Most of us know about adoptions that work out beautifully for the child and the parents. What happens in adoptions that don’t work out? What about international adoptions in which the adoptive parents aren’t sufficiently advised about the child’s severe trauma or medical problems or behavioral problems or psychiatric problems? What happens when the adoptive parents are overwhelmed by a child’s problems or just plain don’t want the child anymore? One solution is commonly called “adoption from disruption,” a second adoption after the disruption (ending) of the prior adoption. Though some jurisdictions maintain that adoption can technically be “disrupted” only before finalization and “dissolved” after finalization, “adoption from disruption” is still a typically used description.
While some adoptive parents file court petitions to disrupt/dissolve the adoption, many have surprisingly taken to the internet to find others willing to “adopt” from disruption. Through a relatively simple process nicely called “re-homing,” parents wishing to relinquish a child and individuals willing to adopt exchange information on one of several web sites. It appears that required adoption paperwork and processes are completed OR without any oversight by child welfare agencies, these couples supposedly transfer guardianship of the child by signing a document strongly resembling a “bill of sale.” While the guardianship transfer cannot be true legal adoptions, they are certainly effectively disruptions whereby the first adoptive parents abandon the child to the second “adoptive parents.” Estimating the actual percentage of adoptions ending in disruption/dissolution is difficult but the sheer numbers of these adoptions by disruption supposedly spiked due to problematic adoptions of children from Russia, Romania and other Eastern European countries. Reactions to “adoption from disruption” range from severe condemnation to compassion for some adoptive parents who were not informed of their adopted child’s severe conditions beforehand and are understandably overwhelmed by the child’s problems.
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