A number of states are now cracking down on the practice whereby parents who have adopted children and then are unable to take care of them place them privately with another family.
No one knows how common this is, because there are no statistics. But it’s been known to happen, especially in cases where the child is from a difficult background in another country or has been mistreated by birth parents or at an orphanage. Such children may develop attachment issues and may act out, become violent, or have serious health or emotional problems. In desperation, parents sometimes try to find the child a different home.
The problem is that such private “re-homing” is unregulated, and the new parents are not subject to background checks or other safeguards. People who accept re-homed children may be pedophiles or may be unsuitable in other ways.
Last year, Wisconsin became the first state to specifically outlaw advertising a child for private re-homing; people who transfer custody of an adopted child without a judge’s prior permission could face nine months in jail and a $10,000 fine.
Louisiana quickly passed a similar law, and legislation is now being considered in Colorado, Florida and Ohio.
But keep in mind that in many cases, privately re-homing a child could be considered child endangerment or child abandonment – and both of these are illegal in every state.