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Adoptive Families In Crisis: hidden child abuse

Quita, "re-homed" by her adoptive parents
Megan Twohey of Reuters Investigates has done an outstanding job researching and writing about the hideous adoption "underground" that exists due to adoptive parents who are overwhelmed, self-involved and in over their heads.

If you're a reader of this blog, you know our family has had its own struggles with our adopted children, but never, ever have we ever thought of abandoning them. I understand how hard it can be, and some of the families featured in this story have very difficult situations to deal with and felt very alone. That's a horrible place to be. But how does one justify giving a child away via an ad on a Yahoo group board?

Nicole and Calvin Eason, an Illinois couple in their 30s, saw the ad and a picture of the smiling 16-year-old. They were eager to take Quita, even though the ad warned that she had been diagnosed with severe health and behavioral problems. In emails, Nicole Eason assured Melissa Puchalla that she could handle the girl.
"People that are around me think I am awesome with kids," Eason wrote.
A few weeks later, on Oct. 4, 2008, the Puchallas drove six hours from their Wisconsin home to Westville, Illinois. The handoff took place at the Country Aire Mobile Home Park, where the Easons lived in a trailer.
No attorneys or child welfare officials came with them. The Puchallas simply signed a notarized statement declaring these virtual strangers to be Quita's guardians. The visit lasted just a few hours. It was the first and the last time the couples would meet.

You know how you see "re-homing" ads for dogs and cats on Craigslist? This is the same thing....only for kids. Kids that are already troubled, mentally ill, physically ill, emotionally disturbed. They get "re-homed."


In August 2008, almost a year before taking the Mealey boy, the Easons found a new child online to join their household. Anna Barnes was 13. She had already been re-homed once since she was adopted in Russia and brought to the United States at age 7.

Her second set of American parents, the Barneses of Tolar, Texas, had come to regret adopting Anna. They had talked with her original adoptive parents before taking custody. But the Barneses quickly suspected that they hadn't been told enough about the emotional and behavioral problems Anna brought to America.
"This is a bad analogy, but it's sort of like selling a used car," Gary Barnes says of why he and his wife weren't told more. "If you tell someone it breaks down every day, nobody's going to buy it."

I cannot tell you how horrified I am at this. Children are not prizes to be awarded to good people. Nor are they cars to be returned if defective. Children are always and only gifts from God - lifetime commitments on the part of the parents. If your child is "defective," however you wish to define that, you don't get to put them in a crate and ship them off to parts unknown. You fight for that child with every cell of your being. You make sure that you move Heaven, Earth, Hell and everything in between to get that child the help he or she needs. Bands of devils cannot stand in your way. No one, but no one, will stop you from getting your child the appropriate care.


I'm very angry, and I'm very sad. I treasure my children, even though we are an imperfect, slightly crazy, wacky, mixed-up family. We love hard. Sometimes it hurts. But we love hard. Because that's what we're supposed to do.

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Crossing Guard

I saw you
today
as you guided
your little man across that busy street.

You were wearing some
big man boots
and
watching cars and lights.

Your little man had on
black sneakers and
a Mickey Mouse hat
that bounced
as he walked.

He wasn't watching nothing but
your big man boots
and
the white stripes of the crosswalk.

Just before
he got to the sidewalk again,
his step bounced a bit
- he hopped over
a spot where the asphalt broke.

You turned to look,
holding out a hand to
your little man.
Not rushed or angry,
just making sure
he got up
on that sidewalk.

Then you walked on,
in your big man boots,
face into a cold Michigan wind,
with the little man behind,
his hat bouncing.