December 16, 2014

"States start to crack down on parents 're-homing' their adopted kids."

"Among pet owners, 're-homing' an unwanted dog or cat is a relatively straightforward process...."

34 comments:

MayBee said...

I know someone who did this. The whole thing was awful.

Renee said...

I can wrap my head around it.

Bob R said...

My wife and I recently went through obtaining guardianship for our adult handicapped son. It wasn't that elaborate a process, but I thought everyone involved took his rights very seriously.

Aren't there similar protections for transfer of guardianship of a child? I'm skeptical that current laws are not up to this task. Of course, someone will have to enforce them, but that will be true of any new laws as well.

SJ said...

How is the State able to tell the difference between "staying at someone else's place for the summer" and "re-homing"?

If a child attends a school, doesn't the school require some sort of identification of legal-guardian status?

How do the new parents of "re-homed" children deal with those situations?

What legal remedies and law-enforcement processes are being proposed?

chillblaine said...

That was a very depressing article. To think that there are children out there who didn't bond with their parents, children who don't believe that they are wanted and loved... time for some fresh air poodle walking therapy for me...

PatHMV said...

It was an odd article. It's giving a new name to something, but I don't see the need for any new laws. As the article rather belatedly notes, this is just child abandonment or child selling. The motives of the adoptive parents are really immaterial in the legal analysis. Once the adoption is final, that is THEIR CHILD. They have the same legal obligations to care for it as if the child were their biological offspring. If they fail to meet that obligation, there are legal ways to put the child up for adoption and sever their parental rights; they can't just trade the kid in or hand him or her over to some other parents.

These poorly thought out calls for new regulatory laws scare me. Plenty of families have to send one or more of their kids to stay with or live with relatives for some period of time. That's very different from child abandonment, but it could perhaps sound like "rehoming" under some weird new definitions.

Shanna said...

"Kids shouldn't be in want ads like: 'Our dog just had puppies. Want one for free?'

One of the local news stations has started doing this thing with kids in foster care where they post 'so and so is up for adoption' stories with a picture and it so reminds me of the 'adopt a pet' ones that it's deeply weird.

In addition, I don't think it's that simple to adopt in the US, so I'm not sure you could even call and say 'i want this kid on the tv station'. STrange, strange program.

Once the adoption is final, that is THEIR CHILD. They have the same legal obligations to care for it as if the child were their biological offspring. If they fail to meet that obligation, there are legal ways to put the child up for adoption and sever their parental rights

I am guessing they are doing it legally, just not in ways the state approves of. I know if you one parent of a child who gets remarried, it is pretty easy to have the new spouse adopt that child if the biological parent doesn't want them. Maybe private adoptions are equally easy?

Anonymous said...

Consider me a skeptic on stories like this.

" Often those re-homed children report gruesome tales of physical, sexual or emotional abuse by their new guardians."

Really? Are we to believe there is a database of re-homed children and a large number of them have reported gruesome tales of assault?

" Since re-homing is done privately, there are no statistics monitoring the number of failed adoptions."

And yet, we know that "often" they report being assaulted.

Uh huh.

""Kids shouldn't be in want ads like: 'Our dog just had puppies. Want one for free?' " adds Haralambie, a former chair of the ABA Family Law Section's Juvenile Law and Needs of Children Committee. "That's precisely where people like the mentally ill and pedophiles go to get children. At best, it's abandonment, and at worst, it's human trafficking."

Because, if the government isn't involved bad things will happen.

But if the government is involved, all will be well?

My wife and I have been looking into both adoption and foster care. It's a nightmare. My brother in law went to jail recently. The children were taken from him and his wife. They were given to some foster parents. We offered to take them, but we weren't allowed to. We have four kids and not enough space for two more, according to the rules. Plus, we were under suspicion because he beat his wife and we never turned him in (As if we are just supposed to know these things magically).

We already have too much government intrusion into the lives of children. And where I live, we hear horror stories all the time about children being killed by estranged parents and the state workers were negligent, etc.

There are bad people in this world. The State doesn't make them better. It just punishes those of us who want to help these kids.

EMD said...

I agree with eric. Skeptical.

lgv said...

I am repulsed by the whole concept.

Would a parent re-home their biological child if the child were troubled or needed special care? There are other avenues for the parent, although difficult and potentially expensive.

The child is not a puppy. There are too many self-centered adults who "need" a child, regardless of their ability to care for them. This children as chattel approach is abhorrent. You stupid pathetic people who refuse to understand the risks and commitment of raising a child. You are the adult equivalent of an 8 year old asking for a puppy.

I was left on my own at age four and ended being adopted. It was the greatest thing that could have ever happened to me.

mccullough said...

Am still trying to understand how there is any adoption without some sign off through judicial process. It's fine to arrange an adoption but how is there no final approval by a judge.

Jane the Actuary said...

you know, this is something I've never understood. You can surrender an infant for adoption. you can lose parental rights for an older child. But absent this, you're stuck. If a child has severe physical disabilities, you can place him in a residential center (e.g., "an institution"). Severe mental illness/behaviorial issues? Not so much -- at least, based on articles that periodically appear in the paper where the kid needs extensive, long-term residential treatment but the parents can't afford it.

Shanna said...

Am still trying to understand how there is any adoption without some sign off through judicial process. It's fine to arrange an adoption but how is there no final approval by a judge.

I think the article was purposefully vague on many important points. Which always makes me a bit suspicious.

And even if it is awful, isn't foster care also sometimes awful? Isn't being the child of abusive parents also awful?

mccullough said...

Okay after re-reading this article it looks like this re-homing already constitutes child abandonment. So there is no new regulation needed other than to maybe stiffen the penalties and publicize hotline numbers to make it easier to detect.

My Dad was a grade school principal and about 12 times over 12 years a parent would do this. My Dad would tell the parent that they no longer qualified for certain welfare programs because they didn't have children anymore and that if they didn't take their kids back within 48 hours he was going to report them for child abandonment and welfare fraud.

mccullough said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
prairie wind said...

Criminalizing...will that mean that both the old family and the new family end up under the legal steamroller? That seems an odd way to make sure a child has a good home.

That's precisely where people like the mentally ill and pedophiles go to get children.

I call bullshit on this. How often does that happen? The incidents that you've seen only in your imagination do not count.

Deirdre Mundy said...

I know people who've been on the recieving end of 'rehomed' kids... usually a case of family members raising a kid, finding him too much of a handful, asking another friend of the family for help... kid ends up living full-time at friend's house and basically being their kid.

Or, parent wants to give kid a better education/neighborhood, sends her to live with family somewhere else. Think "Fresh Prince of Bel Air"

This has happened as long as there have been families. Sometimes, a kid who's a bad fit for her parents/grandparents might be a good fit for her cousins or whatever. And everyone ends up happier.

MayBee said...

There are some gray areas though, aren't there?

Obama was turned over to his grandparents. My dad's cousin was basically turned over to my dad's family for a while.
I've had friends move in with other friend's families, rather than live at home with their parents anymore.

These are biological children, for whom formal guardianship never really changed. But living arrangements did.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

I remember this happening to two boys who lived down the street from me in the 1970s. They were neighborhood friends, and one day they were gone.

The parents continued to live down the street throughout my growing up. I never spoke to them again.

Bob Ellison said...

Makes me feel guilty for not having adopted yet.

prairie wind said...

This article makes it sound as if you can find a child to adopt on Craig's List, Bob Ellison. Should be easy to do if all those mentally ill people and pedophiles have done it.

madAsHell said...

I'm with eric.

Lyssa said...

Shanna said: I know if you one parent of a child who gets remarried, it is pretty easy to have the new spouse adopt that child if the biological parent doesn't want them. Maybe private adoptions are equally easy?

I'm sure that it varies by state, but at least in my state, you can't adopt unless someone's parental rights have been terminated. That can be done over that parent's objections, but it's usually not easy (it's usually done only when the parent has not indicated any real interest in the child for a number of years, unless there's a fairly extreme issue of abuse or neglect).

Julie C said...

My late mother grew up during the great Depression in Chicago. Both of her parents had to work full time to make ends meet and could not care for her, so for about a year, she lived with a family on a farm somewhere in Illinois. She said she felt sad and lonely the whole time as she missed her parents and couldn't understand why she had to live with strangers.

Kind of puts the complaints of the Columbia Law students/hothouse flowers in a new light.

Shanna said...

you can't adopt unless someone's parental rights have been terminated. That can be done over that parent's objections, but it's usually not easy

Right, but if the parents are wanting to terminate their rights it seems to go pretty smoothly...at least in my experience.

CStanley said...

I once had someone ask me if I could give my (adopted) son back when I was telling her about some difficulties we were having. She was half joking, but it was so incredibly offensive that I was dumbfounded. I certainly never spoke to her candidly again about this or any other personal issue.

Lyssa said...

You're right, Shanna. I misread your first comment ("doesn't want them" translated to "doesn't want them to be adopted" in my head)

Laura said...

These "normal" parents should get a chance to be held to the standard of predictive neglect: http://www.propublica.org/article/should-a-mental-illness-mean-you-lose-your-kid.

Once given a scarlet letter diagnosis, there's little chance of turning back. But there's just soooo many "crazies" out there who are never scrutinized and can easily adopt.

And those who leave a psychiatrist's office (often accomplished in fifteen minutes or less) without a diagnosis can only be billed once.

Shanna said...

You're right, Shanna. I misread your first comment ("doesn't want them" translated to "doesn't want them to be adopted" in my head)

Ah, gotcha.

Be said...

The sexual abuse line in the ABA journal is interesting. In this article I read earlier, (sorry, it's a rambling one; still some good to be garnered), it was the original adoptive parents who claimed that their children were acting out sexually.

Unfortunately, among many of these children, the sexual / physical acting-out is a common thing. Also, not everyone who sets out to adopt kids (though they might be very high minded) are cut out for dealing with children, high-risk or not.

http://news.yahoo.com/giving-away--anatoly-a---200851799.html;_ylt=A0LEVic3yZBUi.QATqkPxQt.;_ylu=X3oDMTByMG04Z2o2BHNlYwNzcgRwb3MDMQRjb2xvA2JmMQR2dGlkAw--

JamesB.BKK said...

If only some lawyers could be truthful and write "controlled by the state" instead of "regulated," for that is what they really mean.

Revenant said...

The process of re-homing has been largely unregulated—no federal laws prohibit the exchange of unwanted adopted kids.

Unless the federal government is the only regulatory body in America, that sentence doesn't make very much sense.

jaed said...

OK, so if I understand this correctly, the article is talking about private adoptions (which are legal in most states), but is calling them "re-homing" so the author can make the implicit claim that private adoption is just like putting up a pet for sale on Craigslist and Oh Teh Awfulness. Thus, a federal ban on private adoptions - in fact, making private adoption a federal crime - is called for.

Did I get that right?

It's fascinating rhetorically. Just by replacing the term used for transferring custody of a child with one used for selling pets, you stigmatize the practice and imply that the parents are treating the child as a pet. There's all sorts of nastiness inherent in the use of such a word, but it's all plausibly deniable since you don't have to explicitly state any of it.

Bryan C said...

As a child my grandmother and her sister were "re-homed" by their mother to different foster parents.

Her mother was recently widowed and had to work. Her immediate siblings proved unsuitable at raising children. She concluded that private fostering was the best way to provide a pleasant and stable upbringing for her daughters. They were largely raised in different states by a spinster school teacher and a set of in-laws. Their mother was involved for financial support and visited when she could.

It wasn't easy on the girls, but easy isn't always an option. It was the right thing to do at the time. I can't imagine a government-run alternative being preferable.