Adopted children traded online
Tennessee authorities removed Nora Gateley from an adoptive home after allegations of abuse surfaced. She is now 26 and living on her own. NBC News, in partnership with Reuters, has uncovered a black market for internationally adopted children.
Quita Puchalla was adopted from Liberia when she was a teenager. She was given to a new couple by her adoptive parents without the involvement of any lawyers or government authorities. Quita, now 21 and living on her own, is enrolled at the Milwaukee Area Technical College and plans to study social work.
Melissa Puchalla and her husband Todd sent Quita to live with Nicole and Calvin Eason in Illinois. The handoff took place at a mobile home park where the Easons lived, where the Puchallas signed a power of attorney agreement granting guardianship to the Easons.
Caption: Dmitri Stewart, 20, also lived with the Easons for some time. He was adopted from Russia when he was three years old by an American couple living in Scotland and re-homed at the age of 14.
Anna Barnes, now 18, was adopted from Russia at the age of 7 years old. She lived with three different families in the span of six years.
Gary and Lisa Barnes adopted Anna when she was 11 years old. They re-homed her to a couple in Illinois, where she only stayed for several days before Gary brought her back to Texas.
Nicole Eason had her two biological children removed, according to child welfare authorities, though Nicole denies this. Anna Barnes lived with the couple for several days in 2008.
Nicole Eason and her husband Calvin, pictured here, have moved at least six times, most recently being evicted from their Tucson, Arizona trailer home in August.
Gary and Lisa Barnes breed miniature horses in Tolar, Texas. Anna is still in touch with them.
Anna lives on her own and hopes to go to college one day. She was admitted to Texas Tech University but doesn’t know if she can afford it.
Megan Exon, see here on Aug. 12, 2013, says she came to regret her role moderating an online forum for parents who were struggling to raise children they adopted from overseas.
Authorities removed 18 children from the Tennessee home of Tom and Debra Schmitz in 2004, including Nora Gateley.
Debra Schmitz pleaded no contest to 14 counts of child abuse and one count of child trafficking. She served 6 months. Tom Schmitz’s case was expunged.
The Schmitz family having dinner in their Trenton, Tennessee home before the children were removed by authorities.
Nora Gateley, now 26, was adopted from China at the age of 13. She lived with the Schmitz family for three years before a nurse gave her a tape recorder to document the alleged abuse she had sustained.
Nora, who walks with a brace after having polio as a child, lives on her own in Tennessee and plays in a wheelchair basketball league.