In her latest blog, Lainie Petersen informs us that attachment bitch…excuse me… unlicensed “attachment therapist”and murderer Connell Watkins has been released from prison to a half-way house in the metro Denver area where she will serve out her remaining term.
In 2001, Watkins was convicted and sentenced to 16 years in prison for the death by therapy the year before of Candace Newmaker –born Candace Tiara Elmore, 10. The girl had been removed from her family by the State of North Carolina and adopted by connected trust fund baby Jeane Newmaker. When Candace, ungratefully remained attached to her real family and didn’t “bond” appropriately with the replacement, she was subjected to the best “alternative therapies” money can buy. When Candace refused to cooperate and continued to insist she already had a real mother (below right)– and it wasn’t Newmaker– she was taken to Watkins’ Evergreen, Colorado residential clinic for the ultimate bonding experience: “rebirthing.” After two weeks of weird therapy and abuse at a cost of $7,000, in full view of her Forever Mommie, who participated in some of the “therapy” herself, Candace was wrapped in pillows and a flannel blanket “representing” Jeane Newmaker’s’ womb, while Watkins (who weights 215 pounds according to Colorado prison records) and three assistants sat on the little girl exerting 700 pounds of pressure, to force her through the birth canal to come out the other end or thereabouts, and attach to the needy Newmaker.
Forty minutes into the session, Jeane (left) asked Candace “Baby, do you want to be born?” Candace faintly responded “no”; this would ultimately be her last word. To this, Ponder replied, “Quitter, quitter, quitter, quitter! Quit, quit, quit, quit. She’s a quitter!”.Jeane Newmaker, who said later she felt rejected by Candace’s inability to be reborn, was asked by Watkins to leave the room, in order that Candace would not “pick up on (Jeane’s) sorrow”. Soon thereafter, Watkins requested the same of McDaniel and Brita St. Clair, leaving only herself and Ponder in the room with Candace. After talking for five minutes, the two unwrapped Candace and found that she was motionless, blue on the fingertips and lips, and not breathing. Upon seeing this, Watkins declared, “Oh there she is, she’s sleeping in her vomit.” Whereupon the mother, who had been watching on a monitor in another room, rushed into the room, remarked on Candace’s color, and began while Watkins called When paramedics arrived ten minutes later, McDaniel told them that Candace had been left alone for five minutes during a rebirthing session and was not breathing. The paramedics surmised that Candace had been unconsciousness” and possibly not breathing for some time. Paramedics were able to restore the girl’s pulse and she was flown by helicopter to a hospital in Denver; she was declared brain-dead the next day, the consequence of asphyxia
LAINIE ASKS THE REASONABLE QUESTION
Here are three excerpts from Lainie’s powerful analysis and deconstruction of the event So What if the Kid Just Doesn’t Like You? which says it much better than I ever could:
See, the truth is that a lot of people just don’t like each other. This is true of humans at all stages of development, and in all sorts of family configurations. Families that have never even heard the word “adoption” can have conflicts that make the Hatfields and McCoys look like The Brady Bunch. So it doesn’t seem to be a huge stretch to imagine that, despite the best efforts of everyone involved, there are going to be adoptive placements where the parties involved don’t much like each other. I’d further argue that when the adoptive parents are insisting that a child ignore reality and become “instant family” to them, this dislike is going to be intensified.
These kids are expected to respond appropriately to the “needs” of their adoptive parents, which typically includes the expectation that the child will behave as if family intimacy and love exists, regardless of their attachment to and feelings for their first family. When the child can’t, or won’t, participate in this charade, and expresses his/her rage, frustration, and anger, the child is blamed and ends up with a psychiatric diagnosis.
Unfortunately for the kids, though, the “adults” hold all the cards, even if these adults don’t want to think and behave like adults: After all, it is the adults who get to select advocates and therapists and consultants and doctors who will meet their own needs, not the needs of the child. And as Candace learned, if you don’t respond in the way that these adults want you to, you are going to be tossed by your adoptive parents and their advocates into a downward spiral of unmet parental need:
First they will say that you are sick.
Then they will medicate you with strong drugs.
Then they will terrorize you in the form of “therapy” on a regular basis.
Then they will take you across the country and make you live with people who cut your hair, threaten to shave your scalp and tattoo it, yell at you, and call you names.
Then they will wrap you in a sheet and push on you.
And then they won’t let you have any air.
And then they will mock you when you begin to die.
And then after you are dead they will call you a twerp.
WHAT’S GOOD FOR AMERICAN ADOPTEES IS GOOD FOR RUSSIAN
At least two Russian adoptees murdered by their US Forever Families– David Polreis and Viktor Matthey–underwent “attachment therapy” which led directly or indirectly to their deaths.
The parents had been taking AT therapists, Byron Norton and Lloyd Boggs, the latter trained at the Attachment Center of Evergreen (ACE). Mourners at little David’s funeral were asked to make contributions in his name — to ACE. From that point on, the AT community rallied to her defense. (adopter Renee Polreis)
Polreis’s lawyers called Foster Cline to the stand at the sentence-reduction hearing in 2000. Cline, a former Evergreen psychiatrist who lectures and publishes out of Idaho, has been one of Colorado’s most controversial medical figures, and a founder of the AT movement. In his opinion, Cline said on the stand, David Polreis had suffered from RAD. But that wasn’t why he’d paid his own way to testify. Cline had come to Colorado to plead for leniency for Polreis.
“I’m doing it because there’s been a great wrong, and I don’t feel this woman’s life should be ruined because of this incident,” Cline told the court. “I believe in justice, but in an abnormal situation like I believe this is, the justice system can go wrong. In an abnormal situation, a mother can go wrong.”
According to ACT News, the group believes that the Matthey trial revealed a number of features and associations with Attachment Therapy and AT parenting methods:
1. ADOPTION AGENCY INVOLVEMENT. The Matthey’s adopted Viktor using the services of the Adoption Alliance of Aurora (Colorado) — an organization that “highly” recommends Attachment Therapy literature. A spokesman also told AT NEWS that the Adoption Alliance holds “occasional classes” on Attachment Disorder and Attachment Therapy.
2. DIAGNOSIS. Psychologist Anait Azarian, testifying for the parents, claimed Viktor had Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), which led him to need to be “in control.” Needing to be in control is not a feature of RAD. The parents, however, reported this behavior and others consistent with the unrecognized diagnosis called “Attachment Disorder.”
3. BLAME THE CHILD. The parents claimed Viktor self-inflicted the injuries that covered his body. Expert testimony claimed that some injuries, such as those on the boy’s back and buttocks were of the type and severity that could not be self-inflicted.
4. RESTRAINING DURING TANTRUMS. Viktor’s parents claim they held him down (sometimes in bath water) for “five minutes of being still and calm.”
5. AVERSIVES. Viktor was sprayed with cold water for bedwetting. His father admitted to duct-taping Viktor’s mouth closed. Viktor was fed foods, such as oatmeal, suggesting AT “soup kitchen” regime. “[Viktor’s brother] described a mixture of beans and barley that was used to punish Viktor: he was forced to eat the mixture before a buzzer went off — if he failed to finish, he would not be allowed to have a drink.” A pediatrician who saw Viktor in the hospital ER claimed: “He was remarkably wasted. There was muscle wasting. You could see all his bones.”
6. SCREAM ROOM. Viktor was allegedly shut in the basement pump room. AT survivors report long stays isolated in basement “scream rooms.”
7. RE-PARENTING. Mrs. Matthey fed her three adoptive children (ages 4, 4, and 7) with a baby bottle for “bonding time.” She claimed to spoon feed Viktor like a baby.
8. PARENT REACTION. The parents believed Viktor’s behavior problems were typical of foreign adoptees, according to their research. This was apparently their explanation for failing to seek medical or psychiatric attention for Viktor.
9. CHURCH SUPPORT. The parents apparently had the support of their church congregation despite Viktor’s deteriorating state. The parents claim they consulted informally with their friends about Viktor; those friends are two physicians who run an “evangelistic medical ministry.”
10. STATE SUPPORT. The State of New Jersey DYFS has created a climate favorable to Attachment Therapy/Parenting. DYFS has itself published a paper favorable to Attachment Therapy and has recommended a number of AT websites to the public.
From news reports, it appears that Jessica Albina Hagmann was also a victim of death by therapy, though it’s unclear if Jessica was subjected to “professional” therapy or was simply home-theraputized by her adopter without supervision.
Manassas Journal-Messenger, January 21, 2004: According to court records: Jessica threw tantrums that sometimes lasted up to three hours, which ‘consisted of flailing arms, legs and head.’ Jessica, who would have turned 3 last week, beat her head against her crib, and frequently ran pigeon-toed with her hands behind her back.
Court records indicate Hagmann made a practice of wrapping her arms and legs around the toddler to ‘calm her’ during such fits…
On Aug. 8, Jessica went limp and never regained consciousness. She was taken to Potomac Hospital, then transported to Inova Fairfax, where, according to an autopsy report, doctors found evidence of brain damage caused by a lack of blood and oxygen.
The official cause of death was: ‘smothering and mechanical asphyxia due to compression against an adult…
Anything she did [to control Jessica] … was copiously researched, thoroughly researched and backed by authority,’ said Hagmann’s lawyer, Demetry Pikrallidas. Police seized from Hagmann’s home two books: ‘Help for the Helpless Child,’ and ‘Life Books: Creating a Treasure for the Adopted Child.’
(NOTE: I believe the correct title of this book is Help for the Hopeless Child by Ron Federici.)
Manassas Journal-Messenger, March 11, 2004: Hagmann’s defense attorney said Jessica died during a tantrum, and Hagmann was trying to control her, using a method she read about in a book entitled ‘Holding Time.’
She was trying to stop this child from hurting herself, trying to subdue a tantrum,’ defense attorney Demetry Pikrallidas said. ‘She blames herself. It was too long, too much and it suffocated the pathways of this child.’…
Court records indicate Jessica had tantrums that sometimes lasted as long as three hours, and consisted of ‘flailing arms, legs and head.’ Jessica beat her head against her crib and often ran pigeon-toed. Court records indicate Hagmann wrapped her arms and legs around Jessica to calm her.
Medical examiner Dr. Frances Field noted bruises all over Jessica’s body in her autopsy report. Field found five ‘purplish’ bruises near Jessica’s right eye, seven on her forehead, two on her scalp, a bruise on each of her cheeks, and further bruises on her upper body, leg, back and abdomen….
In order to cause this death, she had to be placed upon the body [so Jessica] couldn’t get any air for a period of time after she went limp,’ Richardson said.
Connell Watkin’s “therapy assistant Julie Ponder (left) remains in prison. Candace’s “theraputic foster parents” and co-sitters, Brita St. Clair and Jack McDaniel, (left) who later married, received 10 years probation and 1000 hours of community service each after pleading guilty to criminally negligent child abuse. Jeane Newmaker (below)was found guilty of abuse and neglect and received a 4-year suspended sentence with probation. At the end of that period her record was expunged.
Candace Newmaker is still dead.
Attachment Therapy on Trial: The Torture and Death of Candace Newmaker, by Jean Mercer, Dienke Hondius, Larry Sarner, and Linda Rosa, Greenwood Press, 2003.
For an excellent article on Candace and her family see Candace Was Her Name Denver Rocky Mountain News, October 29, 2000
Death by Therapy, The Weekly Standard, May 28, 2001
Check out Watkins and Ponder through the Colorado Prisoner Locator
ADDENDA: FOSTER CLINE: WHO’S REALLY UNATTACHED? WHO REALLY NEEDS THERAPY?
Finally, a collection of the blood curdling wit and wisdom of AT guru Foster Cline Among them:
— Can This Child Be Saved? (1999), p. 86: The adoptive mother often becomes the target of rage that would be more appropriately directed at the birth mother.
— Quoted in High Risk (1987), p. 217: Well, pal, let’s get started. I’m up here on top of you and you’re on the bottom and you’re being held with your permission by 6 people so who is boss right now?”
— Conscienceless Acts (1995),* pp. 152-153: When Chris was four years old, he was diagnosed as schizophrenic. When I first saw Chris at age three, he had a vocabulary of less than a dozen nearly incomprehensible words. … Although he flailed and struggled, his therapist, Laurie Smith, was relentless. Holding Chris’s eyes open, she forced eye contact, and stroked his face and gave him unwanted kisses in the midst of his wails. … Being swung in a circle or being held upside down terrified Chris, and he would then reach out for his therapist.…
— Conscienceless Acts (1995),* p. 51: Generally, bonding is possible between individuals … when one of them is in a position of helplessness and the other is in a position of helpfulness or authority. … The first time in life that this occurs is with the fetus in the womb …
— Can This Child Be Saved? (1999), p. 27: Children with severe attachment disorder must be in very difficult situations before they can easily accept attention, relief, and rescue from the adult caretaking individual. The most valuable times are when the child is scared, anxious, or sick. These are golden opportunities …
[quoting Bob Lay, “therapeutic parent” in] Conscienceless Acts (1995),* p. 201: During the holding, the child will complain that the holder is hurting him. … ”Pains you may feel are old memories. Being close brings up past pain. Let it out. Free yourself from it.”