20/20 Exposes
“Rehoming” of Adopted Children

     On Friday, October 23, 2015, right after our last issue of the O.I. Newsletter came out, the ABC television news program 20/20 had an episode concerning the “re-homing” of adopted children. This phenomenon had previously been explored in some news programs, but this one was about a particular family in Arkansas.
     The couple featured made a great deal of how very devoutly Christian they were, and how they loved and wanted to help children. The husband, who appeared tearful at odd times throughout the interviews, had numerous videos of himself driving down the road with their two biological sons in the car as he prayed aloud. In fact, they had numerous videos of themselves praying aloud in their home, as well. The wife seemed less tearful, more angry.
     The situation, as they presented it, was that they both had jobs. She has or runs a Christian pre-school, and he was a state legislator, very vocally “pro-life, devout Christian,” in his own words. They had two young sons and decided they would like to “grow our family by adoption.”
     According to them, a woman called to say that she was losing custody of her three daughters, ages four, two, and nine months, because her house had burned down in a fire that started due to her being a meth addict. According to the couple, she asked if they would adopt her children, and asked them to meet her in a parking lot to take the children. Since the state agency, DHS, was already involved and looking for foster or adoptive families, it seems very strange that the mother could just pick out a couple and meet them in a parking lot and hand over her daughters.
     At this point, the “father” again emphasized that they are “deeply religious” and stated that he and his wife both have “degrees in child development.” This writer’s ears perked up at this, since, although one might have a degree in education, in early childhood education, or an advanced degree with a speciality in child psychology, one does not actually get an accredited degree in “child development.” They did not say where they got these degrees.
     Then they said that the children had been doing okay in a foster home where they had been placed by “an adoption specialist” with DHS. They stated the nine-month-old baby did not cry, that she had been trained not to cry, because no one would answer her cries. The four-year-old was very concerned about her younger sisters, especially the two-year-old.
     So this couple took the girls to their home and applied to adopt them. They were told by DHS that they had no training in trauma or how to deal with traumatized children, and that they would not recommend they adopt these children. They admitted that they (the couple) refused to listen, saying that their faith would be enough. Again, we saw film footage of them praying and a lot of extremely self-righteous, arrogant statements.
     So the children were in their home but not yet adopted. They had put them in separate bedrooms, with alarms on the doors in case the girls tried to get out of the rooms at night, or even go into each others’ room. Their own two biological sons (early elementary-school age) had been moved into the parents’ bedroom on sofas.
     When questioned about this, the mother said, “Well, of course, we need to protect our own children first, in case these girls should try to harm them!” Considering the age difference, this seemed quite strange; plus, why would anyone put some on sofas and others isolated in separate rooms? They stated that the four-year-old said she hated these boys and wanted to kill them. At this point the man was running for re-election and put this oldest daughter in his campaign ads, which violated a law about not publishing pictures of foster children.
     They hired a young woman as a baby sitter, and she became alarmed at the woman stating that the girls had “demons,” and that they must not be allowed out of their rooms at the same time because they would plot against them, but also stated that the girls could communicate “telepathically,” even in separate rooms, and that she would exorcize these “demons.” The sitter became very alarmed at this and reported it to her family.
     By this time, according to the woman, the girls were diagnosed with reactive attachment disorder, although they were obviously attached to each other, just not to these prospective adoptive parents. She said they had tantrums up to twelve hours each day. At some point, they literally dropped off the oldest girl at a “psychiatric hospital,” and then went through all kinds of machinations to adopt the other two girls, against the recommendations of DHS.
     The former sitter said, when she went into the house, there was loud religious music blaring at all times, that the mother prayed and tried to exorcize the “demons,” but then brought in some people from Georgia to do an exorcism. The “parents” now deny this, saying they “just prayed.” The sitter says she is not lying, although they accused her of it.
     Six months after finally adopting the two younger girls, they “re-homed” them with no legal involvement, just gave them to friends of theirs, preschool teachers, also very “Christian,” who then molested the middle girl. They had previously decided to “give them back” to DHS, but were told if they did they could be charged with abandonment and might lose their biological sons, too. The couple to whom they literally gave them, they said, had “adopted internationally,” and had great training and family values. “How was I to know he’d molest them?” the “father” said. The “father” had continued to bill himself as a “family-values legislator” and said the only reason DHS did not want them to adopt these girls was “because of our religious beliefs and our political beliefs,” between which he did not distinguish.
     He has since “retired” as a legislator, but before he did, he managed to help pass a law to make “re-homing” a felony. (Apparently, it was okay for him to do it, but no one else!) He continued to be tearful, with a very strange affect, and the wife continued to be angry and defensive, and both said they “still pray for them.” One is tempted to suggest that might be spelled “prey.”
     As for the children, the program reported that the oldest girl is now adapting and doing well, and that the two younger girls are together and also doing well in another adoptive family. It did not say why they were not all adopted together. The new parents say it took about a year for the girls to adapt, with all they’d been through. These parents also say they are “devout Christians,” but do not seem as rabid, nor did they pray on camera. The little girls were seen singing the ubiquitous song “Let it Go,” as most little girls right now seem to do.
     Throughout the program, reporter Elizabeth Vargas, a mother herself, had a difficult time listening to the couple’s responses to her questions and their self-righteous attitude. At one point, when they talked about deciding to “re-home” the children, she said, “These are vulnerable little children, not puppies to be dropped off at the pound!” To which the woman replied, “Well, you have no idea how awful this was for us.”
     Aside from the twists and turns in this particular case, it brings up questions of how frequently this “re-homing” process occurs, since in many cases, there is no legal involvement by then. If a child has been adopted from another country, that country may never know what has happened.
     Although most parents have moments when they wish for someone to give them some respite, just for a while, they do not just hand them over to casual acquaintances on a permanent basis. Many parents, whether adoptive or not, have children who need some kind of help or therapy at times, but the parents don’t just “drop them off at a psychiatric hospital,” or otherwise abandon them. Many parents are quite religious whether conservative Christian or not, and they don’t make a show of it, filming themselves praying aloud while driving. This couple appeared to be really strange in many ways. They are every birth parent’s nightmare of what might happen to the children that have been relinquished, at birth or later, for whatever reason.

Excerpted from the January 2016 edition of the Operation Identity Newsletter
© 2016 Operation Identity