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The Heartbreaking Issue of Rehoming

May 26, 2016

When parents have decided that adoption is the right thing for them, they expect to be in it for the long haul. They dream about teaching their children how to drive or watching them graduate, but sometimes things just don’t go the way they’re planned. Adoptions, even with the most diligent of parents, can sometimes disrupt or dissolve. However, the real danger occurs when the adoptive parents try to fix this problem on their own and relinquish their children to new homes without any oversight or legal process.

This practice is known as “rehoming.” It’s heartbreaking and scary because there’s no intervention by an agency, social worker, attorney, or even the government in the unsupervised “rehoming.” Just to clarify the language here, adoption disruptions happen when an adoption fails before the adoption is finalized. Adoption dissolutions occur when the adoption fails after it has been finalized. Although both are rare, when they happen the agency, social workers, and the adoptive parents work together to do what is best for the child. This isn’t the case with rehoming.

Usually, these parents are overwhelmed. They don’t know what to do or where to turn, so they go to the Internet for help. There they find someone, usually a stranger, who says she/he is willing to take their child. You can see why the issue of rehoming concerns us. These children can and have become targets for predators and sex traffickers.
Overwhelmed parents with no idea of where to turn may look for solutions outside the system.

When parents don’t seek help from adoption competent professional, they put their children at risk. There have been horrifying instances where children have been advertised on Craigslist and exchanged in McDonald’s parking lots.

The bottom line for us is – what can we do to prevent rehoming? Pre- adoption education, agency accountability, and post- adoption support are vital to preventing cases of rehoming. As part of the adoption agency community, we must emphasize more pre- adoption education, and we must make sure adoptive parents have a clear understanding of the challenges that lie ahead.

For our adoptive families, we encourage you to keep asking questions, and keep looking for answers. Get as much education and preparation as you can. Take advantage of any classes about adoption, and read everything you can find out about your child’s special needs and past experiences.

Make sure you are working with an agency you can trust that will support and prepare you for all possibilities. At New Beginnings, we aren’t afraid of addressing the risks of adoption. We know that families can face challenges in adoption;that’s why we write this blog, why we’ve partnered with Creating a Family, and why we have our monthly Ask and Eat seminars. We’re also available after the adoption is completed to offer support, resources, and more training if necessary.

For adoptive parents,we suggest they have a strong support team. This can simply include family members who may be willing to care for the child for a few hours while the adoptive parents recharge or spend time with their other children.

At the very beginning, ask if your agency has any post-adoption support. Post-adoption support is something we believe in at New Beginnings. Our social workers take phone calls at all hours.if a family is experiencing a crisis situation. We promise to be there to help you.

If you are an adoptive parent who is parenting in a difficult situation, we urge you to contact our social workers or the social workers from the agency where you adopted. These social workers can help you find the resources available to you and your family.