Stephen J. Buhler, Attorney at Law

Group seeks to help parents cope with adopted children's needs

Adoption has been an integral part of U.S. society for generations. While the methods, use and purpose of adoption have not always been in the best interest of the children or the communities they are taken from, adoption is looked upon as a positive overall. For many the adoption story stops once everything is legally done and the child is at home with their new parents. But for those working to create a new family with their adopted child and the children themselves going home for the first time is just the beginning of a new journey which, unfortunately, sometimes ends prematurely.

Whether adopting internationally or from right here in the United States, some adoptive parents come to realize they have gotten themselves into a situation they were ill-equipped to handle. Often times the situation involves a child with unforeseen mental or behavior issues that the new parents are unable to handle. Often after an adoption has been finalized there is little support for parents. Those who feel overwhelmed sometimes resort to relinquishing their parental rights or the illegal option of giving the child away to a new family who are often times strangers across state lines.

Utah is a state known for its adoption policies and agencies. And one Utah organization is striving to create a support network for adoptive families supporting a child with mental or behavior issues. The group puts on two six-week-long workshops every year, where families can come together and not only support one another but learn invaluable skills.

Once an adoption has been finalized, there are only a few legal ways a family can reverse the process. One such process is called dissolution and usually involves the parents terminating their parental rights over the child. This process requires the intervention of courts and in most cases is only completed if the court determines it is in the best interests of the child. Dissolution is not without risks for the adopting parents; they may be required to pay child support until the child reaches the age of 18.

Source: Deseret News, "Allies With Families a lifeline for families with children with mental illness, behavioral disorders," Marjorie Cortez, July 26, 2014

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