We cannot remain silent when it comes to abuse, all forms of abuse. I talked about my growing belief here that if there were reliable statistics of abuse and/or murder of adopted children compared against the statistics of abuse and/or murder of children in biological homes, you would find it not statistically all that different. Adopted children have already lost so much that adding to that loss with abuse of any kind is unconscionable. It is so far beyond the pale that is unimaginable to most.
Yet the abuse and/or murder of adopted children keeps happening, and the adoption community and industry keeps it under wraps, downplays or creates excuses and refuses to talk openly about it, much less do anything to reform and change current practices. This refusal to talk about it harms the victims further. It speaks to the “blame the victim” mentality that should have ceased to exist in today’s society. It speaks to the adoption community and industries desire to protect it’s “image”, before protecting the ones most vulnerable, the children. It reflects badly to the integrity and honesty of the adults and the professionals who are linked to adoption.
At the same time there also seems to be more and more adoption dissolutions (aka terminations) that seem to use the route of rehoming via subscription lists and websites with kids in need of a new forever home vs. surrendering the child to the state, which would allow for accurate statistics on this growing problem. Yet by using the pass-along to a new family method, again the adoption community is choosing secrecy and cover-up instead of addressing the problem head on. So much for secrecy and lies being a thing of the past in adoption.
There has to be transparency in any adoption that has to happen. There has to be a concerted effort to unite and require ethical considerations and reform in all areas of adoption. Until there is, adoption will always be viewed as many in the adoption community view adoptions from my era – a dark history in adoption. Guess what – that time has not passed, and if you are too afraid to talk about it then nothing will ever change. Change only happens when the community bands together and demands it happen.
The Ombudsman for the State of Washington filed the following report for 2011.
The report on abuse and murder of adoptees in Washington State and in one case from Washington FC. The report relating to adoption starts on page 98 and concludes on page 109…I cannot stomach writing the details. The majority were adoptions from foster care but not always adoptions from Washington State. There is also at least one domestic adoption case and and one international adoption case. In all there are 14 different cases described – the details are above horrific and some led to the death of the child. All were either adopted or in the process of being adopted with the exception of one being a guardianship.
The Ombudsman states this:
CHILD ABUSE AND NEGLECT IN ADOPTIVE AND PERMANENT PLACEMENTS:
Described below are cases in which children suffered severe abuse and or neglect in adoptive or permanent placements. OFCO learned of eleven of these children’s cases in 2011, three in 2010 and one in 2009. This section of our report does not examine whether or not action by a state child welfare agency could have prevented harm to a child. Rather the purpose is to summarize the history of each case, identify various allegations of abuse or neglect and describe areas of concern regarding the child’s placement.
Common elements related to child abuse and neglect noted in several of these cases include:
• Child locked in a room;
• Withholding food from the child;
• Disparaging remarks about the child and discrediting the child as a liar;
• Exaggerating or misstating the child’s negative behaviors;
• Forcing the child to remain outside the home; denying the child access to toilet facilities; Isolating the child from the community, such as by removing the child from public school;
• High conflict-hostile relationship between the parent/caregiver and child welfare agency workers; and
• The parent/caregiver’s financial stress.
OFCO believes that further analysis may provide answers to questions such as:
• Are incident rates of child abuse and neglect in adoptive homes commensurate with incident rates in biological parent homes?
• Is a child’s age, race or gender associated with a higher risk of child abuse or neglect in permanent placements?
• Do permanency goals and initiatives to increase adoptions have unintended consequences on child safety?
• Are existing laws and policies governing the selection and establishment of adoptive placements sufficient to safeguard the child’s safety and well being?
• Are child welfare agencies able to maintain adequate data regarding long term outcomes of children adopted from the foster care system? and
• Are there red flags that warrant heightened scrutiny in the adoption process?
I believe the links below are relevant.
There have always been adoptees who were abused – the problem is that many in the community didn’t believe the adult adoptees who said they were abused. They were accused of making things sound worse than they were or outright lying. If you were one who dismissed an adult adoptees claim of abuse, do you still believe that?