Re-homing: Treating Adopted Children Like–No, Worse Than–Dogs

Source: Reuters article "The Child Exchange" Sept. 9, 2013

Source: Reuters article “The Child Exchange” Sept. 9, 2013

Have you heard of re-homing? It’s kind of nice-sounding, usually used for dogs and cats to find new homes.

Recently, though, “re-homing” has been used in the human adoption community, to describe moving an adopted child from one adoptive home to another. There may be good reasons for moving a child. But it should never be done lightly, never without exhausting all other resources (respite, therapy, counseling, etc.). Never via a Yahoo group.

That said, in too many places, post-adoption services (never mind high-quality post-adoption services) may not be available. While there are some parents who give up easily on children, there are many who struggle mightily, financially, physically, emotionally, for long periods of time, trying to find help for their children.

Surely though the transfer of a child shouldn’t  be arranged over the Internet, with no real legal, adoption agency, or government oversight, with children essentially being handed off to strangers in a parking lot. Right?

Read this Reuters/NBC News article: Americans Use The Internet to Abandon Children Adopted From Overseas.

If you ever wondered if the international adoption process needs more oversight–better screening and rigorous training prior to adoption, plus accessible, thorough post-adoption services, plus genuine legal protection for children–this article should convince you.

Send the article on to your state and federal elected officials, asking if they are okay with children being “exchanged” with no oversight, potentially to people who have been convicted of child pornography, to people who will tell a child to dig her own grave, to people who will disappear with the child, ending in who knows what fate.

Insist to our elected officials that (at a minimum) more legal oversight is needed for the safety of children.  Ask them to support increased funding for pre-adopt and post-adopt services.

If you have been moved by the horrific trial for homicide, manslaughter, and assault of the adoptive parents of Hana Alemu and her adopted Ethiopian brother, read the article, and send it on with your comments to the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.

Information on contacting your federal elected officials is here for the House and here for the Senate.

You can also contact the Joint Council on International Children’s Services, and the National Council on Adoption, both of which work with adoption agencies and with federal and state governments.

Ask the US State Department’s Office of Children’s Issues what public and comprehensive action they will take to protect children, since that’s their job in overseeing international adoptions. Here’s a quote from their web page:  “In this work, we are fully committed to protecting the welfare and interests of children.” That must include an oversight and enforcement role after the children arrive here. 

State Department contact information is available here.

As an adoptive parent of two sons from the US and two daughters from Ethiopia, I am deeply saddened and outraged by the information in the Reuters article–but not surprised. These tragic stories have been happening for far too long, though they haven’t received the attention they deserve.

We don’t want bad things happening to dogs. Surely these tragedies should not ever happen to children.

17 thoughts on “Re-homing: Treating Adopted Children Like–No, Worse Than–Dogs

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  8. Families who take placement of children from abroad should NOT be permitted to finalize those adoptions even before the children ever set foot in America! This sets those already-vulnerable children up for failure, as demonstrated in the shameful and growing numbers of “rehomed” adoptees across America. In domestic adoptions, American adoptive families must undergo at least 6-18 months of post-placement supervision PRIOR TO adoption finalization, during which the adoptive home is visited on a regular basis, and the child being adopted is observed/interviewed by the post-placement supervisory professional. It makes absolutely no sense that children adopted from outside America are any less protected! “Rehoming” is simply unlicensed child-placement practice (which is a kinder, gentler way of saying “child-trafficking”), and should be prosecuted as such.

  9. This one just about floored me.

    I would also suggest that adoptive parents in particular write to their legislators, and to the chairs and members of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption. Congress continuously side-steps the issue of tighter regulation of adoption, and this is just another example of why it is desperately needed.

  10. The title of this reminded me of an historical fact that many may not be aware of: The first time that a parent was tried on charges of child abuse happened when the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Animal Abuse) brought the case into court.
    It is sad that this could be true, but I am grateful that those who advocated humane treatment of animals stepped into the breach to begin to attempt to stop cruelty to children…..

  11. The woman in the photo has long hair and she is at an age where long hair is not flattering. Based on her hair style, I’m speculating that shares the same quiverful religious beliefs as Carri Williams and probably got caught up in the same Above Rubies orphan fever that got the Shatz’s and Williams’s.

    I have to give the woman credit for realizing she was in over her had and looking for help with a solution. I also understand how she would think that an African American father would be a better fit for their Liberian child. Trusting people are no match for people who have been lying scumbags all their life. Red flags are easy to ignore when you want something to work out. Thankfully the original adoptive mother followed up and tracking their adopted daughter down and took her back.

  12. Please for heaven’s sake trace this back to the agencies. “Adorable little 7 year old blond Caucasian boy…” who has lived in an orphanage all his life…he NEEDS YOU says the PR.

    Unmentioned, as “no one knows”: FAS, PTSD, ADHD, RAD… doesn’t speak any language, is unrelentingly violent all day every day, not toilet trained.

    Big $$$$ change hands. Please, look at the agencies’ role.

    • There is no doubt that adoption agencies have a huge role here, in terms of insisting on all possible information from the child’s orphanage/institution, in terms of disclosing all information to prospective parents, in terms of providing top-notch, thorough preparation for prospective parents, and in terms of ensuring that adoptive parents have access to useful, effective post-adoption resources. Further, agencies should make clear to families that there is no shame or stigma in seeking help for a child; in fact, it is a sign of strength.

      There is also no doubt that there is big money involved in placements. I have written about the adoption tax credit, and how those billions of dollars currently helping fund private and international adoptions could at least partially go toward better pre-adopt and post-adopt services. See my post “The Right to a Credit and a Child.”

  13. This article was horrible. I had no idea that this was happening, and for so long–since 2004! I also sent the link on to 2 agencies that I have worked with in the past. Hopefully, they will also take a stand and help out.

  14. That was so disturbing. Thank you for sharing the article. We should all do as you say and write our representatives and also share it.

    Anxiously awaiting Justice for Hana, Justice for Immanuel!

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