A story went national last year about an Asian couple from Los Angeles who had adopted African children and were accused of trying to harvest their organs after one child died. The couple, who lived in Qatar at the time, were imprisoned for the murder of the child. The adoptive parents are speaking out against the Middle Eastern country’s authorities, claiming that their assumptions of the couple were racist.
The series of misfortunes began for Asian-Americans Matt and Grace Huang when they relocated to Qatar. Matt’s engineering job with MWH Global required him to move to the country to work on an infrastructure project for the 2022 World Cup. The couple had brought along three children whom they had adopted from Ghana — Emmanuel, Josiah and Gloria.
Eight-year-old Gloria had suffered from severe malnutrition ever since the couple adopted her from Ghana at 4 years old, and she refused to eat for the last four days of her life, according to the couple. During an interview with “CBS This Morning,” Matt recalled the day when he found Gloria ill at their home.
“Gloria was on the floor foaming at the mouth, so I took her immediately to the emergency room. And they did about 40 minutes of CPR, and then they told me that Gloria had passed away,” he said.
In a recent interview with New York Magazine, the Huangs said authorities began asking racist questions at the Doha hospital where Gloria died.
“The first question was, ”Who is she?’ ‘She’s my daughter,’ ” Grace said of the initial interrogation.
Qatar police accused the parents of starving Gloria to death. Investigators also thought, based on Matt and Grace being Asian and the children being African, that the couple had adopted the children to either harvest their organs or to perform medical tests on them.
The investigator said, according to the Daily Mail, “The adoption process consists of searching for children who are good-looking and well-behaved and who have hereditary features that are similar to those of the parents. But the children connected to this incident are all from Africa, and most of the families there are indigent.”
Matt and Grace were arrested, charged with murder and convicted of child endangerment charges. They were imprisoned for almost a year, and their two sons were taken to an orphanage. Their stint was particularly hard on Matt, who had been physically and sexually assaulted while at the prison.
After a judge found discrepancies in the case, Matt and Grace were released on bail. The couple’s family hired a pathologist who found that there was “no medical evidence that Gloria’s parents … starved her” and added that Qatari officials did not execute a proper autopsy.
A judge overturned their conviction, stating that the autopsy was inadequate and that the Huangs are “caring parents.”
“I am so excited that truth prevailed,” said Matt.
The Huangs are now residing in Washington state and attempting to put their nightmare in Qatar behind them. They have reunited with their two sons and are trying to piece together a new life for their family. Matt no longer works for MWH Global and has sued the company for forcing him to resign, not properly defending him, and asking him to move to a country that has hostility against interracial families.