Adoption is wonderful -- especially the adoption of older kids. There are so many of them in “the system,” and every time one gets placed permanently in a loving home, it’s one more kid that has a family to call their own.
But that doesn’t mean that children should be placed haphazardly for the sake of placing them. That’s what supposedly happened to one Kentucky family that’s alleging that their two adopted sons sexually abused their daughter after social workers may have lied about the past history of the boys.
The adoptive mother, Beverly Hilger, is now suing two state social workers and a supervisor, claiming they “failed to disclose that the boys had been sexually abused and had allegedly perpetrated abuse on others.”
The family claims that the state hid the abuse records so they could find permanent homes for the boys, then the state could receive “financial incentives” from the federal government. They say that the Cabinet for Health and Family Services failed to “supervise and/or train” the social workers “to provide the background information of the to-be adopted children.”
Hilger says she asked about the boys’ past, and whether or not they had been involved in any form of sexual abuse, and that she was assured they hadn’t. “That information was never shared with us. If it's in the file and the worker has the file -- what other conclusion can you have other than it was deliberate,” she said.
Ashley Hilger, who was also adopted, is the daughter that was abused by her brothers. She has decided to go public (normally sexual abuse victims are not identified in news reports) in order to raise awareness of what the family’s attorney William McMurray calls a disturbing trend. He said, “I think they lied because it's all about moving flesh. It's all about quotas, numbers."
How awful if this is true! If the state covered up the boys’ history, then they are responsible for the harm not only to Ashley, but also to those boys. Could they have been helped to deal with their past hurts of being abused instead of becoming abusers themselves? We’ll never know.
Not to mention the fact that this is information adoptive parents need to in order to keep all of their kids safe. All parents need to know how their kids tick in order to be the best parents possible, but moms and dads that adopt older kids not only don’t have the luxury of not having been there their entire lives, but they have kids dealing with abandonment issues. They need as much information as possible to give these kids the best chance they can.
Not disclosing as complete a history as possible to adoptive parents does all parties a disservice.
Do you think the state has an obligation to disclose all relevant information to parents before they decide to adopt?
Image via Walt Stoneburner/Flickr