A family in Spokane, WA is still receiving side-eyes from their neighbors after giving up their adoptive son seven years ago.  After volunteering in Haiti, Stacey Conner wanted to add to her family by adopting two children. After years of red tape, Stacey and her husband adopted an unrelated 5-year-old boy and a 1-year-old girl from Haiti. But during the adoption process, Stacey became pregnant, so their multi-cultural family was a dream come true.

From Yahoo Shine:

“Having an instant multicultural family was magical,” Conner says, “for about two weeks.”

Her older son, whom she calls J here, “engaged every person he met — he literally crawled into the laps of strangers,” says Conner. “But if I said ‘It’s time to go’ or anything that asserted I was in control, he’d rage, bang and scream for hours.” Very quickly, Conner had a sinking feeling she tried to push away. “I was committing the worst maternal sin: I felt like I loved one child less than the others.”

Within two months, J started pinching his siblings, and Conner was not only ashamed, but also afraid. “When he hurt them, it provoked an anger in me I didn’t know I had,” she says. “I worried I’d lose it and spank him.”

Conner went on to tell how even after therapy her son’s temper didn’t improve. It wasn’t until she ended up with a bloody nose, that she figured something had to be done:

Instead, she tried an earlier suggestion from the social worker, doing “24-hour eyes-on parenting” — basically, not letting J out of her sight. This went on for two months, until one afternoon when J began throwing a ball at the ceiling. “I said no,” Conner recalls, “but he wouldn’t stop. So I took it away.” J went into a wild, screaming tantrum, unintentionally hitting Conner’s nose with the back of his head: “I was bleeding heavily, sitting on the rug, crying. My two little ones were hiding behind a chair, crying. And it hit me: This is a domestic violence situation; if their dad had done this, I would take our children somewhere safe.”

At that instant, Conner faced a hard truth: “Forget love. Right then, I didn’t even like J,” she says. “In his short little life, he’d had a ton of loss. But it was clear to me that I was pushing him away to keep the smaller children safe. I couldn’t handle the idea of them being hurt. I could see that always putting the other kids’ safety above meeting J’s needs was creating a barrier between us. It was a painful situation.”

That night, she told Matt she thought they should find a new home for J: “We cried and cried. But he trusted my judgment.”

Conner began working with an adoption agency that did “secondary placements” — relocating kids when adoptions went awry — searching for a home where J would be the only or youngest child. “He had to be the sole focus, to be attended to and soothed,” she says.

According to Conner, her neighbors didn’t take kindly to them after they realized she sent the kid packing.

 “I’d get the most horrified stares, so I’d keep walking. And I didn’t tell many out-of-town friends or extended family for months.” In Spokane, the Conners were the subject of unflattering gossip: “At one point, Matt was introduced to someone who said, ‘Oh, right — the family that dumped that kid.’ “

Situations like the Conners, unfortunately is what some adoptive parents go through. But at least they did their due diligence and didn’t leave the child on the front step of social services like one family in Ohio.


Clutchettes, do you think families should be allowed to return adopted children?

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  • Yes. If it’s okay for someone to birth a child and give it up for adoption b/c they can’t handle the responsibility when the child is a baby and has done NOTHING wrong, why can’t someone adopt someone else’s child in an attempt to help and give it up for adoption b/c they can’t handle the responsibility when the child has done something wrong?

    I recently had a bar conversation (You know, when everyone’s had too much and the secrets come about?) with a woman whose family was torn apart by an adopted child (without her going into too much detail, seems her adopted brother had issue from being abused when he was young and tried to rape her). Everyone was trying to console her by telling her that her parents did a noble thing, but she feels that the adoption destroyed her family and that she will never be the same.

    As another commenter mentioned, there have been numerous instances of kids adopted from Romania and Russia (where they were literally kept in cages as if it were a kennel) tried to murder their adoptive parents.

    I think if you are against the idea of putting adopted kids up for adoption, your opinion might change if you hear a real-life story like that. It’s easy to be idealistic and judge, but the truth is that in RARE cases (still a proponent for adoption), adoption can go horribly wrong. The process of adoption is grueling (time, money, emotional stress,etc.), so if a family gives up an adopted child, I’m sure that decision isn’t a frivolous one.

  • SayWhat

    This is an emotionally charged debate, but for me, the answer is simple…..biological parents give up their children all the time, so I don’t see why an adoptive parent should be forced to keep a child that has clear behavioral and psychological issues.

    I think some folks fantasize the role of biological parents, because I don’t get the whole ‘I bet you they wouldn’t have done that if it was their kid’ reply, the foster care system exists because biological parents DO give up their kids, they DO put them out on the streets, so it is unfair to demonize adoptive parents and act like they are doing something unheard of.

    We have a generation of kids deeply affected by their parent’s drug use, and poverty and sexual/physical/verbal/emotional abuse, I’ve come across many teachers who are afraid of their kids because they are acting worse than animals. Police officers are now routinely called into schools because teachers are catching more and more kids having sex in the closet……AND THEY ARE AS YOUNG AS 6 YEARS OLD…..It’s very easy to put your head in the sand when the issue involves a child (little packages makes thing cuter and more innocent in our minds), and to think that the adoptive parent just didn’t know how to parent/discipline, but some kids are beyond that and need serious help to keep them from hurting everyone around them, and if you try to force adoptive parents to keep them, then I promise you, you will create a bigger problem then you are trying to prevent.

  • kay

    This happened to me, essentially. The woman who adopted myself and two older siblings gave me back to the state and I spent the remainder of my teenage years in foster care. It was the best thing that happened to me because the woman who adopted us was very abusive. She would beat us up and send us to school with black eyes and bruises. I lived in hell. If she hadn’t of gave me back she would have probably killed me.

  • Jenn

    I think if a child is given back there should be established procedures to ensure that it’s done ethically and with respect to the child. I work with kids like this and it’s common place for them to be lied to, dumped off without explanation, or even drugged when they’re given back.

  • erique

    Yep, too right they should be allowed to give a kid back, I see no reason why they should have less rights than the natural parents.

    If any other family gave up a child for adoption because they couldn’t handle its behavior, this wouldn’t be an issue. What is best for the child; remaining in a family that doesn’t want it, with probably an ever increasing tendency to dislike the child – possibly eventually hostility; or give the child up to a family that can deal with it. The latter was the best choice as it seems the child concerned is thriving with its new family.