Featured News 2013 The Illegal Practice of Re-Homing Adopted Children

The Illegal Practice of Re-Homing Adopted Children

Many people don't expect the difficulties and heartbreak that can accompany international adoption. Often children that are adopted out of their native country and brought to the U.S. when they are older can be bitter, frustrating, or rebellious. In some cases, parents may think that they got in too deep by adopted a wayward child from another country, and may decide to "re-home" that child.

According to Reuters, re-homing is an underground operation in the United States. Parents who experience buyer's remorse after an adoption can put their children up on internet forums and other families will take on the child, essentially transferring guardianship.

Recently, the story of Quita, a teenage girl from Liberia, was featured on the New York Daily News. Quita's adoptive parents were extremely discouraged with the girl, who was diagnosed with serious health and behavioral problems. When Quita's adoptive parents finally gave up on her they posted an ad on the internet and found a willing family to take Quita off their hands only two days later.

Without doing any research, the family drove Quita to her new home. If they had done any background checks on the couple, the parents would have discovered that these willing takers had already had two children removed from their home. The couple that Quita as going to live with had also been charged with sexual abuse, though never convicted. They couple had one document attesting to their parenting skills, but it was fake and the social worker's signature was forged.

Quita's parents performed a hand-off in a mobile home park where the new family, the Easons, lived in a trailer. No attorneys or child welfare workers came with them to oversee the transfer. Quita's adoptive parents signed a notarized form declaring the strangers to be Quita's guardians. This is the last time they would ever see the daughter that they brought home from Africa.

Quita is only one of many children that are re-homed every year on online forums that are set up on Facebook or on Yahoo. Advertisements show photos of the children and small biographical captions to allure online "shoppers." Reuters chose to analyze 5,029 posts from a five-year period on one Internet message board, and labeled that a child was advertised for re-homing on the forum at least once a week. Most of the children ranged in age from six to 14 and had been adopted abroad.

Most of the children were form countries such as Russia, Ethiopia, China, and the Ukraine. The youngest child posted on the forum during Reuters' investigation was only 10 months old. Yahoo shut down many of their re-homing chat forums as soon as they were aware of the problem. One of these bulletins was Adopting from Disruption. The company also brought down five other boards. The Reuters investigation found that some children who were adopted and then rehomed suffered severe abuse, both physically and sexually, in the process.

One girl who was adopted from China and then re-homed told news reporters that at one point she was forced to dig her own grave. Others say that they were sexually abused by their parents or by adoptive siblings at very young ages. The children are often traded from home to home in noncommittal family relationships. Interestingly enough, there is a law that protects against re-homing without any government supervision.

Laws state that all adoptive parents who intend to re-home a child need to notify the state government first before proceeding. Many parents circumvent this law by obtaining a power of attorney permitted the new guardians to enroll the child in school or secure government benefits on the child's behalf. Still, the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children governs all re-homing instances. If you want more information about adoption and re-homing, then contact a local family attorney right away.

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