Can Parents Re-Home an Adopted Child?

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on July 16, 2015 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Raising kids is hard. Anybody who becomes a parent thinking that it will be easy, probably shouldn't be allowed to be a parent in the first place.

Raising an adopted child can be especially challenging. Often, these children have been abused and traumatized before they are adopted. Many have psychological issues that require extra resources and care. However, many adopted parents excitedly bring home a child from Africa or Asia thinking that they'll just live happily ever after. /p>

When things get rough, and the children act up, some parents are quick to dump the adopted kids on another family through a process called re-homing. Is re-homing legal?

In most states, re-homing is legal and easy. Adoptive parents can easily rid themselves of a burden by simply signing a power of attorney. With a quick signature, the adopted children are put into the custody of random people who have not gone through a background check or home study. This is why re-homing can be a recipe for disaster.

The Case of Arkansas State Representative Justin Harris

The dangers of re-homing are epitomized in the case of Arkansas State Representative Justin Harris and his wife.

In March 2013, the Harrises adopted two young girls, ages 5 and 3, through the Arkansas Department of Human Services. Only six months after the adoption, the Harrises sent the girls to live with Eric Francis, a "trusted friend," and his wife. This "trusted friend" worked for the Harrises for only three months, from November 2013 to January 2014, when he was fired for poor attendance. This "trusted friend" ended up raping one of the girls. He was convicted and sentenced to 40 years in prison.

Re-Homing Is Banned in Several States

In response to this horrific story, Arkansas recently passed a law that forbids parents from re-homing their children with another household, except for close relatives, without court approval. Violation of the law is a felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of $5,000.

Currently, Colorado, Florida, Wisconsin, and Louisiana also have similar laws banning re-homing. Ohio is also considering legislation that would require court approval before parents can re-home their adopted children.

If you've adopted a child and cannot handle the responsibility, consult with an experienced family law attorney before you take a drastic step such as re-homing.

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