When people hear the word “adoption,” it is usually followed with terms describing forever homes and a loving, forever family. Adoption is viewed as a way to find loving homes for children in need of homes. Adoption is a way to create everlasting bonds that a child might not find elsewhere. What happens when the adoptive parents decide they are no longer interested in raising a child they adopted? One state has decided to take a stand on this matter. I stand with Wisconsin.
When I troll Craigslist hoping for a random piece of furniture to up-cycle, I always tend to browse the pet section to see what is being re-homed for an exorbitant fee. As someone who loves rescue animals, I always scream internally when I realize none of these people re-homing their animals will actually research the homes their pets will be living in. What I never realized before was that there were similar forums for parents who were just no longer interested in parenting their adoptive children or believed the task was too overwhelming. Families were treating their adopted children as a pet that no longer held their interest.
Wisconsin has finally decided to take a stand against private custody transfers of adopted children who are no longer wanted. Under a new law that became effective on April 16th, it is illegal for anyone to advertise a child for adoption or custody transfer if they are not licensed by the state. According to Reuters, the fine for transferring custody without permission from a judge will face up to 9 months in jail or up to $10,000 in fines. Is that truly a strict enough punishment for the crime?
As a birth mother, I cannot stand when someone says I gave up my child. That is exactly what these families are doing. They are giving up on their children— these children whom they swore they would raise as their own. They are carelessly handing them away without consideration for the children’s well-being.
I’m sure that most of us are familiar with the woman from Tennessee who placed her adopted son on a plane back to Russia with a note saying he was violent and had psychological issues. This adoptive mother was willing to send her son back to his previous country without even notifying anyone. She literally gave up on her child. She was willing to give up on this child who most likely did come with quite a few challenges. Unfortunately, this is one of the less horrifying stories.
Without government restrictions and regulations in place, many adopted children who are re-homed end up in unstable and unsafe living arrangements. With the emergence of Yahoo groups came many unfortunate placements. According to Reuters, most of the children available on the now-defunct Yahoo groups were originally adopted internationally. One mother handed her nine-year-old adopted son to a pedophile in a motel parking lot. Another girl who was adopted from Haiti managed to burn through four homes in only two years. She was abruptly re-homed due to her allegations of sexual abuse involving other children in her home.
When did we start treating children like a used Ikea bookcase? Why would anyone find it acceptable to re-home his or her child in a home without even doing a real background check? One couple decided to re-home their teenager due to mental problems. Less than 48 hours after posting the original ad, the family looking to re-home their daughter drove from Wisconsin to Illinois to hand their adopted daughter over to complete strangers. If they had done even a little research, they would have discovered that the couple interested in their adopted daughter had previously had children removed from their home. The new parents also had a history of violent tendencies and severe psychiatric problems. These were things any true home study would have uncovered, but apparently some people truly don’t see why they exist.
We truly need to move toward finding amazing, stable homes for children who will definitely come with some baggage and issues. We cannot allow adoptive parents to treat their adopted children like used furniture or an inconvenient pet. Nobody deserves such inhumane treatment.
Do you agree with Wisconsin’s new law? Perhaps it could be stricter. Ohio is moving to introduce similar legislature, so it will be interesting to see what their punishments involve. Are there regulations in your state regarding re-homing?
NBCnews.com. Boy sent back to Russia; adoption ban urged.
Huffington Post. Wisconsin Passes Law to Stop the ‘Re-Homing’ of Adopted Children