HEBER CITY, Utah — A Utah family wants to set the record straight about their adoption with an Arizona politician accused of selling children.
Jason and Andrea Wilcock said Paul Petersen helped facilitate the adoption of two boys each born from women from the Marshall Islands who still live in the United States.
“[The adoptions] brought so much happiness and joy and light to our family,” Andrea said.
Their first son’s adoption came in February 2015, followed 18 months later by another boy.
Both were facilitated by Petersen, who is now accused of running a massive adoption fraud scheme.
“We felt we were guided to him. Everything that he was asking us, all the requirements that we had to do, all the documents that we had to have, the process, it all seemed fine,” Andrea said.
Petersen faces more than 60 felony charges in Utah, Arizona and Arkansas. He’s accused of smuggling mothers from the Marshall Islands and then selling their babies for profit in the U. S.
The Wilcocks insist Petersen was fair during their experiences.
"It was exactly the way it should have gone,” Jason said.
The Wilcocks maintain a strong relationship with their sons' birth mothers, at Petersen’s request.
Andrea said the mothers lived in the U.S. before getting pregnant and and both chose the families in which their children would be placed.
The eldest boy’s mother even asked the family to sit in during a 12-hour labor and delivery, Andrea said.
“We see them yearly. They come and visit us. We have a very open relationship with them. We communicate weekly with them and send pictures,” Andrea said.
Contrary to the indictments, Andrea said the boys’ birth mothers were not mistreated. The family said Petersen even advocated for them during the process.
While they cannot speak for every adoption, the family insists theirs were miracles, not crimes.
“We feel like it is very unfair to clump all of the cases he has done as a scheme or having our children come from a baby mill,” Andrea said.
The Wilcocks say they have not been contacted by investigators.
Petersen is being held in Phoenix on a $500,000 cash-only bond.