Less than satisfied with your adopted children? Swap 'em out via the underground online "private re-homing" market where parents illegally seek new homes for kids they wish they didn't have. As one re-homing pro put it: "The meaning of non-legalized is, 'Hey, can I have your baby?'"
Through Facebook and Yahoo! groups, guardians can advertise unwanted kids and then give them to strangers with ease, according to a horrifying Reuters story. Some sample solicitations:
"Born in October of 2000 – this handsome boy, 'Rick' was placed from India a year ago and is obedient and eager to please."
"I am totally ashamed to say it but we do truly hate this boy!" (re: a 11-year-old boy from Guatemala)
This isn't a small-time operation; Reuters found that children were advertised for re-homing on one Yahoo! group once a week on average. Yahoo! closed the board and some similar groups once Reuters told the company what was up, but others remain active, including a private Facebook page called "Way Stations of Love." A Facebook spokesperson said it showed that "the Internet is a reflection of society, and people are using it for all kinds of communications and to tackle all sorts of problems, including very complicated issues such as this one."
Want to talk problems? These re-homed kids have experienced unthinkable abuse:
The Reuters investigation found that some children who were adopted and later re-homed have endured severe abuse. Speaking publicly about her experience for the first time, one girl adopted from China and later sent to a second home said she was made to dig her own grave. Another re-homed child, a Russian girl, recounted how a boy in one house urinated on her after the two had sex; she was 13 at the time and was re-homed three times in six months.
The government isn't great at relocating kids; no authority tracks what happens after a child is brought to America, so no one knows how often international adoptions fail, and many states say they don't track cases in which they take custody of children from failed international adoptions, even though they are required to do so by law.
But at least they don't deliver them instantaneously, Amazon-Prime style, into the arms of abusers. The entire Reuters investigation is definitely worth a read.
Image via James Steidl/Shutterstock.