All over America, there are people giving away their children on the Internet. And I'm not even talking about the twisted ones who loan out their kids to pedophiles. I'm talking about parents who've decided their kids are too much trouble and want to "rehome" their children like one might do with a pet (which I am also against, btw). Unless you hang out on these specific Internet boards (and let's hope you don't), you probably don't realize that reportedly there are parents all over this country who are handing over their "troublesome" kids to complete strangers, hoping they can do a better job of it. Or at least just wanting to be rid of said troublemaker. As one mom put it about her 12-year-old daughter, "I would have given her away to a serial killer, I was so desperate." What?!
An investigative probe by Reuters and NBC News delved deep into underground "adoptions" that are really no more than people posting on the Internet that they don't want their kids anymore and are looking for someone who does. Most of the time, but not all of the time, these kids were adopted from foreign countries. The children usually range in age from 6 to 14. Over a five-year period, Reuters found on average one child a week being "rehomed." (The actual term these people use -- I guess "abandonment" doesn't sound so nice.)
The parents usually want to rid themselves of kids who came with unexpected behavioral issues -- and the adoptive parents usually give up and don't want to deal anymore. The ads sound like people's listings for bothersome pets -- only they're talking kids. Wrote one "mother": "I am totally ashamed to say it, but we do truly hate this boy!"
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Others take a different tack and use more enticing advertising. One ad read:
Born in October of 2000 -- this handsome boy 'Rick' was placed from India a year ago and is obedient and eager to please.
Naturally, the kids then often fall into the hands of abusers, pedophiles, and molesters. All of this apparently goes on either with little government oversight or illegally. Sometimes the kids are tracked down and returned to their adoptive parents. Which doesn't sound like the best idea either.
I sympathize with parents who find themselves with children they didn't quite sign up for -- ones who can be dangerous to the rest of the household, or who eat up immense amounts of emotional and psychological energy, or finances.
But when you sign up to become a parent, you don't always get what you want. A kid isn't a toy. A kid isn't some fantasy ideal. Deciding to become a parent is a lifelong commitment -- whether you birthed that child or not. And if it doesn't turn out the way you pictured it, then seek help. Handing over a kid to a stranger on the Internet is just crazy. DON'T become a parent if you can't take on a lifelong responsibility that may not be the one you pictured.
What do you think of this?
Image via Spirit-Fire/Flickr