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.
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

Anti-Terror Drills Highlight China’s Push Into Central Asia

China, Russia, several central Asian countries wrap up massive anti terrorism military drills in Inner Mongolia More

Erdogan’s First Step: Secure More Power in New Role in Turkey

Erdogan was sworn in as Turkey's first popularly elected president on Thursday; he picked former foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu as PM More

Pakistan Army Fails to Break Political Deadlock

PM Sharif claims he didn't ask army to defuse crisis; military rejects claim 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.
Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assaulti
X
Daniel Schearf
August 29, 2014 9:30 PM
After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.

AppleAndroid