When adoptive parents ‘re-home’ their kids, child safety is at risk

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Child Custody on Wednesday, February 17, 2016.

Most of the time, an adopted child becomes a part of his or her new family permanently — but not always. Occasionally, parents change their minds and seek to hand off the child to someone else, a move known as “re-homing.”

This may seem like shocking, heartless behavior to some. How could anyone go through the process of adopting a child, only to decide they don’t want the kid anymore, as if the girl or boy was a used car? And it is likely that many parents who re-home their children are acting heartlessly and selfishly. But there may be other who simply become overwhelmed, perhaps because the child has special needs, or can no longer afford to have children.

Whatever the reason, the major problem with re-homing is that it largely takes place without government regulation to ensure that the child’s new home is a safe, hopefully more permanent place for him or her to live. The Concord Monitor notes a case where a Wisconsin woman handed over guardianship of her adopted daughter to an Illinois couple after finding them on the Internet. It turned out that child welfare officials had previously stripped the Illinois couple of their parental rights over two biological children, suggesting that the Wisconsin girl’s best interests were far from the top consideration in the re-homing.

Adoption has a clear legal process that everyone must follow. As heartbreaking as re-homing might be, without regulation there are no guarantees where the child, who might have no say in the process, will end up.

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