Mystery of whether Angelina Jolie’s son Maddox, 19, ‘was STOLEN from his birth family' to be reexamined by filmmaker

A NEW documentary about adoptions in Cambodia will take a fresh look at questions whether Angelina Jolie’s son Maddox may have been stolen from his birth family, The Sun can exclusively reveal.

The Hollywood star was one of hundreds of American parents who used Lauryn Galindo to facilitate the adoption of Maddox from Cambodia – apparently unaware of her potentially unethical practices.

But questions remain whether her son's real parents are still alive and were duped by Galindo's "baby recruiters", who reportedly preyed on poor families in rural areas.

Questions were asked about the legitimacy of Maddox's "orphan status" at the time of the adoption in 2002, with Cambodia child welfare workers believing he might have been sold by a poverty-stricken mother for $100. 

At the time, Kek Galibru, head of the human rights agency Licadho, who investigated the adoption scandal, said: "I'm sure that this child was not a real orphan and was not abandoned."

However, Jolie said she’d gone to great lengths to verify that Maddox had no living parents and has always maintained that he was an orphan.

She said: "I would never rob a mother of her child. I can only imagine how dreadful that would feel."

The Sun has reached out to Angelina for further comment, but did not receive a reply.

Now, filmmaker Elizabeth Jacobs is determined to uncover the truth about Galindo's adoptions in a new documentary she's making called The Stolen Children.

She will be traveling to Cambodia later in the year and hopes to get answers about her own adoption, which may help to better understand hundreds of others around that time, including Maddox.

Jacobs, 21, is from the same generation as Maddox, 19, and the circumstances of her own adoption from Cambodia remain murky after her parents also used Galindo. 

Between 1997 and 2001, at least half of all adoptions from Cambodia to the US – around 800 of 1600 – went through Galindo and her sister Lynn Devin’s agency Seattle International Adoptions.

A year after Maddox’s adoption, Galindo and Devin were both charged, with Devin being given a $150,000 financial penalty for falsifying documents to obtain US visas for ‘orphans'.

Galindo was imprisoned for 18 months in 2004 for the same crime and money laundering. 

She has since been released and is living in Hawaii.

The Sun has reached out to Galindo, who denied any wrongdoing, despite pleading guilty.

Asked if any of her practices were unethical, she said: "Absolutely not. Every single day, I wake up and I want to dedicate my body, my speech, my mind, my actions, to doing the best I can to being a force for good."

She claims Jacobs has not reached out personally but she'd be happy to help her answer questions about her past.

"I consider myself a champion for the children, I'm in touch with many of the children and happy to help if Elizabeth has questions and ways for me to help her, I certainly will," she said. "But she has not contacted me."

Galindo also insists there were a number of investigations into Maddox's adoption, and he was not stolen from his birth parents.

She told The Sun: "I have no reason to believe that there's anything about Maddox. They were very careful, especially given his celebrity parent.

"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."

Prosecutors maintained that Galindo, a U.S. citizen and former hula dancer, may have received as much as $9.2 million from adoptive parents, according to claims made in her criminal proceedings. 

Jacobs told The Sun exclusively: "The main reason to do the documentary is that, beyond reasonable doubt Galindo was involved, but why was I put up for adoption?

"I remember being interested as a kid in Angelina Jolie's adoption. If I never had the opportunity to do this documentary, I would never have looked back at my documents. I would never talk about the scandal behind it."

Jacobs, a film and marketing student at the University of Massachusetts, believes she’s the first of the "kidnapped generation" to return to Cambodia and investigate her past, which could lead to answers for hundreds of other Cambodian adoptees. 

"I think that Angelina Jolie, from a mother's perspective, she 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 speculated.

"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."

Her ex Brad Pitt has been awarded joint custody of their six children following a long court battle – after she filed for divorce in 2016.

The pair have three biological children, twins Vivienne and Knox, 12, and Shiloh, 15, along with Maddox, Zahara, 16, and Pax, 17, who were adopted from orphanages in Cambodia, Ethiopia and Vietnam respectively.

Jacobs' parents, Karen, 60, and Erich, 56, kept every scrap of evidence of the adoption, but only opened it up last year and realized Galindo's name was all over it. 

Karen gave Galindo power of attorney, which stated that she'd have authorization to "choose a child on our behalf, from any orphanage located in the Kingdom of Cambodia… this includes transportation of a child to the United States."

A receipt shows Galindo, stated as the "adoption facilitator", was given a $3,500 "donation" by the Jacobs’, who paid thousands more to the other agencies involved. 

Jacobs, who lives in Lexington, says her mother was told to prepare for the adoption and "had to strap money all around her waist" when traveling to Cambodia.

But the budding director has also uncovered discrepancies with the adoption, with orphanage and government documents showing different birth dates – and Karen says she was never able to get any answers out of Galindo and her team on the real parents, who were meant to have perished in a flood. 

Jacobs adds: "They said that if they had any information about their biological family, they’d release it, and my mom was the only one not to be called. They had absolutely zero information on my biological family. 

"So she thought that was weird, she was the only one, but was so excited to have a baby that she didn’t question it."

When Galindo pleaded guilty, Karen kept a letter that Galindo had sent all adoptive parents she’d “helped” and requested a favor in return.

She said that she’d acted “with integrity, always keeping the children’s interest as paramount” and “over 700 children have been placed in loving homes through my efforts’, saving many, many children ‘from early death, abuse, prostitution and hunger”. 

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