Today Good Morning America interviewed Melissa and Tony Wescott, who are fighting to return their adopted 11-year-old son to the state of Oklahoma because he has severe psychiatric problems. They say loving him now means "letting him go."
It's hard not to feel some sympathy for the Wescotts. They adopted the boy two years ago, but he spent the last year in a psychiatric facility after trying to burn their house down and leaving a note that said, "Sorry you have to die." He's violent, kills animals, stashed butcher's knives under his bed, and he's been diagnosed with "reactive detachment disorder, disruptive behavior disorder, major depressive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and fetal alcohol syndrome," according to ABC News.
The Wescotts say they knew what they could handle and requested a child who wasn't "violent or acting out sexually." Since the Oklahoma Department of Human Services claimed he was "well-behaved," "respectful toward authority," and had no significant behavioral problems, they say that when he returns from an inpatient psychiatric hospital in January, they should be able to dissolve the adoption and put him back foster care.
Other parents in the Wescott's adoption support group are backing their fight to make it legal in Oklahoma for adoptive parents to return their child if the he or she turns out to be violent. The state counters that it warns all parents that the children grew up in abusive homes and are likely to have emotional and behavioral problems.
While Melissa Wescott says, "It's not like we're trying to return an itchy sweater," in some ways it is. They didn't promise to take care of the boy unless things didn't work out, and if their biological 11-year-old son developed psychiatric problems, abandoning him would be considereed illegal. Obviously, the Wescotts need help caring for their son. But, with so many adoptive parents fighting to be recognized as their child's "real" parents, creating a law that makes adoption less permanent isn't the answer.