Adopting a child is a lot more than just filling out some forms. It’s a commitment to help a child be the best they can be in the worst and give them the best possible circumstances. Unless, you know, you’re a complete self-involved jackass, like a disturbing number of people Reuters discovered.
We could get into the nitty-gritty here. But really, the opening of this longform piece says it all.
Todd and Melissa Puchalla struggled for more than two years to raise Quita, the troubled teenager they’d adopted from Liberia. When they decided to give her up, they found new parents to take her in less than two days – by posting an ad on the Internet.
Yeah, as you might expect, the kind of people who look for kids on the Internet outside the realm of government scrutiny are not the kind of people who should have children, as a rule. The colloquial name for this is “private re-homing”; in reality, it’s “dumping kids off on total strangers who may be even less equipped to raise them than you.”
Even more terrifying, Reuters found that a lot of these kids are older children adopted from overseas. English may not be their first language, they may have behavioral problems that need careful treatment, and they may not understand the options open to them to seek help.
If you’re wondering how the hell this is even possible, legally speaking, the people who adopt are still technically the “parents.” These “re-homed” kids are simply declared to be under the guardianship of another adult; with that guardianship, the kids can be sent to school and, more importantly for some people, enrolled as a device to get government benefits.
Legally speaking, when kids switch families, under the law both sets of parents are supposed to alert the state, so it can do its job. But it’s a law that’s barely enforced and that many enforcement agencies are seemingly unaware of.
Thankfully, Yahoo! and Facebook, once they were aware of what was happening, have been acting to shut this kind of thing down. And the good news is that this seems to be a rare phenomenon. But there’s a limit to what Internet corporations can do. One hopes Reuters’ article can embarrass child protection services and adoption agencies into action; these kids need protection, that simple.
And go read the whole stomach-turning thing when you have a minute.
(Image courtesy of deflam on Flickr)
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