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Mar 3, 2011

Human Development says Ruha’mah blacklisted from adoptions

Over the past two weeks News Five has reported on a series of cases in which children have been victims of human trafficking and on international adoptions being used to traffic children into the U.S.  Antonette and Alfred Williams came to our studios and shared how they were facing a life and death situation with their son and a half million dollar surgery was the only solution. They gave their child up for adoption so his life would be saved, only to find out that the missionary woman who took their son lied about the cost of the surgery, since it was given for free. The Williams along with several others gave up their children to the same American national, who has changed their names and peddles their stories on the internet for donations. News Five spoke to the C.E.O. of the Ministry of Human Development this afternoon who says that Ruha’mah Stadtlander is no longer able to legally take Belizean children out of the country.

Judith Alpuche, C.E.O., Ministry of Human Development

Judith Alpuche

“The Ministry of Human Development is aware of Ruha’mah Stadtlander. We’ve been aware of her for at least fifteen years now and there have been various interventions along the way. This lady started out as a missionary, as much as we can tell, she started out as a missionary doing these medical missions with children. By the time we became involved with her, she had done missions with at least forty to fifty children and she returned most of the children. There are quite a few adults even around Belize who have benefited from her missions. For some reason, there are certain children that she seems to have gotten attached to and has not returned them in a timely fashion. We are aware of four such cases and we’ve worked with all four of these cases. The ministry over the years has successfully facilitated the return of two of those children, two of the four. In the case of one child from up north that was adopted by her, when the family was interviewed the family had no difficulty with the adoption and they in fact were not seeking the return of the child. So that was left there; there was consent in that case.

In the specific case of Alfred Williams; the ministry, as indicated by the parents, has been involved at various points in time. We even went so far as to hire an attorney earlier on in this case who successfully argued for the adoption to be overturned here in Belize. The difficulty has been actually with the retrieving of the child. There were attempts through the American Courts that proved to be unsuccessful for one reason or the other. The one I remember most vividly is the case that was done in the Miami Court, where the Court ruled that the child should remain in the states because of his medical condition. Throughout the years when the Williams family have been able to identify through other means, Ruha’mah Stadtlander’s whereabouts have been, the case had been sent to the Center for Missing and Exploited Children in the states and other authorities, but really to no avail. Throughout the ministry has been involved and I think that the parents indicated that in their interview. Whenever her case or cases that she’s been involved with—Ruha’mah Stadtlander has been involved with—has come to the attention of the ministry, we have taken action as I have already outlined.”

Jose Sanchez

“Now, is it safe to say Ruha’mah can’t come and take anymore kids?”

Judith Alpuche

“Well she certainly is very much blacklisted in the eyes of the government here. Over the years because of Ruha’mah and other cases that have proven to be difficult in terms of near misses or things like that, action has been taken at the policy level to try to safeguard our children.”

Alpuche says that adoption policies have been tightened to avoid similar circumstances. She pointed out the Families and Children’s Act which provides protection during adoption; and the implementation of the Hague Convention on inter-country adoption regulations. Human Development is also exploring amendments to the Trafficking in Persons Prohibition Act to include a provision that focuses on adoption for the purpose of human trafficking.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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9 Responses for “Human Development says Ruha’mah blacklisted from adoptions”

  1. BZNinCALI says:

    Judith, I have an overdue library book I failed to return in a timely fashion. I have kept my nieces & nephews for the weekend, taken them with me on vacation but never got so attached to them that I assumed that my selfish needs overrode their parents rights. The last time I checked they weren’t chattel, if I steal an animal, I am hauled away in handcuffs, steal a child & as long as I have a good reason, I am allowed to slide. How many complaints have you had in the last 15 years that you have been aware of this woman & did she just become blacklisted since Channel 5 shamed you guys into action? What are you planning to do to help the Williams regain custody of their child & why wasn’t the verdict in Florida appealed when you found out that the information she provided was bogus?

  2. belizeanfirst says:

    ONLY IN BELIZE!!!!!! Who is even noticing when this BABY HUMAN TRAFFICKER is in the country or not? Please, the Minister of Security did not even know that the human services was already working on this case. PLEASE if an entire plane(s) are flown in and out of the country and no one can account for the plane(s) and pilot(s), who is flagging this woman when she comes into the country or anyone under some fake umbrella missionary organization? FOR ALL WE KNOW she just flew in and out of Belize with some kids last week or someone from her organization fronting for her!

  3. Andrea Williams says:

    That is a link to court case concerning another of the children that Ms. Ruhamah took.

  4. Belizean Brain says:

    I think we need to learn from the Costa Ricans. At their border, immigration has a special desk that deal with families taking children. They ensure that the children are legally being taken out and reduces child trafficking as well as kidnapping even by thier own parents in situations of divorce etc.

    We need to set m up something similar at the Airport and borders!!

  5. Elgin Martinez says:

    Judith Alpuche: No one cares how long you know Ruha,mah you’ve got a resposibility to bring this trafficker to justice.

  6. Disgusted! says:

    Obviously nobody is interested in the Bull$#!t you have to say Judith Alpuche so STFU! Your department facilitated with this human disease taking Belizean kids out of the country so it’s your incumbent duty to assist the families with being re-united with their lost children. PLAIN AND SIMPLE!!!! Oh, and just for the records, what was in it for you. That’s the question!!!!!!

  7. Ruha'mah Stadtlander says:

    Just learning of all that occurred back on/around March 4,2011 – Belated, I know, however, my response might be of interest should anyone read this – copy/paste into browser:

  8. Elgin Martinez says:

    When will Ruha’mah Stadtlander be extradited to Belize to face charges for trafficking our kids.Stop Rhett extradition until this idiot has been extradited to Belizea what the F is wrong with you my Belizean people?What is good for the goose is good for the gander.Stop the exploitation of our people for financial gain.

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