Stephen J. Buhler, Attorney at Law

Private home swapping of adopted children runs afoul of law

Adoption is a chance for those children who have been left behind in some way to find loving homes. As technology made the world smaller, the number of international adoptions has steadily risen as Americans seek to take in children from other countries. This can be a double-edged sword as some adoptive parents are ill equipped and unwilling to care of a less than "perfect" child.

A deeply troubling and vile practice has been growing in recent years on the internet. Adoptive parents who, for whatever reason, feel they are unable to care for the children they purposely took into their homes are giving them to individuals they find on the Internet without state or federal oversight. This means that children are being placed in homes with no background checks or vetting being done on the prospective parents. One such arrangement has resulted in over 6 children being placed in the home of a couple who has had their own children removed by the state for alleged abuse and neglect. The placements led to at least two children being sexually abused and a criminal conviction. Adoptive parents are putting their interests ahead of the best interests of the child in an attempt to get rid of them in a quick and quiet way. While these parents may feel they are ridding themselves of a problem, they are opening up the doors to arrest and criminal charges for the exchanges.

As more attention is drawn to this regrettable action by adoptive parents new laws are sure to follow. Currently the law in place mandates that when children are transferred to homes out of state the parents must notify authorities in both states so that prospective parents can be vetted.

Before adopting a child individuals should really consider if they are ready for the responsibility that comes along with a child. At the very least adoptive parents should show concern for the well-being of those children they taken into their home.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Special Report: Americans use Internet to abandon children adopted abroad," Megan Twohey, September 9, 2013

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