Re-homing Disturbing to All Adoption Stakeholders

re-homing adoption Recent news coverage portraying the practice now termed “re-homing” is disturbing to all adoption stakeholders. Re-homing has been described as the practice where struggling adoptive parents seek to place their adopted child with people met through the internet or through social media outlets. The extreme anguish experienced by these families is real and deserves acknowledgement. However, it is clear that placing a child in a second family that has not undergone background checks and a rigorous home study process is extremely dangerous for the child and also for the adoptive family.

The media coverage has described adoptive families in extreme crisis who become desperate for relief and transfer their adoptive children without benefit of proper legal AND social intervention. As was reported, there have been cases where this practice resulted in severe abuse and neglect of children. Struggling adoptive parents may feel desperate and confused. But, they must not make an irrevocable choice without seeking professional support and without fully considering the consequences of their choices. A family in crisis that has made the decision to no longer parent their adoptive child is still responsible for keeping their child safe. This includes going through the proper channels to place the child with a second adoptive family that can better meet the needs of the child.

Hague Accredited or Approved adoption agencies are equipped to provide assistance to families in crisis. All Hague Accredited and Approved Adoption Service Providers are required to have policies and procedures in place to assist families facing the possibility of dissolving or disrupting their adoption. A Hague agency should be equipped with qualified staff and resources to guide families in crisis through the transition. Adoption agencies often have client families that may already have their background checks and approved home studies which can facilitate a much faster transfer of the child to the new family and completion of the second adoption.

The recent news coverage described a true but rare outcome that can occur in international adoption. But, it left out important information on the steps that can be taken both before and after the child is placed in the home to avoid the unnecessary practice of re-homing. Education, preparation and counseling are options often available to families before and after placement provided by adoption agencies.

  1. Prospective adoptive parents receive adoption specific parenting education. MLJ Adoptions provides at least ten hours of education, as is required by Hague, to all of its client families. We also offer additional course opportunities that can be customized depending upon the individual circumstances of the prospective adoptive families. This allows families to be as prepared as possible to meet the needs of the child that they bring home.
  2. Families must have realistic expectations throughout their adoption journey that the child coming home could be challenging to parent. The Home Study process is designed to ensure that families realistically assess the characteristics of the child that they are equipped to parent and to prepare for any foreseeable difficulties in advance, by identifying a family’s support system, potential counselors and other resources available to them.
  3. Post-adoption support and counseling are critical when a family is struggling. A variety of resources must be made available to the family after placement so that the child and family can continue to thrive over the long term. MLJ Adoptions offers counseling and support groups for parents after their adoptions are complete.
  4. Parents can and should reach out to their adoption agency when they are experiencing difficulties and before a crisis situation arises, if possible. However, in the event that a dissolution or disruption becomes necessary, parents can and should contact their agency for assistance with the transition of the child or children to a second adoptive family.

The tragedy of re-homing a child with an unsafe family due to a lack of social or legal intervention is avoidable. With the proper support of social and legal professionals, the extreme circumstances described in recent news events can be averted. We hope that families in crisis will reach out to those organizations that can support and assist them. Families in crisis do not need to feel alone.

Photo Credit: Amanda Tipton

For more information about MLJ Adoptions’ international adoption programs, please click here.

MLJ Adoptions is a Non-Profit, Hague-Accredited adoption service provider located in Indianapolis, Indiana, working in Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Pacific Isles. We are passionate about serving children in need.