These Adoptees Were Brought to the US as Babies. Now Some Fear They Were Stolen.

For years, adoption agencies preyed upon impoverished Cambodian mothers, taking their children in shady circumstances and sending them to families abroad.

Elizabeth Jacobs remembers some of the earliest red flags she noticed when she was trying to learn more about her adoption from Cambodia as a baby in 2000.

While the 22-year-old’s birth certificate stated Jan. 1 as her birth date, records kept by the orphanage indicated Feb. 2. Her surname, too, was listed in her adoption document as “Rath,” Khmer for state or government, and known to be commonly used in falsified birth documents. Then there was the fact that Jacobs had no information about her biological family.

But the brightest red flag of them all came when Jacobs found out who facilitated her adoption: an American named Lauryn Galindo. Galindo was convicted of fraud in 2004 after handling the adoptions of about 800 Cambodian children, some of whom were deemed to have been disguised as orphans, but were in fact sold by impoverished mothers for as little as the price of a bag of rice.

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