“Rehoming” Your Adopted Children: Is It Legal? Ethical?
According to an article posted on The Daily Beast, written by Tina Traster, a New York judge has recently banned a couple from “rehoming” or finding new homes for their adopted, Russian-born children. The children, they say, suffer from severe mental illness and are currently residing in a mental health facility.
The couple adopted these children through Cradle of Hope Agency and they are now suing that agency, claiming they were informed by the agency that the children, six and eight year olds when they came to their home in 2008, were “healthy and socially well-adjusted.” They also allege their children are not in fact siblings, despite having been told they were.
This is not an isolated incident. According to the Daily Beast Article, a New Jersey woman “rehomed” her two children adopted from Africa. Like the New York couple, the children were alleged to have severe rage and an inability to attach to their new family. One of the children tried to smother the biological children of this woman.
Most couples that face this situation turn to an “underground” market called “private rehoming” which places these children into new homes without oversight by any agencies, courts or psychological professionals. The New York couple has not gone this route, and has petitioned the court in New York to terminate their parental responsibilities. And, while they state there is no intention to privately rehome the children, the judge made a pre-emptive order that says if he denies the parents’ request to vacate the adoption and the parents are not relieved of their parental rights, they are prohibited from re-homing the children without court supervision.
In an article by Steve Barns of the Huffington Post, he reports a new Arkansas statute, signed by Asa Hutchinson, the Republican govenor, forbids parents from assigning custody of children they adopt to another household, except close relatives, without court approval. The crime would be a felony punishable by a prison sentence and fines.
The Donaldson Adoption Institute in New York, which tracks such legislation, said Wisconsin and Louisiana have also banned re-homing. Florida and Illinois are weighing legislation to restrict or ban the practice, it said.
What do you think? Is private “rehoming” of adopted children legal or ethical? What if the children adopted have severe issues that were not disclosed during the adoption process? Does the court have the right to stop adoptive couples from rehoming their children?
If you have similar concerns, contact BDG for legal advice with a free consult. BDG is a law firm that handles all types of family issues, both traditional and unique.