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Enna, oh Enna! aka When animals outweigh a dead Guatemalan ‘adoptee’.

Well, I WAS all set to put up a nice cheery little blog entry this morning, so much for that. Instead, we’ll turn to more pressing matters. Expect the happy happy sunshine little blog post at a later, much more appropriate date.

No this morning, we turn our attention to further horror in the Guatemalan ‘adoption’ community: the death of Enna Barreto a 2 year old ‘adoptee’. Originally from Guatemala, her death ruled a homicide, her ‘adopters’ now face possible murder charges.

Why do I write ‘adoption’, ‘adoptee’, and ‘adopters’?

Because her paperwork, along with many of her ‘adopted’ “siblings'” appears to be wholly absent. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are trying to figure out the details of how and when the children were brought to the U.S. (legally or otherwise) for the Barreto ‘adoptions’.


At the moment, there’s no explanation of how the kids came to be in the country, let alone came to live with the ‘adoptive’ couple, Janet and Ramone Barreto. Investigators are trying to determine whether the kids were stolen or not.

But this is all merely the tip of the iceberg. The cruelty goes much deeper.

Yes, I consistently turn to Bastardette’s infinite wisdom, pointing my readers there often, but once again, she has written her post on Enna’s death and found the words I can’t even begin to.

Go across to her blog and read “Mississippi: of Puppy Mills and Baby Mills — If you can stomach it!

Enna’s ‘adoptive’ ‘family’ consisted of 9 kids: 2 biological, 7, including Enna adopted/’adopted’ (the paperwork is missing on 5 of the kids.) The children are now in custody and investigators are looking into possible physical and sexual abuse.

While local news, here for example, is reporting the deeply disturbing conditions the surviving children are in:

(Union County Sheriff…)

Wilhite said one of the children, a three-year-old, only weighed 20 pounds. That child and two others didn’t make any sounds at all to communicate.

many of the stories tend to focus instead on the condition of the animals, not the children. As they cannot use video/photographs of the children, the gist of many of the reports have been on the abuse of the animals.

It’s very easy to shoot video of a dog with feces encrusted into its matted fur. Child abuse, even a 3 year old weighing a mere 20 lbs, on the other hand, particularly when there are no kids they can put in front of cameras, fades into the background.

While it may be more comfortable to focus on the animals, a cruelty people can on some level wrap their brains around, the condition of the children while fading to many, is every bit as brutal, as vicious, and as cruel, if not more so.

Stories such as this, where the first mention of Enna appears half way through the article, and only in passing, are much easier to think about. People are cruel to animals, we get that, but that ‘nice couple’ who were ‘loving enough to open their home to all that poor Guatemalan kids’? No. The couple down the road doing something like failing to get a twenty pound child medical care? That’s beyond our comprehension, far better to shut it out, brush it aside, and focus instead on the aspects we can concentrate on without causing our brains too much pain.

The television news can show pictures of trucks coming to take the dogs away, they can interview humane society workers who speak on behalf of the animals, but the death of Enna has no pictures. Pieces such as this, particularly the video entitled “Child, animal abuse in New Albany (05-21-08) are dog centric. When a dog buyer’s puppy dies not long after it’s ‘adoption’, the owner wishes she had ‘looked into it’ and advises potential puppy buyers to always go to the breeder’s home before forking over the cash.

Whitney Hurdle unknowingly adopted a seven week old puppy, Tootsie, from the Barretos. Hurdle said she found the couple through a classified ad.

“Only one close,” she said. “I could get it the next day. Didn’t look into it. Now I wish I had.”

Rather than get the puppy at the breeder’s house, the breeder had Hurdle meet her in a parking lot. That’s where Hurdle handed over $500 in cash- the only method of payment Barreto accepted.

“Had a child with her, a little girl,” Hurdle said. “Nine or ten. Little girl carrying the puppy. She seemed alright. Gave me the papers.”

When Hurdle took Tootsie to the vet for her boosters, the vet was concerned about the teacup yorkie’s size.

“He said he’d never seen one that small,” she said.

A day after the booster shots, Tootsie died. Hurdle said she hoped her experience would encourage others always go (to) the breeder’s home before buying a dog.

It’s advice that should be applied equally to child adopters.

Despite the 5 ‘adopted’ children’s missing paperwork, that still leaves 2 who were assumedly adopted with normal paperwork. So we’re back to my usual questions. Who the hell did the homestudy? What agency placed the kids with these monsters?

Does anyone care?

The one time puppy owner bemoans the small size of the dog.

Does anyone bemoan the fact that Enna is dead and that twenty pounds is no way to be a three-year-old?

Does anyone care?


So allow me to add a few more links to follow with a few more details in addition to the ones off Bastardette, also keep an eye on her comment thread.

North Miss. sheriff says toddler’s death ruled a homicide 5/20

“We still don’t know what actually happened to this child,” Sheriff Tommy Wilhite said in a phone interview Tuesday night. “It’s one of the worst cases I’ve seen in my life.”

Sheriff’s deputies on Sunday raided the home of Janet and Ramone Barreto near New Albany after receiving a tip from doctors that the couple might have abused their daughter.


Wilhite said the Barreto’s 2-year-old daughter was taken from a local hospital to Le Bonheur Children’s Medical Center in Memphis, Tenn., for an unspecified reason. Doctors there suspected child neglect and tipped off Wilhite on Sunday night, when he got a warrant and raided the property.

The girl died Monday morning. Wilhite said Shelby County, Tenn., officials conducted an autopsy and told him Tuesday that the death had been ruled a homicide.

The sheriff said eight other children have been taken from the Barretos and put into foster care. He said the oldest is 17 and several of the others are younger than 5.

Funeral for 2-year-old today in Pontotoc 5/22

More neglect

Doctors had notified law enforcement officials of possible child abuse after Enna was taken to Memphis.

Pair’s bond $350,000 each on endangerment charges 5/23

Enna ‘is with Jesus’, preacher reminds 2-year-old’s mourners 5/23

Seriously folks, I was going to be cheery and have some fun with this morning’s entry, but when animal ‘adoptions’ take up more mental space than dead ‘adoptees’ a Bastard’s just gotta write.

6 Responses to “Enna, oh Enna! aka When animals outweigh a dead Guatemalan ‘adoptee’.”

  1. Gershom Says:

    It never ceases to amaze me when another adoptee ( or in this case 5 ) gets forgotten and left behind. Nobody is held accountable and when they are its merely a slap on the wrist w/ a chance to try again.

  2. Bastardette Says:

    Thanks BCL, for this excellent entry. You said many of the things I was thinking, but didn’t have the time to write due to my trip and a lot of things to do yet. We need to keep pushing on this story. It will be interesting to see if JCICS has anything to say–and what. I can just hear Tom diF now.

    We need serious intervention right now–just not a shutting down of IA, but lots of work stateside. I have never seen so many bad stories in so short a time as the last few months. We’re going to see a ramp-up of domestic propaganda–baybee harvesting and fostercare.

    And thanks for all you do!

  3. E.Case Says:

    Somebody in the I.A. community sent the intial articles on to me. For obvious reasons.

    Guatemalan adoptions are usually “private” adoptions. There are “Guatemalan attorneys” involved in Guatemala. It’s a bit different from an orphanage adoption from Russia or China. Usually Chinese & Russian kids are “abandoned” and/or parental rights have been “terminated”. The children are usually then “wards of the state” [anybody out there who knows better – please correct me – this is my understanding of it]

    The Barretos must have had some puppy mill scheme going down – in order to finance those Guatemalan adoptions, they must have been moving major volume of cainines.

    I agree with “Bastardette” – too many of these stories have been cropping up within the last six months.

  4. Baby Love Child Says:

    Cross commenting from over on the Adult Adoptees forum;

    One of the most damning aspects of this is that at least 2 of the adoptions at least APPEAR to have gone through some form of normal channels, meaning there’s an agency, a lawyer, a someone out there who ok-ed them.

    Now they may have looked very different when those two took place, for example, they currently make their livings off renting trailers they own and the animal sales. But those two adoptions (I’m guessing they were earlier, who knows?) may have looked very different on paper. For all we know, they may not have been in the animal business at all at the time, they may have had some version of more standardized jobs.

    As is, it’s impossible to know unless more details come out- which means someone- i.e. WE need to be demanding the real questions be asked. Because no one else is going to. Adopters want stories like this to go away. The industry sure as hell doesn’t want Enna as their new poster child, and government and the courts are overrun with adopters, adoption lawyers, and others who have a vested stake in (protecting) the system as it currently exists.

    Other than those involved in child welfare work, who’s left to hold those responsibles’ feet to the fire for Enna’s sake? Who keeps memory alive? Who demands changes in the business as usual atmosphere? Just us Bastards- provided even we get off out collective asses. Otherwise down the memory hole kids like Enna go.

    If the timing works out over the next few days, I plan to be blogging more on this. Right now we’re still in the ‘too many questions’ phase and as I said, people are focusing on the animals angle because it’s somehow easier to comprehend. The real questions may or may not even be asked. Then you’ve got the tangle of agencies and the alphabet soup of departments investigating the mess on the back end, which leads to its own potential confusion. One branch of law enforcement may think it’s up to another’s to ask certain questions, and the other may assume the first is doing it, meanwhile the questions slide down the crack where no one does it. To even comprehend that those involved in the two ‘normal’ adoptions may be people who should at least be spoken to may not even occur to those investigating. There are just so many questions.

    Take for example the matter of lack of ensuring the kids were alright AFTER the (at least two ‘regular’) adoptions. Were the kids just placed, but then not checked in on again? What, if any, kind of follow up was done after the placements?

    Over and over again, once the kids are in the adopters’ possession, too many people feel the job is done, the kid is ‘home’ and no one need ever revisit that to see if the kid’s even still processing oxygen a year or two later. And that’s just the ‘real’ adoptions.

    As for the paperfree, they’re just off the books. Anything’s possible.

    And that is the climate Guatemala has become, a place where womyn have been nonconsentually drugged, where children have been kidnapped, and where the exchange of money for children is just business as usual, all because demand (i.e. desperate wanna be adopters) is so incredibly high. Anyone able to provide a kid in a way that can get them out of country, whether that be buying a (n original) family’s ‘consent’ or just trafficking them across borders completely off the books, knows there’s big money to be made.

    Once you have a climate like that, we should not be the least bit surprised that those who shall we say, have absolutely no frickin’ buisness being adopters, no way, no how, are able to get a hold of kids.

    For the right price children can be gotten.

    More disturbing still? The sheer number of paps DEMANDING the Guatemalan adoption machine be ramped back up to full capacity. Despite the fact that the odds are there’s a very real possibility that any kid they would get via that process may well have gone through well, you can only begin to imagine what. But they STILL insist the market be crowbarred back open. Because stolen kid or not, they still want one.

    Besides, they bleat ‘MY agency is clean’, ‘MY adoption is clean’, MY kid wasn’t one of THOSE kids!’

    Keep telling yourself that honey, ’cause the rest of us aren’t going to be repeating, or standing silently by through such steaming piles of fantasy any longer.

  5. Baby Love Child Says:

    I’ve been putting some recent updates on Bastardette’s comment thread as she’s traveling.

    Here’s tonight’s comment;

    By way of latest news updates, I haven’t gotten through my news searches today, but be sure to read this story-

    Adoption process likely OK’d Union Pair

    Also I’ve pulled an older Fox/Faux *cough!* news *cough!* piece from May 21rst, Mid-South couple facing charges of child neglect, homicide, animal cruelty.

    It has some snippets of video from inside the house, describing the conditions therein. To date, most of what I’ve seen has focused outside on the animal cages. So this was a little different.

    I can also give you two more blog posts from adoptionland about Enna’s death;

    Ungrateful Little Bastard’s Adoption process definitely FAILED Guatemalan kids – but who cares, right? in which she blogs about the DJ piece, but ads commentary and some great graphics.


    Adopted Jane’s When adoption turns to murder

    There are also a variety of other pages and blogs that have picked the story up (such as here for example.)

    I suggest using tools such as Google’s blogsearch and Google news to stay on top of the latest and set email alerts for updates.

    I’ll only be pulling a few particularly pertinent pieces from time to time to post here.

  6. Baby Love Child Says:

    Just a little more to add today-

    A Sun Herald piece,
    Bond set for New Albany couple.

    A brief ‘week in review’ piece from the DJ, Enna’s death: Accident or otherwise?

    And finally another puppy-centric local TV news piece- Veterinarian: New Albany puppy mill ‘worst condition’ she’s seen.

    Update, a new AP piece came out this afternoon-

    Bond Set for Parents Accused of Child Abuse

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