Masha Allen’s Celebrated Adoption – what went wrong?
Last month, Cambria County, Pennsylvania terminated the parental rights of one of the most celebrated adoptive parents of the last decade, Faith Allen. Russian orphan Masha Allen, who was a victim of sex trafficking when she was five years old, first came to public attention through a story in the Pittsburg Post-Gazette and later appeared on ABC Primetime, Nancy Grace and Oprah. Masha’s story was also featured in the LATimes, Washington Times, and WESH news in Orlando. In 2006, Senator John Kerry passed a major piece of federal legislation in her name, Masha’s Law. Last month Masha was orphaned again when Faith’s parental rights were terminated. Masha Allen’s second adoption and third family in 17 years – what went wrong?
“After all the terrible things Masha has endured, she finally has the mother she’s always dreamed of having. Though her wounds are far from healed, life might be looking up for this young survivor.”
“I want to go to a special lady with us tonight. It`s Masha`s new mom, her adoptive mother, who is herself a crime victim. Faith is with us. You had to go through H-E-double-L to adopt this child. And I know that you`re doing this for Masha. She`s one of my new heroes tonight.”
Senator Johnny Isakson
“After a lifetime of unimaginable hardships, Masha now has a safe home filled with compassion and love thanks to her Angel in Adoption, Faith Allen.”
Congressman Phil Gingrey
“Faith Allen is a shining example of the selfless love adoptive parents give their children. Faith is more than just Masha’s adoptive mother; she is her pillar of support, providing encouragement as Masha bravely shares her story. Everyone who spends time with Faith and Masha feels the warmth and kindness that make Faith an Angel in Adoption.”
United States Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan
“Masha has been adopted by a very loving family who has changed her name and moved her to another part of the country, where she can make a new start and have a very, very wonderful life ahead of her.”
Maggie Farley – Los Angeles Times
“Masha was placed in the care of Faith, a gutsy 28-year-old who legally adopted her a year ago.”
Barbara White Stack – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Faith would go on to follow in Judge Allen’s footsteps, caring for foster children.
One of them was an 11-year-old whom she affectionately calls Mea, a child like Faith who suffered horrible abuse and night terrors. Just as Judge Allen awoke Faith from the overwhelming nightmares, held her and read to her religious passages, Faith in turn comforted Mea.
They believe divine intervention brought them together to give Judge Allen, the mother of three boys, the daughter she never had and to give Faith and Mea the help they needed. But when the judge saw Faith with her first foster children, she knew it would be all right. ‘She has a deep capacity to love,” the judge says, “If anything, my biggest concern now is that she wants to help everybody.’
Just as when Allen agreed to take Faith in, Faith had no idea at that point how terribly Mea had been hurt. Faith believes God placed Mea with her because she could understand her pain and her needs.
It is so awesome for her to be matched with a little girl of similar background who she is able to parent and minister to. I think it was by divine orchestration that it happened that way,” Allen says. “And Mea reminds me so much of Faith. She has the sweetest, gentlest spirit.”
Faith will never be able to bear her own children because of the abuse she suffered. But she will be a mother.
This afternoon, Faith Elizabeth Allen will adopt Mea. And officiating at the ceremony will be Judge Cheryl Allen.
Judge Cheryl Allen
“And I began to think about the fact that many people would say that this adoption is something that is just occurring by happenstance, but I don’t believe that to be the case, and this is not a typical every day, ordinary adoption, so it’s not — so, I’m not going to say typical every day, ordinary things, but I’ve known Faith for approximately three years, and I know that Faith has been through a lot, and the type of childhood that she had, most of us would have never survived, but Faith is a fighter, and she is a survivor, and I can say that for all the trials and all the tribulations and all the abuse and all the difficulties you have been through, Faith, you know, what the enemy meant for bad, you managed to, through your faith, use it for good, and that is why you are here, or we are here today, because everything that you have been through, as difficult as it was, it has served to prepare you for just such a time as this.”
“Many people who have experienced what you’ve experienced, and who have the type of history that you have, have become bitter. Many of them, unfortunately, having been victims of abuse, have gone on to become perpetrators of abuse . . . you have been able to turn your trials and tribulations into a testimony, and it is because of your openness and your willingness to share your story that you will serve as a blessing to many people.”
“I know you have been a blessing in my life. You have been a blessing in Masha’s life, and will continue to do so, and I believe that there will be many people blessed by your testimony and your experience, and I also believe that only a wise and all-knowing God could have taken a young girl from Georgia and connected her with a young girl from halfway around the world and brought the two of you together, and I know that — I don’t know everything that God has in store for you, but it must be something pretty awesome, because so many things have tried to come against this day coming to pass, as we know, but we are all here for you.”
United States District Judge Terrence McVerry
“I’m so happy, Masha, for you and I hope and pray for you to have a happy life with Faith, and I’m sure that that will come to pass. Anything we can do to help you, I will be more than happy to. Congratulations.”
Masha’s First Lawyer: Linell Lee – Kids Voice
“I would like to say that Masha is an incredible little girl, and she’s been very strong, and she’s a survivor too, and I only see a bright future for her with Faith. Kid’s Voice is happy to see this day!”
Pastor Winnie Pollard
“Faith is a blessing. Her strength inspires anyone who knows. There is, without any question, that the two of them are going to be a story worth watching to see how their lives are going to effect so many others. They are a sign of hope in the City for everyone that has struggled liken unto Faith and every child that is in need of help liken unto Masha.”
Masha’s Third Lawyer: Attorney Diane Sternlieb
“I applaud Faith’s courage. I have spent many, many months with Faith and Masha and have witnessed a bond of love between these two. Masha is lucky to have Faith in her life!”
Masha’s Current Lawyer: David S. Bills writing about the withdrawl of Masha’s Fifth Lawyer, Robert N. Hunn
There is no conflict of interest and Hunn’s request to withdraw is not based on any conflict of interest. What he said was irreconcilable differences with Bills and Faith, both of whom you should correctly assume have Masha’s interest at the forefont. There is no basis for you assume anything to the contrary.
Faith received a major award as an Angel in Adoption™ for her outstanding contributions toward the welfare of children in the United States foster care system and orphans around the globe. U.S. Senator Isakson proclaimed: “Faith Allen, who adopted her daughter, Masha, last year, is a truly amazing woman who embodies the spirit of the Angels in Adoptions program. Masha now has a safe home filled with compassion and love thanks to Faith Allen.” Representative Gingrey added: “Faith is her pillar of support, providing encouragement as Masha bravely shares her story. Everyone who spends time with Faith and Masha feels the warmth and kindness that make Faith an Angel in Adoption.
Torsten Ove – Pittsburg Post-Gazette
In December, Faith decided to move from Pittsburgh to get a fresh start.
These days, Mea has as normal a life as anyone could expect, considering how it began. She relies on her faith, often quoting a passage from Psalm 61: “Lead me to the towering rock of safety, for you are my safe refuge, a fortress, where my enemies can’t reach me.”
Her family is her other rock.
All it took was love from someone who cared, Faith Allen.