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Returning or Trading An Adopted Child
a blog by Julie Monacelli, November 24, 2013
Have we become a consumer based society where we feel we can return even adopted children? If the news reports are right, that’s exactly what Cleveland and Lisa Cox did with their son… after 9 years in their home. The couple was charged with one count of nonsupport after “recklessly” abandoning him when they returned their son to the Butler County Children’s Services on October 24, 2013 where they originally adopted the boy at 3 months old.
Financially, the couple reports no economic hardship. In fact, they live in a home valued at $300,000. They stated that the child was unwilling to get help for his aggressive behavior. OK, so wait a minute… you are telling me that a child you have raised has your own can be dropped off like a stray cat at the pound because he has issues? What the heck would have happened if this kid was their biological child and they didn’t have the adoption system to fall back on? The Cox’s have a hearing scheduled for this case, and if convicted they could face six months in jail, which could be suspended or staggered. The sentence depends on it you have a child at home to care for. Are you kidding me?
This brings me to the practice of adoption trading or re-homing. An investigative report by Reuters, called The Child Exchange, exposed unmonitored, unregulated adoption activities taking place on the internet. Children were traded away to other couples and Yahoo, with no home study, no social workers, and no legal oversight. Groups or ads were found on Facebook, Yahoo and Craigslist, which are all largely unmonitored sites.
Adopters stated that 25% of the time they planned to adopt a child with a special need, but a survey found actual adoptions were closer to 50% special needs with the majority of the parents having no intention of adopting a higher needs child. Adoption agencies are being urged to keep better track of the children they assist in finding homes, better parental training on the needs of an adopted child and follow up post adoption to ensure the newly formed family has resources needed for success.
I suppose I would like to think that people who go out of their way to meet the requirements to adopt a child, especially an older child or one from out of country, would understand that the child may come with some behaviors, fears and perhaps even cultural norms that we might find odd in the United States. I remember one story years ago of a family that couldn’t understand why their child would squat on our American style toilets, placing their feet on the seat. Eventually, I believe someone stepped in and explained to them that the third world country the child came from had no plumbing, which meant this was how she had grown up all along. Common sense to me… but maybe we need to educate people better on exactly what adoption will entail.
Finally, I would like to again thank all of you that have seen it fit in your hearts to welcome children, who may have a different skin tone than your own family, speak a language you don’t understand or have behaviors considered difficult. Raising a child is hard, but it might be harder when you didn't lay the foundation setting them up for the rest of their life.