This article can be found here.

US parents try to ‘unadopt’ son

An American couple are reportedly trying to “unadopt” their 16-year-old son, saying the state did not tell them of his disturbing history of abuse.

According to the Washington Post, Helen and James Briggs adopted the boy six years ago, after Mrs Briggs – a foster mother – fell in love with him.

But in 2003 the boy, who cannot be named, sexually abused a six-year-old boy and a two-year-old girl. Mrs Briggs said it was only then that she discovered his troubled past. The newspaper said confidential files revealed that the boy’s biological parents, who were alcohol and drug addicts, had physically abused him to the extent that his brain stem was damaged – hindering his ability to gauge the passage of time. The files also suggested that he had been sexually abused.

The boy had been in and out of five foster homes since he was 16 months old, in psychiatric institutions seven times and diagnosed as possibly psychotically bipolar. Mrs Briggs said she had not been told any of those details before she adopted him. “They just told me he was hyperactive,” she told the Washington Post. Under Virginia policy, caseworkers must provide the full facts about a child to adoptive parents. State child welfare officials have not commented on the case, due to confidentiality. But the newspaper claims some caseworkers do not believe that Mrs Briggs was uninformed.

A Fairfax County court has allowed Mrs Briggs to relinquish custody of the boy, but she is still bound to pay $427 a month in child support and cover the court costs when a judge makes a decision on his future. Mrs Briggs, 57, could have filed a “wrongful adoption” lawsuit within two years of discovering the boy’s true history, but failed to. She had wanted to bring the boy home after his sex offender treatment, following the case in 2003. But then psychologists labelled him a sexual predator, meaning she would have to give up being a foster parent, which she sees as her livelihood, and would no longer be able to allow her three grandchildren in the house or keep a young girl she had fostered from birth.

Mrs Briggs decided to dissolve the adoption, which requires the consent of the boy, who is now back in foster care. But so far he has refused. She is said to be asking politicians to help her find a way out.

“At first blush, you think ‘What, you’re trying to give up your kid?'”, Virginia politician David Albo told the Washington Post. “Then you find out this lady has received awards for all the foster work she’s done. And that she never would have adopted the boy and put other children in danger if she had had the information that was withheld from her.”


hmmmm. those kids with that bad blood. send that kid back.


6 thoughts on ““un-adoption”?

  1. Seems that this is muddied by the foster kid issue. It is hard not to look at the foster mother as an opportunist and feel that the kid is yet again abandoned. Too broken to be accepted – and kids are not like clothes – you shouldn’t be able to return them.

    One way to clear the waters a bit on this one is to imagine that this boy is her biological son and the two children that he molested are her biological children as well. Typically in this scenario the parents are forced to / or choose to send the abusive child to a rehabilition center until he is deemed to no longer be a threat to other children in the home. In most cases this equates to the parents relinguishing custody of their son to the state or another authority. They don’t “unadopt” their son, but they do (or should) sepparate him from the children in the family so that a cycle of incest doesn’t continue in their home.

    It is the parents responsibility to protect the victimized children in the home. Let us not forget the catholic church’s logic (or illogic) in this regard. They say that they saw the church – the priests – the families as equals. No one should be sacrificed at the expense of the other. They now say that this was wrong – families should have come first – children should have come first.

    The victimized children have to come first. It is a sad that the foster child has now has become a predator and is himself a victim of extreme of abuse – but other motives a side – I would not want him in my home either.

  2. It’s sad, but being in the foster care system myself, the reality is that you have to make the best decision you can based on the children you are responsible for. The placement agencies, particularly when dealing with hard to place children, may be inclined to gloss over potentially tragic family history. Not many parents are willing to take a sexual predator into their home. If the agency knew that he had a history, it should have been revealed so the child could receive the best possibe intervention care at the earliest opportunity.

    As for those who would criticize awards for fostering, walk in the foster parent’s shoes. What is wrong with recognizing someone for doing a great job sacrificing time and energy providing a stable home to children in need? The monthly stipend you get for fostering does not cover more than their basic care- the rest of it is on the parent. You are expected to treat and raise this child as your own without the rights a birth parent has. The children coming into care are wounded… emothionally, physically, or both. They are a lot of work. We do it because we love children.

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