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Sam Dobson Writes: The Mother Who "Rehomed" Her Adopted Son

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Mother Who "Rehomed" Her Adopted Son

As an adoptions manager for a dog rescue organization, one of my biggest pet peeves (no pun intended) is the return of adopted dogs. When I first started making decisions of which dog went home with which family, I took it as a personal failure when a dog was returned. Did I mess up in my placement? I'd scour back through the application and interview process to see if I missed something. With some experience now under my belt, I've come to accept that sometimes despite all the precautions and hoops adopters have to go through they can still end up with more than they bargained for and there is nothing I can do about it. If a family swears up and down that they are ready for a puppy and they do all the right things, I am still not guaranteed that once they get home they will stick it out through potty training and bad puppy habits. Nevertheless, it still bothers me in an inexplicable way when people want to return dogs.

I had believed that the return or relinquishment of dogs comes with the territory because, lets face it, they are not humans. As my dogs are my children, I often think snidely to myself when dealing with a return "would you do this to your child?" Thinking this sort of thing is reserved for pet rescues not child adoptions, I was immediately intrigued when I stumbled across this article on Yahoo about a mother who "returned" her adopted five year old son. With  my jaw dropped, I read through the piece just to get to the horrific details of what this child had done to deserve yet another abandonment but the climax never came. It seems this woman did what many dog adopters do, she bit off more than she could chew.

Read the Yahoo article here!


As a first time parent, Stacey Conner and her husband decided to adopt not one, but two young children from Haiti (the five year old they would soon return and a one year old girl). During the lengthy adoption process, the Conners threw caution to the wind and got pregnant. Talk about a handful. Don't get me wrong, I think adoption is a beautiful thing and have even considered it for whenever I'm ready to be responsible for living creatures that aren't four-legged and furry. I just think that good intentions don't always have good outcomes and people get themselves into more than they can handle. This unfortunately does have consequences and can have negative effects on the children no matter what the outcome.

My heart aches for dogs who get abandoned. No matter what the circumstances, I just don't understand how people can do it and returning a child seems unreal. This woman's excuses are bullshit and for her to come out and "candidly" tell her story is ridiculous. You "rehomed" your kid, a five year old boy. Whether or not he seemed upset when he left with his new family, you probably did more damage than you'll ever know. What older sibling doesn't have a few incidents in which they pinch or hit their younger siblings? What young child doesn't throw tantrums? What household with children doesn't have accidents in which people get hurt? If I were to believe that the Yahoo article was the whole story, it would appear that this mother has no idea how to discipline children. I will give her the benefit of the doubt that she did try and perhaps even disciplined the boy a little (it also states that she contacted a therapist who suggested she find her son a new home), but the fault is still her own.

My whole point is that this woman got in over her head. She was irresponsible with her decision to adopt two children and then get pregnant whether she meant to or not. Had she realized how much work three children (two with probable difficulties because of their situation)  right off the bat would be, perhaps she would have adopted only one child or decide to have a biological child before adopting. It's not the boy's fault that he was adopted by a woman who could not handle a young child's antics and two babies at the same time, yet he is the one who will suffer. Maybe the change really doesn't mean much to the boy now, but a few years down the road when he looks back and realizes what his memories actually mean it may have some serious affect on him. He will wonder why his biological and first adoptive families didn't want him. What a terrible thing to put a child through.

Obviously I am not a mother to human children and many of you are probably thinking I can't have a valid opinion because I don't know how it is to raise children. You are right, I don't know what it's like to be a mother to little human beings. I am one hell of a dog mom though and I could never imagine giving up one of my furry children let alone a human child, biological or not. I know enough to know that this woman did this child an injustice when she took on more than she could handle. Just like so many dog adopters do with cute puppies, she had this beautiful image of a multicultural family that would live happily ever after. Apparently she didn't consider that raising two Haitian children could serve certain difficulties along the way, that adoptive children could possibly come with issues that would need to be addressed. Am I the only one that believes this woman has no one to blame but herself?

Apparently, the boy is doing well with his adoptive family and her other children have quickly adjusted to life without him. The Conners are now foster parents which works out great for them because now they can take in children temporarily and no longer run the risk of having to "rehome" them. The concept still seems ludicrous to me, the idea of returning a child you have promised to care for, a child who has put his trust in you to care for him. It just seems unfair to put an adoptive child through anymore unnecessary pain. I may have been more sympathetic towards the Conners "plight" had the child in question been a little demon but the behavior described in the article simply reflects that of a normal rambunctious yet slightly bratty young boy. Again, I will give them the benefit of the doubt that the situation was more dire than led on in the article, but I still put the blame on the parents. When it comes to taking responsibility for another life form, human or canine, don't bite off more than you can chew. In the end, everyone suffers.

As it should be. 

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