My original blog, from which this is taken, grew and grew, so I’m splitting it up. Part 1 is Laura Silsby, and Chaissa Coulter and others in their own words. Part 2 are the voices and narratives of the children and parents exploited by the Idaho christo-suburbanites. If the blog continues to grow I’ll split it some more.

Last night KTBV Boise aired an interview with Silsby. You can see the video and read the transcript here

Below are some excerpts from the interview which show clearly that Silsby still doesn’t comprehend that she cannot just pick up kids off the street and ship them off to another country, even if God told her to do it. ” (This audacious claim will be discussed in a later entry).

We came here to help the children who had no one else, children that kind of were on the streets or in orphanages that were not in line really for other types of aide.


Silsby called it all a mix-up and said the group is not guilty of any crime. We did have documents we had approval from the Dominican government to go over to, to take these children over to the Dominican Republic. We had we believe that we were getting conflicting information on what was required and we understood that Pastor Sandil wrote us a statement and then indicated that he…,”

This is from CNN, American Morning, CNN transcript, February 1, 2010:

LAURA SILSBY, DETAINED IN HAITI: We believe that we have been charged very falsely with trafficking, which, of course, that is the furthest possible extreme, because our hearts here, we literally all gave up everything we had, income and use of our own funds to come here and help these children.

CARLA THOMPSON, DETAINED IN HAITI: God is the one that called us to come here, and we just really believe that this was his purpose.

From CNN, For Haitian Parents Giving Kids to US Group Backfires Painfully, February 2, 2010

Haiti’s government requires documentation stating approval for children to exit the country Silby acknowledged she had none.

From the New York Times, February 1, 2010, Case Stokes Haiti’s Fear for children, and Itself:

Laura Silsby: “God wanted us to come here to help children, we are convinced of that.”


“We intended to raise those children and be with them their entire lives, if necessary,” she said, standing behind a door of thick metal bars in pedal pushers, sandals and a blouse printed with palm trees “These kind of children are sold across the border for the price of a chicken We wanted to give them lives of joy and dignity in God’s love.”

A records check, I made this evening, however shows that incorporation papers for New Life Children’s Refuge were only filed with the Idaho Secretary of State on November 25, 2009, and that international adoption is the organization’s mission. In part, the papers read:

A. ….The Corporation shall hold and manage funds for the establishment of a Children’s Refuge designed to provide a loving Christian environment for abandoned and unwanted children. Plans include orphanages, schools, medical clinics, and villas for adopting parents. The Corporation plans to provide opportunities for adoption as well as a sound education for life skills…

New Life’s Haitian Orphan Rescue Mission agenda, (which I’ll write about in another blog) admits that it has no orphanage or any other facility outside of a rental hotel that God directed them to, but again, makes clear that its mission is international adoption:

Seaside Villas at Playa Magante: Villas for adopting parents to stay while fulfilling requirement for 60-90 day visit as well as Christian volunteers/vacationing families. Provide opportunities for adoption through partnership with New Life Adoption Foundation which works with adoption agencies in the U.S. to help facilitate adoptions and provide grants to subsidize the cost of adoption for loving Christian parents who would otherwise not be able to afford to adopt.”

But… there is no New Life Adoption Foundation registered with the Idaho Secretary of State. It is not listed as a licensed adoption agency in the state, and obviously is not an accredited international adoption agency with the US State Department. It is probably safe to say that now, it never will be accredited, if and when it rises from the rubble.

Adoptions to the US from the Dominican Republic are rare According to State Department figures, since 1998 there have been a little over 200. In 2009 there were 11. (link is a little wanky.) How the New Lifers thought, without accreditation, they were going to adopt out undocumented Haitian citizens from their group’s DR hotel is one of the great mysteries only they–or God–an answer.


But there’s more!

Earlier today the Associated Press posted a video of Chaissa Coulter, VP of New Life Children’s Refuge, guarded by two Haitian cops in a University of Miami field hospital, as she’s treated for either severe dehydration or the flu. Lying in bed, she looks and sounds pretty miserable. IRL, Coulter is Laura Silsby’s live-in nanny. The link is now gone. I did, however, copy down her short interview. Coulter told the AP:

I am really praying that we’ll be able to take these kids out and we will be able to provide a safe and loving home for these kids who have nothing and the charges will be dropped and they’ll be able to see our hearts.

Coulter’s father, Mel Coulter, an Idaho Department of Transportation spokesperson, has gone to the press to build up sympathy for his daughter and her colleagues. “Outrageous” he declares of the charge that she and her nine companions attempted to traffick or kidnap 33 children.”When you are called by God to do something, you cannot say no if you are truly committed to following him.” (You can see a picture of Coulter at the hospital in this article.)


Now comes Jorge Puello, an onsite attorney retained to represent the alleged traffickers complaining in the CNN American Morning link above, that the prisoners are living under unsatisfactory conditions:

There is no air conditioning, to electricity. It is very disturbing.

No! Yes! Really!

Would I make this up? He really said this while tens of thousands of Haitians have been left with nothing, living in the streets, or are dead. I bet there’s even some homeless Haitians who would would be thrilled to have a roof over their heads at the jail. I’m waiting for Puello to suggest that the suburbanite New Lifers, in deference to their specialness, be held in beach houses at Labadee with meals catered by Royal Caribbean International.

In a phone interview with Fox News’ Greta van Susteren, Puello complained that he has been able to meet with only one of the prisoners since no one in authority is handy to give permission to speak to the others. Perhaps the police have better things to do than jump when Americans and their surrogates with special needs say jump.

We get to the police station and we ask to see them and they say we need permission from the director general. When we asked them where is the office of the director general, they keep telling us they don’t even know, that the building collapsed and there’s no one there and they are just giving us the run-around.

Followed by this exchange between himself and van Susteren:

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you know what your clients intended to do with those children? Was it just to bring them to the Dominican Republic or to the United States?

PUELLO: There was no intention to bring them to the United States. They were only trying to take them to a temporary facility so they can be taken care of. A lot of these kids don’t even know that their parents have died. They need psychological help. And it doesn’t make any sense when at the border they are not asking for any papers. But Haitians cross over to the Dominican Republic and the Dominican government is not asking for passports or any ID to cross over.

VAN SUSTEREN: Where did they find these 33 children? How did they get these children?

PUELLO: There was an orphanage that collapsed in Haiti. It was called friends of the orphans of Haiti. And there was somebody over there that told them that the orphans had no place, no room to place them. And these people that came to Haiti to help these kids were trying to do a job that nobody is doing right now. There’s too many kids in the streets. There’s a lot of people starving to death in Haiti. And they were just trying to help them. There was no intention to do anything illegal.


Joining the pity party we have Sean Lankford, husband and father of two of the women being held, (Corinna and Nicole) accusing the Haitian government of not furnishing customary post-quake amenities. Lankford is a business applications developer for Hewlett Packard, Silsby’s former employer.

From AEP, Parents “Reclaim Children in Haiti Abduction-Adoption Row

He said he had not been able to speak to them since their arrest and was concerned that they had not received better treatment in detention.

“First off, you know, I think they were required to give them food and water. I mean, the basic essentials for life. And they were to help them to contact counselors on their behalf — at least to give them the ability to do that. They were late in doing that,” Lankford complained. “I appreciate everything they have done. I know that it took them a while to find them first off. I know also that there’s a lot of needs that are happening in Haiti,” the Meridian, Idaho resident said.


The New Life media blitz so far has been a fizzle. Outside of a relative few supportive comments on the numerous articles and blogs I’ve read, the New Lifers are being soundly condemned for their actions.

Laura Silsby sitting–or rather standing from the pictures of seen–in her Haitian jail cell, continues to yatter on about good intentions, misunderstandings, and God’s work. She hasn’t grasped that “permission from the DR government or Pastor Sandil (I’m just beginning to research him) doesn’t mean squat. As I wrote earlier, I’ve given my readers permission to stick up the convenience store of their choice. I trust they are not gullible enough to think that my permission exempts them from the long arm of the law. Now, I’ll up the ante. I hereby give permission to all my readers to order online purchases from Silsby’s with fraudulent credit cards. Hey, it’s OK. In these hard times my readers are desperate for Fendi clutch wallets and Balmain fuck-me booties. God told me so.

I’ve been working over the question of intent and organization. One one hand I believe they knew exactly what they were doing, since they wrote about and fund raised it all over the ‘net before they left. On the other hand, since they were not hooked into any established missions or aid groups who actually know the rules of engagement. Instead, they listened to the voices in their head, which apparently had no clue either. (I’ll be writing about that later, too.)

Silsby’s story remains full of holes…and she and her lawyer can’t shut up. Rule 1 if you’re accused of a crime: Don’t talk to the media. And don’t let your lawyer talk either. For a award winning entrepreneur (with endorsements from Joan London and Dr Phil) she sure is stupid. Or a liar. Or both.

I don’t know if I’ll put up anything tomorrow outside of adding links.

Addenda: Also read The 10 Arrested Christian Scavengers Had an Adoption Centered “Mission” For the Kids They were Caught Trying to Remove Illegally

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  1. Good Article!

    On this side of the world (Russia) We do not have the sob story Western press, crying for them. They are presented for what they are.


    Child traffickers is huge business in the world. America has as big of a problem with it as anyone.

    Even under the disguise of adoption it is still the same result. Selling children for money to the highest bidder…

    Kyle And Svet

  2. If this weren’t happening in the midst of a tragedy, it would be hilarious. I keep seeing the Blues Brothers proclaiming that they are “on a mission for God.”

    As was pointed out, rather than con these poor parents with promises of better lives in America, one wonders why they didn’t offer aid to the families so that they could stay together?
    Their idea of aid and rescue begs many a question concerning true intent. Social engineering, anyone?

  3. Update:

    “Clinton regrets actions of Americans held in Haiti”

    “Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says the attempt to take undocumented children out of Haiti by 10 detained American missionaries was “unfortunate” and says the U.S. is working with Haitian authorities to resolve the case.

    Speaking to reporters at the State Department on Wednesday, Clinton said that whatever their motivation, the Americans should not have taken matters into their own hands. She says they should have followed proper procedures in trying to bring the Haitian children to the Dominican Republic in the aftermath of a deadly earthquake.

    The 10 Baptist missionaries are currently being held in a Port-au-Prince jail pending a judge’s decision on how to proceed.”

    Looks like the Haitian government is getting some leverage.

  4. That’s certainly a safe statement.

    How about, let these loons rot. If these were pedophiles or traffickers nobody would be so nice. But we can’t offend our “christian” constituents, can we?

    The intent of these people was separation of families with the goal of adoption. Saving little black Haitian kids from various spiritual evils and turning them into obedient Protestant servants of the Protestant God.

  5. So, it seems many of the childen were not orphans, but were handed over by their parents because these abductors promised them that their kids would have a better life.

  6. Marley, these would-be kidnappers have definitely made the US government uncomfortable. Not only is it embarrassing, and gives the Haitian government something to leverage, it also symbolizes the predatory nature of the US.


  7. Jean Sainvil has come out in the open. He’s a pastor in Gospel Assembly Church, Norcross, GA. (no website). Press has been using several different spellings of his name.

    The document she had from the embassy in DR was a business card! It was reported that permission was denied to bring the children to DR.


    NYT reported an orphanage director named Phillipe Murphy was involved. I checked all variants of Phillipe and found Phil Murphy, co-director of which is located in a neighborhood adjacent to the camp where the children were recruited by the NLRC Ten. Can’t confirm if this is the same guy since the Church of God runs HHOB.

    Thank you for saying what I’ve been thinking. The attorney needs to STHU about crude conditions. It’s just bad taste.

  8. Thanks for the great research. I’m taking a couple days break Writing this stuff isn’t so bad, but I’ve had thuge ech problems with links that take hours to repairs. I sort of had it.

  9. Marley, please add this to group statements on Haiti. Thanks!


    SAN DIEGO, February 3, 2010 – Concerned United Birthparents (CUB) urges the governments of Haiti and the U.S. to stand strong against suggestions that the best way to help Haiti’s children is by removing them from their families, culture and homeland.

    A national non-profit of birthparents, adoptees and adoptive parents, CUB shares the world’s concern for Haiti’s most vulnerable in the wake of the devastating earthquake of January 12, 2010. But the 33-year-old non-profit says it has a unique understanding of how important it is to reject quick-fix solutions when it comes to a child’s life, especially in its time of greatest need.

    “Years of working with family members who were separated by adoption have taught us that good intentions are not enough,” said CUB president Mary Lou Cullen. “The hasty transfer of traumatized children, many with family status unknown, to foreign shelters, foster care or adoption agencies, should not be tolerated. Haiti’s devastation should not be compounded by anything that inadvertently, or intentionally, contributes to the risk of family separation for any purpose.”

    As the United Nation’s Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and its partners – including the Haitian Government and the Red Cross – establish safe spaces for the hundreds of thousands of children separated from their families before and after the earthquake, and begin to register all unaccompanied minors, CUB urges the governments of the U.S. and Haiti to halt any further airlifts of children or any new adoptions.

    In addition, CUB urges that any groups with clear or potential conflicts of interest – such as adoption agencies and ministries – be removed from the decision-making process about how best to serve Haiti’s children. Humanitarian policies should be applied on a case-by-case basis for those children whose legal adoption had already been approved, and were in the process of being adopted, with the support of the latest and best practices in the field. “But,” Cullen says, “all other pending adoptions should be immediately suspended.”

    Haitians living in the U.S. should get help to locate their youngest relatives on the island, and the transfer of any children with documented parents or family members in the U.S. should be expedited, for temporary or permanent placement.

    The recent arrest of an Idaho church group for transporting 33 Haitian children across Haiti’s border – without papers or approval – has drawn the world’s attention to what can happen when well-meaning but ill-informed forces swoop in to “help.”

    MORE ABOUT CUB: Through a network of regional groups and an annual conference, CUB provides mutual support for the ongoing challenges of adoption – resources, referrals and a strong network – and works to educate the public about adoption issues and realities. It also assists adoption-separated relatives searching for family members, opposes unnecessary family separations and supports adoption reform in law and social policy.

    For more information or to arrange an interview with a CUB representative, please contact Eileen Drennen at 800-822-2777, ext. 81, or send an email to [email protected].

  10. It does seem that there was chicanery afoot in the name of God, anon. A business card, huh? Yes, Madame Secretary, their actions were “unfortunate.” If by “unfortunate” you mean arrogant, criminal and stupid.

    I have seen the faces of two of the children who have lived through the horror and had to take refuge with relatives here in the US. For the sake of all that is good and kind, let’s stop traumatizing these children any further by funneling them into the adoption mills. Let them grow up with their own people, their own religion and their own culture…PLEASE.

  11. It turns out that Silsby has quite the history:

    “But even before Laura L. Silsby and seven other Idahoans ended up in a Haitian jail accused of trafficking in children, Silsby had a history of failing to pay debts, failing to pay her employees and failing even to follow Idaho laws.

    Silsby has been the subject of eight civil lawsuits and 14 unpaid wage claims. The $358,000 Meridian house at which she founded her nonprofit New Life Children’s Refuge in November was foreclosed upon in December. A check of Silsby’s driving record revealed at least nine traffic citations since 1997, including four for failing to provide insurance or register annually.”

    I mean, what else do you expect from someone who told the authorities she would ‘come back and give them the paperwork later’?

    What I really wonder now is what the pastor back at the church in Idaho is up to. Perhaps he is the ringleader and Silsby et al are his useful idiots, I mean, followers.

  12. I know I’m working on something this morning. Quite interesting. I don’t know if the pastor is up to anything, but I used to work for a guy like Silsby. (had nothing to do with churches!) I suppose you’d say they are “idea people.” The just have no idea how to honestly fulfill their idea. And they sucker other people into believing them. My former employer ended up on the lam 1200 miles south of Guadalajara. Really.


    “Carlos Castillo, the Dominican Republic’s consul general in Port-au-Prince, said in an interview that he met with the group’s leader, Laura Silsby, on Friday at the consulate in the Haitian capital and told her she lacked the documents to transport children.

    She told Mr. Castillo she had applied to Dominican authorities for a permit to cross the border, he said. But Mr. Castillo checked and found no such application. “I told her I could authenticate Haitian documents but she had no Haitian documents of any sort,” said Mr. Castillo. “She told me she would try to reach the border in order to cross. I told her not to do that without the necessary documents because she could be accused of trafficking children.”

    Mr. Castillo said that at the border Ms. Silsby showed Haitian authorities his business card and said he had authorized her to cross. Border authorities called him and he denied it.”


    ” Silsby has been the subject of eight civil lawsuits and 14 unpaid wage claims. The $358,000 Meridian house at which she founded her nonprofit New Life Children’s Refuge in November was foreclosed upon in December. A check of Silsby’s driving record revealed at least nine traffic citations since 1997, including four for failing to provide insurance or register annually. “


    ” A search on Silby’s address (2828 S Alfani Way, Meridian, Idaho, from the “whois” record) turned up this 2007 YouTube video of a $399,500, four bedroom, two-and-a-half bath house, so yah, she’s loaded.
    Or is she?
    On the website of the Ada County (Idaho) Assessor’s office, the “Tax” tab of the Land Record / GIS entry for the above address show’s half ($2,086.41) of the 2009 property tax bill still due, although not yet delinquent.

    But here’s the kicker – the Canyonside Irwin Realty company’s MLS listing for the property shows that it’s an REO / Bank Owned property, meaning it was foreclosed on!

    Is this a possible motivation for snatching kids from Haiti, given the exorbitant fees a “good Christian” orphanage could charge?

    Update [2010-2-1 12:10:48 by The Werewolf Prophet]:

    According to the website of the Idaho Secretary of State, New Life Children’s Refuge, Inc. was incorporated November 25, 2009, which lends credence to the idea that some sort of orphanage was truly in the works. “


    “Many critics of inter-country adoption cite experiences in Romania. Following reports of scandalous conditions in orphanages there after the collapse of communism, outsiders flocked to adopt children. But of the 30,000 children adopted by foreigners between 1990 and 2000, around 20,000 are now untraceable, according to Rupert Wolfe Murray, who worked as a lobbyist on the issue.”

    “Roelie Post, who as a European Commission official dealt with adoption in the run-up to Romania’s entry to the European Union, has written a book on her experience of dealing with what she sees as a powerful adoption lobby that preys on weak and poor countries. Mr Wolfe Murray says that after wars and natural disasters adoption agencies descend like “vultures” to find suitable children. The countries that provide the most children for international adoption include China, Vietnam, Kazakhstan and, until recently, Guatemala, which are also among those with the weakest legal systems, he notes.

    Most adoption agencies are non-profit outfits that see their work as entirely charitable. They may charge only expenses and a reasonable fee, according to The Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption. An international treaty with a supporting bureaucracy, it has had growing clout since America joined it in 2008. But the sums involved leave ample room for doubt. A Love Beyond Borders, an agency helping would-be parents adopt children from Haiti and elsewhere, says the process may cost more than $30,000.

    The Hague rules also govern the agencies’ accreditation. That should, for example, stop the practice (often criticised as exploitative) of putting photographs of “children awaiting adoption” on their websites. But American agencies may dodge that by saying that they are seeking accreditation, or cite some other endorsement, for example by the consulate of the country they are dealing with.

    As legal regimes on adoption tighten, activity tends to shift. When Romania banned inter-country adoption, agencies moved to lightly regulated Moldova and then Ukraine. Hans van Loon, the secretary general of The Hague regulatory body, highlights Guatemala, once the source of 5,000 annual adoptions, mainly to America. That seemed a lot for a country of 13m people. (Only about 10,000 foreign adoptions a year take place in China.) Now the number has dropped to zero after a temporary suspension. When it resumes, he expects only a few hundred children, mainly with disabilities, to be adopted.”

  17. NYTimes:

    “Ten Americans detained after trying to take 33 Haitian children across the border last week were charged Thursday with abduction and criminal association, according to prosecutors.

    The charges, which carry prison terms of up to 15 years, were announced after a closed-door court hearing in which prosecutors questioned the Americans, most of them members of a Baptist congregation from Idaho. The case has become a flashpoint for Haiti’s fears of foreign encroachment in the aftermath of the Jan. 12 earthquake.

    After the hearing, the Americans were led from the capital city’s white central courthouse and back to jail. They did not speak to the crush of reporters or photographers massed outside the building to cover the case.”

  18. Hey, I thought God was going to let them go today Maybe he doesn’t like what they did either.

    I’m trying to get 2 blgos out today, and there is no way I can do 3. Why don’t these people slow down I’ve got real life work to do, too.

  19. LOL…I like that, Little Snowdrop.


    I also applaud the CUB press release.

    I wonder how much attention was paid to the manner in which Silsby and her entourage persuaded these people to give her their children. These people are in desperate straits, with their backs against the wall. Along comes a woman who says she represents God, with false promises of contact and ultimate reunion. I am sure she used their love for their children as a weapon because all the parents I heard interviewed were totally concerned about their ability to feed and nurture the child they turned over to this b****.

    Well, Golly Gee, what else is new? Many of my sister moms and I went through and were coerced by the same damn thing during the BSE. There was no earthqueake, but there was assumed poverty and fear.

    The true heroes and rescuers in Haiti are the ones who offer aid to the entire family…not those who predate on these children.

  20. More dirt on Silsby from ‘Carol’, one of her former employees, who says ignorance has been a professional fallback of Laura Silsby’s for years.

    . . . ““there is a group of us watching the events in Haiti [regarding Laura Silsby] in horror.” and ”she [Silsby] is a snake oil salesman.”

    ““Laura Silsby is incredibly good at getting enormous sums of money from people. 10 years good at it. She has probably smooth talked these poor people and now they’re stuck in jail with her.”

  21. Thanks. This is exactly what I was thinking about Silsby and ahve been trying to write on (and a research pierce that I’m collecting proof on). The the reincarnation of my former employer. This piece is going to fill in some spots. I’ve got to do leggie stuff today so I don’t know when it will be finished. However, a small piece should be going up shortly.

  22. She sounds like a pathological confidence trickster to me.

    That said, I wouldn’t particularly wish for the whole gang of them to be left to “rot” (That’s the second time I’ve heard that malediction within a week). The hyper-religious are peculiarly susceptible to being led.

    Besides, among the front line of the relief effort, there are religious groups that include good people doing only good things. And with no expectation of personal gain.

  23. Marc Lacey (new york times) wrote that silsby, the group’s leader, is chief executive of Lacey writes silby has come under scrutiny in idaho. she’s the subject of lawsuits i.e. unpaid wages, and bills and the state has liens on her company’s bank account. sounds like she has some serious issues, to put it mildly.

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