Saturday, July 4, 2015

As Maine goes .....

..... so goes the nation?

This story has been circulating widely in the adoption community since it appeared yesterday:

and it's being celebrated as a long-overdue mandate.

Two years ago, Reuters published a series of articles on the underground practice of rehoming adopted children (The Child Exchange).  Most Americans were unaware that this was happening, and certainly unaware that it was going on without legal oversight of any kind.

The children most affected by this practice typically have been adopted from overseas, and out of infancy.  Chances are, they have spent some length of time in an orphanage or other institutional care and, as a result, have developed behaviors that make it nearly impossible for them to integrate into a traditional family.  Perhaps they have medical or health issues that will require extensive treatment in order for them to lead normal lives.  

Many times, would-be adopters are not informed of these behavior and health issues, or they naively assume that "love conquers all" and that once "their child" is home, all will be well.

"Love conquers all"

The sad reality is, though, that many of these children will never meet their adopters' expectations.  They may be angry or violent, they may be destructive, they may hoard food, they may be diagnosed with RAD or ODD, they may abuse animals or other children in the home.

At some point, adopters become overwhelmed with the child's behavior and decide that their best option is to find a new home for him/her.  However, since adoption is supposed to be "forever," and states -- reasonably so -- make it difficult for parents to simply give away their children, these adopters turn to sites such as this Facebook page.  If you've ever seen descriptions of pets on a rescue site, you'll recognize the format:  a cute picture, a short biography and, most likely, no mention of any serious issues that might exist.

See?  Aren't they all just so adorable?

Directly from Facebook - L: available animals / R: available children
Unfortunately, and not surprisingly, many of the children "rehomed" in this manner have landed in the homes of pedophiles and other child abusers.  Some end up institutionalized, some end up in jail, some end up on the streets.

Some end up dead.

There are no easy solutions to this problem.  International adoption has become more difficult in the last few years, because of documented -- and well-publicized -- abuse to children adopted from overseas.  Still, it hasn't stopped completely, and perhaps never will.

Not every adoption is going to be a positive experience for all the parties involved, but choosing to hand off the child to someone else without any official oversight simply shouldn't be an option.

Kudos to Maine and to State Representative Craig Hickman for passing this bill.  It's the right thing to do, and should be made law nationwide.