6:56 PM

Heather Cannon-Winkelman
Re-homing is a term that most people have never heard of, but I know it too well. This is an underground network to readopt children when things don't work out, and this illegal process does not verify the backgrounds of the prospective adoptive parents. 

One of my scholarship students in #Liberia experienced a failed adoption and was re-homed back to a nation that is alien to him. His adoptive parents never finalized his adoption, so he was sent back with his Liberian passport and expired U.S. visa. He was returned as a minor, but there was no U.S. agency that would hold his adoptive parents accountable for his care. In fact, not one person who was involved in his adoption has been held accountable for his fate. 

Uniting Distant Stars (Heather, Making a difference
 in the life of Liberian children)
He was returned, because he had some behavioral issues which from afar seem like a reasonable justification. During the Liberian civil war, the child in question was shot in the head and the bullet remained until it was removed in U.S. His mother was also killed in the war, and his father was unable or unwilling to care for him. In reality his traumas were many and still are.

In 2012, an adoptive father reached out to me, because he wanted to send his 15-year-old daughter back to #Liberia after a failed attempt to readopt her to some Pastor in different state. His reason for the failed re-homing and sending her back to Liberia was because she had occasional violent outbursts. These were mostly likely due to the fact that she was traumatized by the war, being adopted and adapting to a new culture, and going through the process of being re-homed.

I intervened by giving the family reputable contacts for trauma therapy and stressing there could be serious legal issues for sending a now U.S. citizen back to a nation that would be foreign to them. At least I hope they finalized her citizenship, otherwise she will be deported in a year and half. So far, I have not heard anything about her being returned, because in Liberia there are no secrets. 

For what we know, there are about 12 children who have been sent back to Liberia. Yet again there is no agency that monitors these adopted children who were either re-homed in the states or returned to their nation of birth.

What I have learned from all this is that there is nothing that is an absolute good, which includes adoption. If this world truly loves children, then there is no need to cover up the bad when it occurs. Again, most adoptions fall under religion and it can be an institution of abusive power when not kept in check. We have seen this with the Catholic Priests molesting children and Native American children who were kidnapped and forced into boarding schools. Well, the same has happened to countless number children with adoption, who have been physically, sexually and emotionally abused, and even killed. 

While it is true that many adoptions do go well, we cannot ignore the growing number that don't.
I am an independent advocate for the Liberian children who did not get the better life that their first parents were told they would have. Sadly this is lonely work.

Contributed by: Heather Cannon-Winkelman


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