Nicole and Calvin Eason, an Illinois couple in their 30s, saw the ad and a picture of the smiling 16-year-old.
They were eager to take Quita, even though the ad warned that she had been diagnosed with severe health and behavioral problems.
Through Yahoo and Facebook groups, parents and others advertise the unwanted children and then pass them to strangers with little or no government scrutiny, sometimes illegally, a Reuters investigation has found. Often, the children are treated as chattel, and the needs of parents are put ahead of the welfare of the orphans they brought to America.
The practice is called "private "Born in October of 2000 – this handsome boy, 'Rick' was placed from India a year ago and is obedient and eager to please," one ad for a child read.
"This is a group of children who are not being raised by biological parents, who have been relocated from a foreign country" and who sometimes don't even speak English, says Michael Seto, an expert on the sexual abuse of children at the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group in Canada.
MOTIVATED MOM: In her time seeking children on the Internet, Nicole Eason has referred to herself as Big Momma and Momma Bear.
Her term for informal custody transfers is "non-legalized adoption," and she defines the phrase to mean: "Hey, can I have your baby?
In emails, Nicole Eason assured Melissa Puchalla that she could handle the girl.
"People that are around me think I am awesome with kids," Eason wrote. 4, 2008, the Puchallas drove six hours from their Wisconsin home to Westville, Illinois.
On average, a child was advertised for there once a week.