Adoptive Parents: Don't return your kids like defective TV sets

Adoptive parents are returning their children to the adoption agencies. These parents have decided that they don't want their kids anymore. My child didn't come from an agency, so where should I return my child if I decide that I don't want her anymore? Three adoptive families returned or attempted to return their children when they decided that they couldn't or didn't want to care for them anymore.

An Oklahoma couple tried to have a law changed so that they could return their son to the state because they say that they are afraid of him. The couple says that their son suffers from a number of mental disorders. He has killed animals, harmed other children and has threatened to kill them.

The couple was quoted as saying "We knew what we could and couldn't handle. They requested a child that was "not violent and acting out sexually." They were also quoted as saying:

"Since the Oklahoma Department of Human Services claimed he was "well-behaved," "respectful toward authority," and had no significant behavioral problems, they say that when he returns from an inpatient psychiatric hospital in January, they should be able to dissolve the adoption and put him back foster care."

I guess they should be able to return their child because he was not what they ordered.

A Tennessee woman returned her adopted son to Russia when she decided that she could no longer care for him. She said that he was violent and threatened to burn down the family home. The mother sought advice from a psychologist but never had the child see the psychologist. She claimed that the Russian agency lied to her about the child so that they could get rid of him.

She accompanied him on a plane from Tennessee to Washington and then she put him on a one way flight to Moscow, alone! There was letter with him that read:

“This child is mentally unstable. He is violent and has severe psychopathic issues. I was lied to and misled by the Russian Orphanage workers and director regarding his mental stability and other issues. … After giving my best to this child, I am sorry to say that for the safety of my family, friends, and myself, I no longer wish to parent this child.”

The child was 7 years-old when he was adopted and she changed his name. I don't know a lot of children who would not be upset if they had their name changed at the age of seven. This mother should not have changed the child's name and she should have tried to get him some psychological help. She didn't really try to care for this child. How could she be so cold as to put this child on a plane with a note? She clearly had a fantasy in her mind about what she wanted her child to be like, down to the name.

A Florida couple adopted a child from South America and kept him for 18 months before deciding to give him to another family. The mother claimed that after 18 months she was not bonding with the child and he was not bonding with her. This family decided to give him up for adoption to another family. After finding a family to adopt her son she said one thing that hit a nerve with me.

"This meant that the decision was final. D. would leave my home."

This sentence sounds so cold. She didn't say that her son would go to a loving family she said "he would leave her home." She didn't give herself and him time to bond. What if she had suffered from post-partum depression with her biological children? This mother thought that she had planned well and covered all of the bases when preparing to adopt her son. Parenting is not something that can be mapped out and planned. Children are unpredictable.

These parents thought that they could just place an order for a child like they were at ordering Burger King. They are acting like they got a defective TV and they can return it.  When you have a child, you don't know what type of child you are going to get. Deciding to become a parent means that you will love and care for your child, period. There is not a list of exceptions that allow you to bail out when it's not what you want. Biological parents deal with the children that are born to them and adoptive parents are no different. Do adoptive parents not think that biological parents wish they could special order their kids too? We would all want healthy, smart, well-behaved children. Guess what? Children come with all kids of issues and parents deal with these issues everyday. I'm sure the parents whose children have cancer, wished that their child didn't have cancer but they don't abandon them. They don't say "I didn't order a child with cancer."

Many children in orphanages have some mental issues because they are not being nurtured and cared for like they would in a normal home. Adoptive parents need to be prepared to deal with any mental issues that may exist. There are no guarantees. Before everyone starts in on me about these parents dealing with violent children, read this article.

This family has a child with schizophrenia. She has violent episodes and multiple personalities. Until recently, this family lived in two apartments because they were concerned about the safety of their younger child. They have moved heaven and earth trying to care for their mentally ill child and to keep their family in tact for years.  There are other families that are dealing with children who have mental and behavioral problems and they are not trying to get rid of their children.

In honor of National Adoption Month, I would like to thank all of the wonderful parents who have chosen to give a child that was not born to them, a wonderful life.

Happy National Adoption Month!

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  • Tracy, I admire your lack of fear with issues!

    The third case seems just outright wrong. The mother didn't "bond' with the child and wants to send him back? Terrible.

    The first two cases, however, I can sort of understand. Not that giving them back to the state is the best recourse but it might coem down to who has to pay for a 24-hour facility to accommodate severe mental illness.

    I read a similar story once about a heartbroken family who adopted a sociopath child who sexually assaulted their dog, threw feces, killed animals and made terrible threats on the lives of the adoptive parents. That is far from normal behavior and if your biological child did it, you'd put them in a facility.

    Those types of extreme behavior can't be managed in the home and the issue with adoption then become who pays for this 24-hour professional care: the adoptive parents who wanted a child in their home, or the state who deceived the family of the child's needs in order to pass on the expense?

    I haven't lived through either situation myself, so I can't say with any authority, but I can definitely see a family taking recourse if a child needs to be institutionalized.

    Keep up the great blog!

  • In reply to Jenna Karvunidis:

    Jenna, I agree that some families may have to put their child in an institution. That is very different than giving them back to an agency. When parents have their child committed to an institution they are still part of the family, they just need to be cared for by professionals and the family can still visit and help care for the child.

  • So what is so surprising that these people realise they cannot love their adopted child like they would their own?
    What happens in forced adoptions where the children never wanted to be removed, lied to by the state, told their parents didn't want them, and were no good anyway, when the parents never gave up fighting for them.
    There is big money in adoptions, and the younger the child, the more their worth. They target babies, and to procure them all that is needed is for the parent to be labelled a "risk."

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    In reply to Lukes Army:

    There is big money in adoptions. And the agencies don't inform parents of all of the risks, they hide all known problems, and deny anything could possibly be anything but picture perfect if the parents just 'love' the child. Traumatized children need more than love. Unfortunately, the medical community doesn't even have the resources to meet the needs that many of these children come with...leaving the adoptive parents to be miracle workers or to cry HELP!

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