Illegal Child Rehoming
Today, Reuters released a trouble report titled ‘Americans Use Internet to Abandon Children Adopted Overseas.' If the title of that report doesn't shake you up, the contents of the story will.
Illegal Child Rehoming: What's Happening
Aspiring parents within the U.S. are adopting children from overseas. Nothing new here, yet, right? Well, sometimes those children turn out to be troubled psychologically, and this can be too much for adoptive parents to take. Again, nothing really new here – adopted children are given up every day for the same reasons.
What's troubling about the investigative report mentioned above is that adoptive parents are now taking placement of these children into their own hands. How? Using free web hosting sites and the Internet as the number one method of ‘child rehoming.'
Illegal Child Rehoming: Controversial Rehoming Groups
Adoptive parents that have seemingly exhausted every situation (therapy, counseling, etc) are now looking to groups like ‘Respite & Rehoming,' which is a Yahoo group focused on finding new homes for adopted children. A Yahoo group. A group just like a ‘Car Swap' or ‘Used Clothing' group. Only this group is a meet and greet place for parents seeking to give up adopted kids. It gets worse.
Some adoptive parents are also looking to freely hosted Facebook and Google groups to give up unwanted kids. I suppose there is an argument for turning to these groups (exhaustion, frustration, helplessness), but it's hard to sympathize. But, these are rare cases, right? Wrong. Passing children from one home to the next through free sites is more common than you may think.
Illegal Child Rehoming: Some Shocking Numbers
The US Government's ‘Child Welfare Information Gateway' publication (available for public views and usage) states that anywhere from 10 to 25 percent of children adopted nationwide end up victims of adoption disruption (or being traded via the Internet). The older the child, the higher the rate of disruption.
Illegal Child Rehoming: Illegal Adoptions
Judgements aside, people looking to give up children tend to place these kids without any legal intervention (which is, by the way, illegal). Most of the people seeking to get rid of a problem kid don't conduct background checks, and don't have any information about a potential new home.
More often the not, kids wind up in the hands of new parents that were never suitable to be parents in the first place. Reuters has uncovered the fact that many of the parents taking kids through sites like Yahoo Groups are unfit, have criminal pasts, and are (for a lack of a better word) monsters. Troubling.
Illegal Child Rehoming: Why The Lack Of Intervention?
Although it seems Yahoo is cracking down on these illegal groups (a search for ‘adoption disruption' returned numerous groups that appear to have been shut down), what about Facebook? Facebook reps haven't addressed press questions directly. Where does it stop? Where can we draw the line?
The adoption situation can be compared to the Silk Road, or to puppy mills – none of this is legal, but it happens every day. Further, nothing is being done to stop it.
Illegal Child Rehoming: Is There A Solution?
So, just because it's occurring on the Internet doesn't mean that Facebook and Yahoo shouldn't step in to halt the practice. Bottom line: it's wrong, and should be stopped.
Or — and here's a novel idea — if people have gone through the adoption process, stick with it. Being a parent isn't supposed to be all sunshine and rainbows. It's tough work. No parent has it easy.
What do you think? Should sites like Yahoo and Facebook crack down on these groups? Should people attempting to swap children be sent to jail?