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American Adoptive Couple Charged in Qatar

huang_family_middle_eastMatthew and Grace Huang were arrested in Doha, Qatar, when their 8-year-old daughter, adopted from Ghana at age 4, died.  The couple has been sitting in jail since January, and it’s a scenario that is any adoptive family’s nightmare:  the girl had an eating disorder resulting from her background.  In essence, it’s alleged that she starved herself to death, with intestinal parasites possibly contributing to the death.

Matthew Huang started working in Qatar in 2012 and the whole family relocated there, along with one grandmother.  What made the situation particularly noticeable to the Qataris was the fact that Matthew and Grace were Americans of Asian descent, while their three adopted children were from Africa.

Gloria had been treated for an intestinal parasite, and the couple was also addressing her eating issues,Qatar where she would refuse food for days on end, and then binge, finding her food in garbage cans, or try to leave the house and roam the streets, looking for food.  Obviously, something was not right.  The malnutrition of her past had affected her relationship with food in the present, not much of a shock to any adoptive parent.

Yet, given the fact that the Asian-American couple with three African children were living in the Middle East when their daughter died, law officials there understand few such issues.  A group called the California Innocence Project, which works to free wrongfully-convicted inmates, is attempting to help the family.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Huangs.

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4 Comments : Leave a Reply

  1. avatar Sam says:

    This story is disturbing — why did the Huangs fail to seek medical care for their daughter after she hasn’t eaten in four days? Why did she have giardia which is easily cured with a round or two of anti-biotics? Why was she malnourished FOUR years after adoption?? Parasite-ridden FOUR years after adoption?? There are excellent hospitals in Qatar!

    From the information on the Innocense Project’s website, it is VERY clear that the Huangs neglected her — not doing anything for a kid that hasn’t eaten in FOUR days is straight up neglect — and criminally negligent homicide if someone does as a result!

    • avatar admin says:

      It is disturbing, Sam, but as in most of these scenarios, the truth of the matter is not always evident. Kids can starve, and binge, and purge. You might even see them eating, but it’s not staying in them. Giardia is sometimes easily eradicated, sometimes not. Naturally, kids can be taken to hospitals, restrained, and force-fed. The fact that the daughter wanted to eat and would binge, but generally in a strange manner or place, might have given the parents false hope that she would come around and eat normally. I certainly don’t know the facts of the situation, but it’s definitely troubling for all involved.

    • avatar Nikki says:

      Sam maybe you don’t realize this but giardia very well could’ve been acquired AFTER she was adopted, very easily in Qatar or in America. Also binging and purging causes malnutrition since there is very little nutrition remaining in the digestive system. It is very difficult to gauge is she hasn’t eaten when she is eating and then vomiting it up in private. Either you know far more about the story then what little is published or you don’t know very much about it whatsoever and lack empathy and understanding.

      The entire situation is quite sad and that poor child clearly had emotional and psychological issues. It is quite a tragedy, no child should die so young or suffer so much.

      • avatar admin says:

        It’s more complex than it appears, isn’t it, Nikki? Those of us with older-child adoptees know that we can’t solve every problem or issue overnight. We may need professionals, or therapists, or extreme amounts of understanding for what would appear to be beyond our usual level of understanding. (Eat. Period. Eat! You need to eat!)

        There are many layers of issues, and breaking out of the old patterns, even when they’re bad for you, can be challenging. There is often the issue of self-loathing and hatred. When it results in death, we’re going to ask what could have been done differently. What most of us don’t want to hear, is sometimes, very little could have been done differently.

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