>Is There A Lemon Law For Adopted Kids?


This is a pretty intense predicament.


A talkative 9-year-old boy came to Helen Briggs on Valentine’s Day 2000. She was a foster mother with years of tough love and scores of troubled kids behind her. But she grew to love this boy. Within the year, she’d talked her husband into adopting him.

Now, six years later, Briggs and her husband, James, a maintenance worker for the city of Alexandria, are taking the highly unusual step of trying to unadopt him.

In 2003, when the boy was 12, he sexually molested a 6-year-old boy and a 2-year-old girl still in diapers. She said it was only then, as she waited outside the courtroom for his sexual battery hearing and caseworkers handed her his psychological profile, that she found out just how damaged the boy had been when he came into her life.


Briggs said she did not know he had lived in five foster homes since he was 16 months old. Nor that his alcohol- and drug-addicted biological parents had physically abused him, injuring his brain stem and impairing his ability to gauge the passage of time.

He’d been hospitalized seven times in psychiatric institutions and diagnosed as possibly psychotically bipolar. He’d thrown knives, kicked in walls, pulled out all his hair and threatened to kill himself. He’d heard voices telling him to do bad things. His confidential case file shows he most likely was sexually abused.

“I did not know any of that,” Briggs said, though Virginia policy states that caseworkers should provide “full, factual information” about a child to adoptive parents. “They just told me he was hyperactive.”

What would you do in this situation? Do you think she and her husband should stick it out, or should they be able to give the kid back to the state without moral judgment? This is some seriously deep sh*t.

Washington Post: Va. Parents Trying to Unadopt Troubled Boy

9 thoughts on “>Is There A Lemon Law For Adopted Kids?

  1. >I don't know, I might give the kid back too. I know that sounds harsh, but someone this troubled needs more help than what I'm capable of providing. A kid like this might kill you in the middle of the night as you lie in bed sleeping.


  2. >Kids aren't like Toyotas. Can't just take em' back. They adopted this devil child so now it's time for them to care for him and the problems with which he's saddled. They should get him heavy counseling, meds, whatever it is he needs. Of course, if he came at me or my wife with a knife, I'd have to take that little fuc*er out.


  3. >The level of damage done to him, and that she took in to her life on faith and fierce love and trust is heartbreaking. I feel that whatever the outcome that the state must be found liable for his legal costs/medical costs and those of his victims. Unfortunately it does not sound as if he can be part of normal society. Or this family. Heartbreaking. Thank you Lo for bringing this out for debate.


  4. >So what happens to this boy? The adoptive parents don't want him, the state treats him like a bad penny that they're just trying to pass on to someone else to deal with, what next? Children like this grow up to be society's worst. He'll end up raping or killing someone or both and go straight to prison. It's like he never even stood a chance the minute he came out of the womb.


  5. >This is sad. However, the state and the caseworker were in the wrong by not providing all of the information to the adoptive parents. I have to honestly say, I would put him up for adoption. I would not be able to handle that level of dysfunction.


  6. >It begs the question: What if your own (genetic) child turned out like this? Would you try and pawn him off then because of the difficulties involved in raising him/her? I believe that when someone adopts a child, you're taking parental ownership of that kid, for better or worse. Where does that logic end? What if a child you adopted turned out to have a genetic disease that didn't show up until teenage years, something major? Would you turn him in and ask for a refund? Adoption should be a serious, final decision, not counted as something trivial for the weak of heart.


  7. >What about the role of social services releasing this troubled child on the community (as they did not give his guardians the knowledge of his deeper problems, actions, and history of mental illness). Isn't there any culpability ala the Catholic Church sending abusive priests to new communities without telling the new parish of his actions? Aren't the children this boy abused on their hands? Such a sad sad world.


  8. >Well, from one that has walked this road in a very, very personal way. I have to say I ain't mad at her. Caseworkers are, indeed, supposed to give a full history of what they have in terms of famliy history, physical issues, psychosis, etc. and for them to deliberately hide this information puts the burden back on the State. One of my Godchildren was adopted after being in foster care with her current mom for a while. My friend was given partial history of the child and it wasn't until she reached age 12 that all hell broke loose. Through counseling Lisa shared much of her pass that had been withheld and my friend petitioned the court not to take her back but to provide some assistance in getting her the proper help she needed. The judge ruled the social workers had been negligent and downright misleading in the portrayal of the young lady and for that reason the District of Columbia needed to assume responsibility for getting her proper and immediate care. This story has a good ending but I fear this couple in Virginia are in for a long long road of trouble.I am an advocate for adoption but I warn people you have no idea what you will get and no matter how much love, attention and resources you have it won't change some things that are just genetically imprinted.


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