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--Laura Reed tells Westword that she is not "distressed" by the story. Reed does say she may have inadvertently given Johnston the impression that she had sent her Pap smear and W-2 forms to the adoption agency. Actually, says Reed, while she was told to send those items, she never followed through on that request because it became clear to her that she had little chance of being accepted.

--Regarding the story's description of Colorado adoption law: The law states that a birth mother cannot relinquish her child until after birth but, as CAFCA and Adoption Option correctly note, doesn't require the woman to wait two weeks (although, as CAFCA acknowledges, it usually takes at least that long for her to do so). CAFCA is also correct when it states that the law does not require three face-to-face meetings with birth parents (lawmakers voted down that proposed addition to the statute in the last legislative session). And CAFCA is correct in noting that the law does not formally establish a six-month window during which a birth mother can "change her mind." However, in Colorado, adoptions are not finalized until six months after the birth mother gives up her child. And the statute specifically establishes a three-month time frame following relinquishment during which birth parents can file suit claiming they gave up their baby under fraudulent circumstances, which would include making a decision under duress. Once an adoption is finalized, the law establishes a ninety-day period during which birth parents can legally challenge an adoption based on procedural errors and a full year during which they can challenge an adoption on the grounds of fraud.

--According to its own handouts, Small Miracles does charge a flat fee of just under $15,000 for adoptions involving healthy white children. However, according to that handout, the agency has a different fee system for minority children, charging lower base amounts and then tacking on a charge equivalent to 5 percent of the adoptive parent's total household income. How much those adoptions cost would depend entirely on the gross income of the couple seeking to adopt.

--Information regarding Small Miracles' 15 percent disruption rate was provided to Westword during an in-person interview with Brenda Retrum, that agency's director of adoption services.

Out of the Lupe
In her May 2 article, "Hasta la Vista, Lupe," Karen Bowers reported on the overdue resignation of Guadalupe "Lupe" Salinas, the Social Security Administration's embattled commissioner for the six-state Denver region.

A thorough housecleaning should now be done of the senior staff he's leaving behind--including lieutenants who have also been a source of embarrassment.

It's a well-kept secret that SSA's chain of command keeps breaking down. Recently, Utah senator Orrin Hatch required Lupe to meet personally with angry employees in Ogden who are vehemently protesting a director of field operations.

This senior official was implicated in a telephone eavesdropping scandal at another field office last fall. He is also the subject of an investigation requested by Congresswoman Patricia Schroeder into the potential misuse of cellular phones by SSA executives. Such acrimony between manage- ment and labor, unprecedented under other commissioners, has become a constant drumbeat.

Lupe claims that allegations of misconduct, preferential hiring, hostile work environment and other charges originate with employees unwilling to change. Well, finally, they have changed! They've successfully brought attention to complaints of discrimination, union-busting tactics and intimidation by overzealous managers. The commissioner's bad decisions have ultimately come back to haunt him.

In his brief farewell speech to the Denver Regional Office, Lupe said that a fact-finding mission investigating the flurry of grievances and lawsuits against him found no blame. But according to Phil Gambino, SSA's national spokesman, this report has not even been issued, nor have its findings been discussed with anyone, including Lupe!

The truth is, we've finally had enough of the commissioner's brand of Teflon-coated politics.

Current and former employees
Denver Social Security Administration

A World of Hurt
I read with great interest Stuart Steers's article "Still Hurting," in the March 28 issue of Westword, concerning workers' compensation. It was sent to me by my son, Stephen Cramer of Denver, who also has been caught up in this terrible injustice.

His injuries were massive when he fell from a high-rise and included a broken neck and a right-side brain injury--short-term memory loss. This misfortune happened in December of 1991; he still cannot function normally. He must also write everything down, and because his wish is to bring about reform in workers' compensation in Colorado, his writing has resulted in a book about this very inhumane law.

He just recently settled in the amount of 80 percent of $3,000. And because he is trying to work, even SSA has been terminated. Fortunately, the management at the restaurant where he now washes dishes is understanding when he just can't perform even that duty. He was among a group that filed a class-action lawsuit back in 1992; all dropped out except him, and the case is stagnating in court.

Flora Cramer
Manchester, GA

Letters policy: Westword wants to hear from you, whether you have a complaint or compliment about what we write from week to week. Letters should be no more than 200 words; we reserve the right to edit for libel, length and clarity. Although we'll occasionally withhold an author's name on request, all letters must include your name, address and telephone number.

Write to:
Letters Editor
Westword
PO Box 5970
Denver, CO 80217
or e-mail to:
editorial@westword.com

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