Rehoming: Why It Happens, How To Prevent It, And Alternatives

Rehoming has such an ugly connotation, doesn’t it? Just thinking about it has always left me feeling down and sad and just plain old yucky. Until a year or so ago, I couldn’t understand at all how a parent could adopt, then let go. What kind of a chance does that give a kid at life? How fair is that? Why adopt in the first place? All really judgmental thoughts in my head. My only experience, up to that point, was with a wonderful family who adopted a child who had been adopted, kept for just a few years, relinquished, then finally placed with this family. A wonderful young lady who just needed stability and love. With that single experience, I supposed all rehoming and dissolution situations were the same. Boy, was I wrong!

I was blessed to come into contact with an incredible adoptive mother who was on the other side of dissolution. That is, she and her husband adopted a child, and eventually signed over parental rights. Why? The answer is multifaceted, but one big reason is because that was the only way to get the psychological help that the child desperately needed in order to have any hope of progress. Why couldn’t they get the help without dissolution? Because that kind of help was only available to those who are wards of the state. It was a sad reality. And is still the reality in most states.

So why does rehoming happen? For a variety of reasons. And we, regular citizens, have control over one of those reasons: Laws need to be changed. Rehoming and dissolution hurts everyone. It’s not just the child who is the victim. Families are torn apart, other children are sometimes hurt physically (not to mention the more impactful emotional damage), parents break the bank striving to help the child without insurance to cover the costs, and no one wins. No parent goes into an adoptive relationship thinking it might end in dissolution. It’s a last resort. And often happens after all the previously mentioned damage. Divorce, poverty, and long-term emotional damage is what the parents are often handed in return. The rehomed child fares no better.

For more on dissolution and what can be done, take a look at the following articles. And SHARE. Knowledge is power. As it is talked about, adoptive parents in difficult circumstances will seek help earlier, will have support, and will have a chance at making their families work.

Forfeiting Sanity

Carrie O’Toole Ministries

Excruciating Decision of One Mother

A Mother’s View of Adoption Dissolution: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

A Father’s View of Adoption Dissolution