her dilemma. Here is her account:
What led you to decide to give your girls for adoption?
It is not as straightforward as this. I had two sons, and was suffering post natal depression after the birth of my second boy. I naively went to the Israeli Welfare for help. I had no idea what a mistake this turned out to be. They arranged medication for me, and said they would send me someone who could help out with my sons. The problem was, the medication accelerated my depression, and I ended up in hospital. I had to battle hard to be released, but with really heavy medication and finally my sons were returned to my care.
Why did you go back again to the Social Services?
The post natal depression had a grip on me, and nothing was helping. I asked them for a temporary solution but to my horror, the social worker wrote to the court reporting that I told her I wanted to murder my children! I couldn't believe it. But the judge accepted her one sided account, and my boys were placed in emergency foster care. Seven months later they were placed in a permanent foster family. In those first few months, I saw my children in a contact centre, and they insisted they were being abused by that family. I promised them, that I would rescue them. This focused me to recover much more quickly from the post natal depression.
One of the most heartbreaking moments for me was when the new foster parents changed the boys surname to their own and insisted my children called the woman 'mum'. After over 2 years of fighting the Welfare, my husband and I separated and divorced. But my ex husband continued the battle with the Welfare. I had no more energy. At that time, I learned the Social Services were all powerful, and everything they told a judge was accepted as truth without listening to the parents.
So, you then entered a new relationship?
Yes, I got into a new relationship, and it wasn't long before I became pregnant, with twins. The scans showed it was going to be twin girls. I really wanted them, But you cannot make a mistake in Israel without paying a price due to your background. I had decided that the best thing to do was to have an abortion. In the queue at the abortion clinic, I was met by two women, who were from the Efrat Organisation. They persuaded me over time that I should value the lives of my unborn babies and not do an abortion. The problem for me was the solution after that. If I had the children, the welfare would take them from me. They told me, there was someone who could help me, and then along came a woman called Alice Barzilay.
She was the person who explained to me about the tagging by the welfare. The Welfare had tagged me, and started to monitor my pregnancy. I later learned this is an illegal practice. They had put warnings in all hospitals in Israel, that their intention was to take my new babies at birth. Shortly after learning all this, Alice said she would introduce me to a Rabbi called Shmuel Puretz.
With Alice telling me the Welfare wanted my children and I must leave the country to deliver them - I was convinced. I met the Rabbi, full of questions, and he told me that I could give the babies to a family who could promise updates, visits, contacts etc to keep them safe. It had started to feel like the only obvious solution.
What happened when you met Rabbi Shmuel Puretz?
By this time, the Welfare were watching me closely, even trying to arrange psychiatrists, and I was terrified. He told me he would arrange to give the babies for 'adoption' for a payment, but it would be similar to a surrogacy, and would only be a temporary situation. He told me that if I went to the USA, an adoption agency and legal service would be put in place to 'make it look legal'. I really believed him at this point that although I was going to receive money for this, that it would only be temporary. Alice told me I could use this money to fight the Welfare services for my boys return, as the money would buy me a good lawyer. I was stressed, afraid, heartbroken about my sons and now pregnant again with my girls. Unless you are in this position, it is impossible to judge me. My instincts were screaming at me to go ahead with it because of my fear in Israel, but also I didn't want my babies adopted, so the suggested solution by Rabbi Puretz seemed the best thing to do. I was in a catch 22, lose the babies to the Welfare, or try give my babies a better future, with the option to keep in touch with them, and the hope I could even get them back eventually.
When did you go to the USA?
At the beginning of my seventh month of pregnancy, I flew with Alice to the USA - New Jersey, all funded by Shmuel Puretz. I met a woman called Dr. Lonnie Morris. She ran an organisation called the Childbirth & Women's Wellness Centre.
I gave her my medical records of pregnancy. She did regular checks in the final few weeks of the pregnancy. I was placed into a basement room of an orthodox family, arranged by Shmuel Puretz. Shortly after, due to some arguments there, I was then put into a hotel. All arranged by the Rabbi. But moved again to a house, which had a For Sale sign outside, and was unoccupied. Alice, who had accompanied me, and the Rabbi met with me, and I told them that I didn't want to go ahead with the adoption process, and was prepared to return the money I had been given. They were both furious.
I couldn't bear the idea of giving my girls up. I was so full of remorse but again was being threatened that the Israeli Welfare would steal the babies, and at least this way I had a chance of seeing them again, and maybe still be able to have them returned to me. This was how they had spent months convincing me it was the only way, even going as far as to say they would inform the Welfare and make sure I lost all my children. Alice left the USA, and another woman got involved from the Orthodox Community called Shlomit Elbaz, who was the liaison between the agency and myself.
I went into labour, and at the hospital Lonnie Morris informed me that one of the babies was at risk, and I needed a cesarean. I was taken to Pascack Hospital where I met for the first time Dr. Charles Haddad, who did the delivery. Lonnie was present, and also in the waiting room was Rabbi Shmuel Puretz. I had two beautiful baby girls, and was told I could name them. They stayed with me in my hospital room for four whole days. Then I was discharged from the hospital without them.
What was I to do? When I was released from the hospital, I was numb, in the house, and the Loving Choice counsellor came. She told me to just 'let it go'. There was some paperwork, but I didn't want to sign it. She told me it was my right. When I went to the agency, accompanied by Shlomit I told them again I didn't want to sign. At this point, I begged them if I could keep just one of them I was taken from the office and they told me the Welfare were waiting for me in Israel to take a baby. She said they would call the Israeli Welfare and if I returned they would take the babies immediately, so I signed, but was terrified. It was a nightmare.
You would describe this as counselling?
There were not 3 counselling sessions, just a first introduction session, the visit of Liz suggesting I let things go, and the last meeting in the agency office threatening me to sign or the Welfare in Israel would take my babies, I had no instructions or advice. When released, I got a discharge note saying 'left with no babies', but have no legal documentation from a court with my acceptance to surrender them signed by a court or a judge. I then had to return to Israel to continue the fight for my sons again. My ex husband in Israel had finally won custody of our children with a date for their return. I had just found out, but at this point, I was split into two, and couldn't fight in two countries. I returned home and we remarried, and I tried to forget the birth and the babies in USA.
Who were the people you remember being involved in the whole process?
The adoptive parents were called Meir and Page, Shlomit Elbaz was from the Orthodox community in New York who was the liaison with the agency. Miriam was a family member of the adoptive parents. The attorney was Deborah Steincolor who made her sign the papers.
There was a social worker named Liz from the adoption agency Loving Choice, the doctor was Dr. Lonnie Morris (who is only a doctor of nursing we learn). The babies were delivered in Pascak Hospital with another surgeon Dr. Charles Haddad. I received a total amount of 300,000 New Israel Shekels (approximately $75,000 at the time), paid in bits in cash, only one money transaction was sent to my ex husband . On the delivery note, the name is Aaron Wingerten. The money was paid to me in cash between month four and seven of the pregnancy before I flew. They passed also 4000 in the post. I had no records, but I did take a photo of the money. The adoptive parents paid more than $300,000, which I have proof of in recorded calls. When I asked, the adoptive parents said they knew they were buying babies, not adopting.
Having filed a complaint to the FBI earlier this year, Adi is still waiting for news. She recalls that she regretted the process 2 weeks before delivery and shared it once in New York.
But, the Welfare already knew about the girls, and renewed their plans to not let her see the boys. The whole persecution began again, and she was depleted.
It took until 2019, when the Welfare finally let them go, did she get up to fight with publicity for her twin girls. When she went on to a local channel in Israel, she received a message from Shlomit Elbaz: -
The English translation:
Shlomit Elbaz: What would help anonymity if you already revealed everything on the radio and already know about you ... I only worry about the girls who will not disappear them for fear of being taken to them or suddenly transferred to Europe or China, you know, to keep them.
Adi Gino: ..... Exactly ... it's shocking ... really scared of them ... poor girls.
Shlomit Elbaz: Maybe you put in place a restraining order so they can't leave the US.
Adi Gino: Is there a chance to talk to Miriam about trying to locate her parents? Do they know everything has been revealed?
Shlomit Elbaz: I have no idea ... maybe she moved away .. I saw a building site in her home.
Adi received NO documents pertaining to the process. She received no documents to sign to perform the Cesarean, no legal documents, and no explanation of why the discharge letter stated there were NO babies with her when she was released. She had no idea how to fight.
It is easy to judge automatically the idea that a mother could agree to sell her children. Adi was persuaded to take some 'expenses' which would give her sufficient funds to fight for her sons, and was aware of the CPS breathing down her neck. Her marriage had ended in divorce, her sons temporarily lost to her; pregnant very quickly in a new relationship, and in a very vulnerable position. The whole aim of trafficking groups is to target vulnerable woman for manipulation.
CFI shared some of the research which has taken place. The key players in this whole affair are - Loving Choices Adoption Associates, led by Christine Letizia as one of the Board Directors.
The Agency are in the headlines due to a long running case in 2018 when a young 19 year old mother attempted to have her adopted baby returned. They won in the Appellate Court, whilst it was still upheld the Agency had violated many regulations. The birth mother will appeal in the Supreme Court, with her legal team still insisting on the poor handling of the process by the agency. In the protocol, the counsellor insists there were 3 counselling sessions, and for the first time in her life, she shredded the handwritten notes. This should mean Adi's notes are intact, though she does not have access to them.
Given that Adi recalls there were not 3 sessions, just the only one in her rented apartment, this may also break the regulations set out for the Agency to adhere to.
Below is the surrender document Adi signed - two were signed, one for Baby A and one for Baby B. She named them herself, as permitted.
The documents; signed by Adi were then notarised by a Notary Public, by the name of Christine Letizia - the Director of Loving Choice. One of the conflicts of interest as a Notary Public is NOT to sign where it is possible the person could have a benefit materially. Certainly Christine Letizia was gaining from the adoption process. It is written in Notary Law in the USA, this could make the papers invalid.
The above picture is Elizabeth J Maloney, known as Liz Nass Maloney, who was a registered LCSW, has departed from Loving Choice In January 2016, and also her social worker certificate appears to have expired.
The lawyer who was paid by Loving Choice and appointed to Adi was Deborah Steincolor. This woman has been subsequently disbarred both in New Jersey and in Pensylvania by the Supreme Court. She now sells meditation and holistic services. Both those signatories were the witnesses in the affidavit by Adi, which she felt forced to sign.
Lonnie Morris, the midwife, appears to have an illustrious career as a midwife who champions natural childbirth, even in multiple deliveries. She was the attending midwife when Adi gave birth, assisting Dr. Charles Haddad at the Private Pascack Hospital in New Jersey. A woman who has delivered 5000 babies, and assisted 5000 more, her resume claims. A question must be raised as to the professionalism of the discharge paper Adi received on leaving the hospital. It seems to be a 'cut and paste' of dietary advice and cautions it a natural birth had occurred.
The discharge document was unsigned by both parties. It states she left with 'no babies', yet general information is for a mum who has her baby with her. There is little personal data for Adi, with the follow up arranged for one week later with the same Lonnie Morris. Yet according to Adi, she flew back to Israel shortly after being discharged from hospital with yet another letter from Lonnie Morris: -
Notice how the letter has handwritten changes, but also has the word 'gestation' remaining in this standard letter. Lonnie Morris also adds, 10 weeks bed rest after the flight. The letter is also undated. Adi can testify she received this to give to any airline should they ask, which no one did. The lack of professionalism in these two letters is on show to see.
This is an example of some of the research investigation carried out. Lonnie Morris is a friend of the lawyer Deborah Steincolor, the lawyer who signed as a witness to the documents Adi signed. This same lawyer has been disbarred and suspended on ethical grounds in 2016, both in New Jersey and by the Supreme Court in Pensylvania.
Dr. Lonnie Morris is not a medical doctor, but a Doctor of Nursing. The surgeon who assisted her in Adi's birth process is Dr. Charles Haddad; who has mixed reviews from patients, on both extremes. Rabbi Puretz met Adi 3 times, assuring her that everything could be arranged, but increasingly frustrated and angry when she wanted to cancel the adoption process.
A rabbi, major suspect in baby trafficking; a now suspended lawyer, a notary public who was also a director of Loving Choice; and unsigned discharge papers - just some of the information indicating that Adi was unwittingly involved in a major scam.
Whilst Adi stressed she knew it was wrong to take the money, she was persuaded this could be used to fight the welfare in Israel for her boys. Now she has all her children with her in Israel, and is determined to bring the perpetrators of the crimes against her to justice.
CFI - Children and Families International continue to work with Adi Gino. She hopes to bring the rabbi to account for the sale of her girls. These are the last pictures she received of her daughters sent to her over a year ago by the orthodox social worker.
On reviewing the information, CFI lawyer Mickey Givati notes: "On reviewing the materials from Mrs. Gino 'There are a lot of question marks regarding all the parties involved. There are some key points to be raised. What led the woman to feel so afraid of the welfare in Israel that she was compelled to deliver her babies overseas. She is correct in the fact there is a 'Delivery warning' issued in Israel to all hospitals in cases where the Welfare feel they want to take the babies at birth. This is indeed true, though shrouded in secrecy. A Birth Warning," or "Birth Announcement" - are nicknames given to the condition that already in the hospital, welfare agencies ask to take newborn babies from their parents, because parents, in many cases single mothers, are unable to raise the baby. The removal of the baby from its parents' authority in the hospital contrary to their full consent is done by virtue of a section of the Youth Law, which allows social workers to issue, in their discretion, an "emergency order" for taking the baby. While the baby is discharged from the hospital, welfare ministry officials (social workers for youth law) do not allow parents to remove the babies from the nursing room..
If necessary, this is ensured through police or security guards, who keep parents away and supervise the maternity ward until the babies are transferred to supervised and sponsored settings, such as welfare-supervised nursing homes or foster care families - where they will remain until a foster family is found.
A long line of evidence indicates a process that goes from start to finish improperly and almost unilaterally, in violation of basic and fundamental human rights - such as the right to family life, the right of representation, the right of appeal and the right to medical secrecy.
A fetus is not a legal entity, and the state and social workers are not the guardians of the fetuses. Reporting a mother who is giving birth labels her only as a womb. Not as a woman facing an important and exciting event in her life.
I believe Mrs. Gino's fears were genuine based on her past, and although secretively done, these practices are not uncommon. It explains why she was led into the decision to go to the USA to deliver her children.
Mrs. Gino had a right under New Jersey law to oppose the adoption process. The release form and counselling she receives indicates she was not given this right, or even knew about it. The rule of adoption also demand the birth mother has the right to choose the adoptive parents, as it is a matching process. This also did not occur, and Mrs. Gino expressed to us her concerns about the adoptive parents. She was not given a choice. At this juncture, the research will be held confidentially for further investigation and to deal with law enforcement agencies."
If anyone has any further information related to any names mentioned, please contact [email protected]