While Angelina Jolie is currently embroiled in a long-running custody battle with ex-husband Brad Pitt over five of their six children, a new documentary is examining whether or not Jolie's adoption of her oldest son, Maddox, now 19, was all above board. Jolie was one of the hundreds of Americans who used Lauryn Galindo to adopt children from Cambodia who were unaware of Galindo's "potentially unethical practices." The Sun reports that filmmaker Elizabeth Jacobs is working on a new documentary called The Stolen Children that examines the truth about Galindo's adoptions.
According to reports, Galindo employed "baby recruiters" to take babies from poor families in rural areas. When Maddox was adopted in 2002, there were questions raised by Cambodian child welfare workers about whether or not he was actually an orphan or if he had been bought by his birth mother by Galindo for $100. Kek Galibru, head of the human rights agency Licadho at the time, investigated the adoption scandal and said "I'm sure that this child was not a real orphan and was not abandoned." However, Jolie assured people that she had done her due diligence and that Maddox was indeed an orphan. "I would never rob a mother of her child," she said in 2002. "I can only imagine how dreadful that would feel."
At least half of all adoptions from Cambodia to the US - around 800 of 1600 - between 1997 and 2001 were done through Galindo and her sister Lynn Devin's agency. Seattle International Adoptions. Galindo and Devin were both charged in 2003 and Devin was given a $150,000 financial penalty for falsifying documents in order to to obtain US visas for Cambodian "orphans." Galindo spent 18 months in prison for the same change as well as money laundering.
Galindo spoke to The Sun when they reached out about the upcoming documentary, and she still insisted that there was no wrongdoing during Maddox's adoption. "I have no reason to believe that there's anything about Maddox. They were very careful, especially given his celebrity parent," she claimed. "I think that was double-checked, and I know that Angelina was not in the country during those investigations, because she was making the movie Beyond Borders in Namibia. So there was no interference by [the] adoptive parent, and nor was I involved in the investigations in any way."
Jacobs, who is a film student at the University of Massachusetts, was adopted by her parents through Galindo's agency a couple of years before Maddox was adopted by Jolie, told The Sun that "the main reason to do the documentary is that, beyond a reasonable doubt, Galindo was involved, but why was I put up for adoption?" However, she thinks that Jolie should still investigate. "I think that Angelina Jolie, from a mother's perspective, has a duty and owes it to Maddox to have a conversation between him and her, regardless if they want to make it public. The parents' decision to withhold that information could be damaging, could be really traumatizing," she said. "Coming from a mother's point of view, I would be very interested and want to find out [the truth] at least for the sake of my child. As an A-list celebrity, I can see how her reputation would be on the line if she did find out a little bit further."