News / USA

'Re-homing' in US Exposes Foreign-Born Adopted Children to Neglect, Abuse

Inga Whatcott, adopted from Russia, holds two stuffed dolls she saved from her orphanage in Russia, outside her apartment in Battle Creek, Michigan, May 2013.
Inga Whatcott, adopted from Russia, holds two stuffed dolls she saved from her orphanage in Russia, outside her apartment in Battle Creek, Michigan, May 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Brian Padden
The Reuters news agency conducted an 18-month investigation into an American underground market targeting children adopted from foreign countries. The lead investigative reporter tracked down a number of couples who gave away their adopted children without any legal oversight and in doing so, exposed them to danger and abuse.

For the last 18 months Reuters reporter Megan Twohey has been investigating the 're-homing' of children who were adopted from foreign countries like China, Russia, Ukraine and Ethiopia, to name a few. Re-homing is an informal way of transferring custody of these children to new families. The transactions occur mostly on Internet message boards.

In the United States, a formal re-adoption process requires approval by the court system and occurs only after social workers check the background and qualifications of the parents under consideration. These underground adoptions avoid any legal oversight by simply transferring custody of a child with a notarized statement on a single piece of paper.  

No one knows how prevalent this practice is, but Reuters looked at one popular Yahoo website dedicated to re-homing, and found that in the last five years it happened an average of one child per week.

While every case is different, Twohey said there are some common themes. The couples who give away their adopted children, she said, often are overwhelmed by emotional and behavioral issues that they did not anticipate.

“One, they feel like they often didn’t get proper training before going into these adoptions. Two, they felt like they were sometimes misled," said Twohey. "They weren’t informed about emotional behavioral problems that the children brought with them to the United States.”

Many of the couples who take in re-homed children do provide them with good homes and loving families, but in some cases the children are neglected and abused.

"In the absence of oversight, there are people who can, through re-homing, obtain children who they would never be able to obtain through government-sanctioned adoption and foster care systems, people with criminal backgrounds, predators. Without any government oversight, nobody can really say exactly who's taking these kids," said Twohey.

Since the series was published, Twohey said foreign officials, members of Congress and people in the adoption community are promising to end this informal adoption process.

“Now what exactly those reforms are, and what people are going to propose, and what’s going to happen next remains to be seen. But it is clear from the response this week that there are many, many people here in the United States who are now quite concerned about the issue,” said Twohey.

The Reuters investigative series documented a number of cases of abuse, including one of an adopted 16-year-old child from Liberia. She was sent to live with a couple who, it was later learned, had severe psychiatric problems and violent tendencies. Years earlier child welfare authorities had taken away their biological children. In this case the original adopted parents eventually called authorities after they learned they were lied to and regained custody of the girl.

You May Like

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid