Republicans grasping at children give me the creeps

Hey, remember Matt Shea? He’s the Republican politician who proposed splitting Washington state in two, and further, wanted to name the new state “Liberty”. He’s a caricature of a far right conservative.

Also, he dropped out when the more rational people of Washington noticed that he was nothing but a provocateur who kept getting tangled up with armed insurrectionists, so he’s no longer in office, fortunately.

Shea was a longtime far-right legislator in the Washington House of Representatives until 2020, when he opted not to run for reelection after a report concluded that he’d engaged in domestic terrorism — the result of his involvement in the standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife refuge.

Shea, who the report found had been involved in several armed stand-offs, is also known for his support of a separatist 51st state movement, and for authoring a document, “Biblical Basis for War,” that included steps for killing non-believers (Shea is Christian).

You might be wondering what he’s up to now. He’s in Poland, where he seems to have kidnapped 62 Ukrainian children.

Former Washington state Rep. Matt Shea, the far-right Republican who was found by a House-commissioned investigation to have planned and participated in domestic terrorism, is in a small town in Poland with more than 60 Ukrainian children, trying to facilitate their adoption in America.

Shea has said his group helped rescue 62 children and their two adult caregivers from an orphanage in Mariupol, the city in southeastern Ukraine that has been bombarded by Russian forces.

No one is actually calling it kidnapping yet — they’re accepting, more or less, Shea’s claim that he “rescued” them. Somehow I doubt that.

But international agencies say, with the chaos and confusion of war, now is not an appropriate time for international adoptions from Ukraine. And Shea’s presence, and the lack of information surrounding the American group he’s with, has raised concerns among some residents of Kazimierz Dolny, the small Polish town where the children are staying at a hotel-guesthouse.

“I asked him many times, ‘What are you going to do with these children?’ and he told me that it’s not my business,’” Weronika Ziarnicka, an aide to the mayor of Kazimierz Dolny, said of Shea. “I got the feeling in my gut that something’s wrong with this guy; he didn’t want to tell me his last name.”

Shea claims he’s doing this on behalf of a Texas adoption agency. It’s a bit dodgy.

Loving Families and Homes for Orphans appears to have a website, but it is nonfunctional.

The group, based in Fort Worth, registered with the Texas secretary of state in 2018. No such group is registered as an adoption agency with the Texas Department of Health and Human Services. The group is also not registered with the Intercountry Adoption Accreditation and Maintenance Entity, the group that oversees American agencies involved in international adoption.

I imagine there are many Ukrainian families who have sent their children out of the country to avoid the terrors of war. Imagine doing that for your kids and then discovering that they’d been scooped up by some fanatical ideologue and shipped off to Texas to be stolen by Western conservative Christians — we don’t even know that these are orphans at this point.

Artur Pomianowski, the mayor of Kazimierz Dolny, said in a post on Facebook that he’d visited the children and they are safe and being well cared-for. He also said the “case is being investigated and clarified by the relevant authorities” and that the kids would not leave Kazimierz Dolny without consent of the authorities.

“I do not know what Matt Shea and his friends are doing here around children,” Pomianowski said in an email. “Mr. Shea and his friends have given us some contradictory information and, for that reason, it is difficult for us to trust them.”

That’s putting it mildly.

In related news, Matt Shea’s old buddy, Ammon Bundy, is also in the news, and it’s about a child. Bundy is making terrorist threats against a hospital in Idaho, which has responded by going into lockdown and rerouting patients. He is trying to get a baby out of the hospital.

The baby was temporarily removed from from family custody last Friday after officials determined the 10-month-old was “suffering from severe malnourishment” and at risk of injury or death, according to a statement from police in the city of Meridian near Boise.

The baby’s parents had refused to let officers check on the child’s welfare after the family canceled a medical appointment, the police statement said.

I don’t think either Matt Shea or Ammon Bundy ought to ever be trusted with the welfare of any children anywhere, yet there they are. I don’t even understand why these horrible people are still running free, let alone why they have the privilege of claiming they’re working in the interests of children.


  1. robro says

    The article really didn’t need to say “Shea is a Christian.” And let me wildly speculate something about both cases…there’s money involved.

  2. raven says

    Xposted from Infinite thread.

    An American political extremist accused by the Washington legislature of domestic terrorism is reportedly overseas with dozens of children from Ukraine.”Former Washington state Rep. Matt Shea, …

    Yeah, Matt Shea is bad news.

    Wikipedia: In October 2018, Shea acknowledged that he had distributed a four page manifesto which called for the killing of non-Christian males if a war were to occur and they do not agree to follow fundamentalist biblical law.[3][4] Shea was referred to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for investigation as a result.[5] In April 2019, Shea was removed as State House Republican Caucus Chair for advocating violence against religious minorities and offering state surveillance of political enemies to members of hate groups.[6]
    that he was disarmed by a commander while he served in Iraq due to anger management issues.

    Matt Shea just goes from atrocity to atrocity. He had trouble in the army, trouble as a Washington state legislator, his ex-wife has a restraining order out against him, and he was once arrested for carrying and waving around a loaded gun without a CC permit.

  3. raven says

    Matt Shea has been in trouble with the law before.
    He was once arrested for a road rage incident in which he started waving a loaded gun around.
    His ex-wife took out a restraining order against him.
    He has advocated violence often up to and including the murder of non-xians.

    There is no way that this guy should be near small children!!!
    Matt Shea shouldn’t be near children, other humans, pets, or house plants either.

  4. Artor says

    I hope Polish authorities hold onto Shea for a while and investigate what he’s been up to. I think there’s little chance he hasn’t violated numerous laws.

  5. raven says

    This has happened before with fundie xians.

    On January 29, 2010, a group of ten American Baptist missionaries from Idaho attempted to cross the Haiti-Dominican Republic border with 33 Haitian children. The group, known as the New Life Children’s Refuge, did not have proper authorization for transporting the children and were arrested on kidnapping charges.

    New Life Children’s Refuge case – Wikipedia

    From Idaho again. A lot of weird stuff happens in Idaho.

    A group of 10 fundies were caught with 33 Haitian children without a huge amount of documentation or explanation, after their big earthquake. From Wikipedia: The children were sent to the SOS Children’s Village orphanage in Croix-des-Bouquets, a suburb of Port-au-Prince,
    and it became clear that most (if not all) of them were not orphans.[13]
    NLCR missionaries maintained that they were told that the children were orphaned. In turn, people in Calebasse and SOS Children’s Villages accused the missionaries of lying about their intentions.[10][13] Although the children’s relatives were told that they would be able to visit them and eventually take them back, the NLCR’s mission statement clearly outlined plans for adoption.[1][10]

    The children weren’t orphans.
    The fundies lied about their plans and intentions and were in fact, planning to kidnap and adopt them out.

    PS Follow the money.
    These are xians without obvious jobs who run one scam after another.
    There is big money in child trafficking. These adoptions aren’t cheap.
    They also of course, make easy charity appeals on GoFraudMe or GiveSendGo,Hope the law doesn’t catch up.

  6. hillaryrettig1 says

    Raven – as per the article I cited, even before/without adoptions, these organizations can make big bucks (like $700/day) providing “foster” services.

  7. anthrosciguy says

    One of Bundy’s wildlife refuge occupiers had an apparently lucrative set up with a ranch and dozens of children. I think this was the guy who chose suicide by cop when he turned tail and ran.

  8. Paul K says

    When I read about this last night, I recalled reading last week (I’m pretty sure it was on the Guardian’s Ukraine Live coverage) that there had been several cases of kids who had been sent out of Ukraine by their parents to meet friends/relatives across the border in Poland, and then not shown up. The authorities suspected human trafficking, and this sure seems to me like it fits that definition.

  9. whywhywhy says

    Based on these reports, I assume the Q-Anon crowd are all over this. Here is a case of politician involved in child trafficking.

  10. Walter Solomon says

    Last night there was a segment on msnbc about sex traffickers targeting Ukrainian women and children. Apparently it’s already something of a problem there. I’m not saying that’s what this guy was up to but I wouldn’t put it past him.

  11. raven says

    I’m not saying that’s what this guy was up to but I wouldn’t put it past him.

    Thiis is child trafficking. No doubt about it. It’s quite possible none of these children are actual orphans, as was the case in Haiti. Someone may well have lied to the parents and said the children would be taken to a safe place outside of Ukraine. Ukraine is a war zone being attacked by war criminals, after all.

    Whether it is overt child sex trafficking is unknown right now. But it is almost certain a lot of those children will end up being sex trafficking victims.
    The fundie xian adoption scam pretends to place these children into…”good xian homes”. Which is code for fundie xian dysfunctional hells. They won’t spend a lot of time looking at who adopts these children as long as the check clears.

    There will be no followup to see how the children are doing.
    Quite often, with fundie adoptions, the children end up getting passed on to somewhere else and no one knows where they go or who they end up with. There is no overall oversight in a lot of the Red states.

  12. raven says

    UCT (unregulated custody transfer) also referred to as rehoming, is different
    from adoption in that, by definition, it happens
    informally without any formal supervision by child
    welfare authorities or courts. It is a practice in
    which parents seek new homes for their children
    and place them without the safeguards and
    oversight of the courts, the child welfare system,
    or another appropriate entity that has the capacity
    and authority to assess and protect the child’s best

    While any child may be subject to UCT, children adopted
    through foster care in the United States or through
    intercountry adoption may be most at risk. A recent study
    found the challenges associated with these adoptions,
    including the child’s complex physical and behavioral
    health needs and the difficulty in finding and paying for
    needed health services, may lead families to seek out
    unregulated transfers.

    Lack of appropriate placement oversight increases the
    likelihood children may experience neglect of their
    medical, development, emotional, and/or educational
    needs; physical, sexual, or emotional abuse; placement
    in an unsafe environment; exposure to unsafe adults or
    other children/youth in the home; multiple disruptions;
    or an isolated lifestyle that could put them at risk for
    future abuse or exploitation.

    More than you want to know about rehoming and how it is a huge problem.

    It is illegal in about 13 states.
    Which means… it is legal in one form or another in most states.

  13. numerobis says


    Based on these reports, I assume the Q-Anon crowd are all over this. Here is a case of politician involved in child trafficking.

    Pretty sure Matt Shea is indeed part of the QAnon crowd.

  14. unclefrogy says

    It surprises me not at all that this type of criminal activity is occurring in such a chaotic war zone (is there such a thing and a none chaotic war zone) I would think there are other types of criminality going on as well.
    It does boggle my mind how these people like Shea and Bundy are not in custody

  15. robro says

    I see there is good reason to think my wild speculation (@ #2) is likely true in some form. I suspect in addition to getting public money (so much for their anti-socialism), and institutional chariot money, they’re in a good position to sucker churched individuals into donating money to them…most of it unregulated.

  16. Pierce R. Butler says

    A “rescue” from Mariupol?!?

    The city has been under siege for weeks, with little-to-no food or water getting in, and relatively few people getting out.

    However they did it, it must have involved multiple bribes – surely violating US and international law.

  17. StevoR says

    @16. numerobis : Just such sickening projection from the fundamentalist child abusers..

    Of course the Quanon mob already ignore Trump’s close ties and firendship with Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell including Trump notoriously wishing her well for her trial. Yeah, sure he’s fighting against child rape and sex trafficking in high places! (Does that really need a sarc tag?)

    I really hope those poor kids are rescued from Shea and his traffickers here and appropriate charges laid ASAP.

  18. says

    Raven (#7) –

    From Idaho again. A lot of weird stuff happens in Idaho.

    You’re not kidding. I’m working on a post right now, unrelated to this….