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Old 10-10-2006, 09:00 AM   #1
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Va Woman Is Trying To Unadopt Her Troubled Son

I've never heard of a situation like this before. Should a parent be able to unadopt? This boy obviously has had a very difficult life, what will happen to him now? What standard would exist for allowing "unadoption", what would be the criteria? Isn't it just her word that she wasn't fully informed- is the disclosure about the child's background always in writing?

LORTON, Virginia (AP) -- A woman is taking the unusual step of trying to unadopt her 15-year-old son, saying she learned of his troubled past only after he molested two younger children.

"You don't want to throw somebody away," said Helen Briggs, a longtime foster mother. "But sometimes you have to."

Briggs, 57, said she did not know that the boy had lived in five foster homes since he was 16 months old, or that he had been physically abused by his alcohol- and drug-addicted biological parents and was possibly psychotically bipolar.

"I did not know any of that," Briggs said. "They just told me he was hyperactive."

Virginia policy mandates that caseworkers provide "full, factual information" about a child to adoptive parents. State child welfare advocates would not comment on the case because of confidentiality rules.

But records obtained by The Washington Post show some caseworkers do not believe Briggs' claim that she was not fully informed and think she may be trying to get out of having to pay child support.

After the youngster molested a 6-year-old boy and a 2-year-old girl in 2003, he was deemed a "sexual predator" by psychologists. That meant that if he remained in Briggs' home, she could no longer be a foster parent to others or allow her three grandchildren in her home, so she chose to try to dissolve the adoption.

A judge granted Briggs's bid to relinquish custody, and the boy is back in foster care. But in Virginia, a child older than 14 must give consent, and the teenager wants Briggs to remain his mother.

Briggs, who with her husband adopted the boy when he was 9, is still required to pay $427 per month in child support.

Briggs said the state's failure to fully disclose the boy's background is tantamount to fraud, and she has asked politicians for help finding a way out of the situation.

"At first blush, you think, `What, you're trying to give up your kid? You're a jerk,"' said state Delegate David B. Albo.

"Then you find this lady has received awards for all the foster work she's done. And that she never would have adopted the boy and put other children in danger if she had had the information that was withheld from her."
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Old 10-10-2006, 09:54 AM   #2
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Difficult situation. Destroy this kid further or endanger the other children. I don't know how I feel about this.

The easy answer is you shouldn't be able to unadopt. But there isn't an easy answer here. If she had been given the information noted above, would she have adopted anyway? There was nothing in the information that would have screamed "molester" was there? How damaged were the other children she fostered?

But sometimes the problems we take on with good intent become too hard to handle. I don't see any easy solution to this one.
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Old 10-10-2006, 03:15 PM   #3
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A very sad situation. Shows you that we still have a very inadequate foster home program here in the states.
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Old 10-10-2006, 03:21 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen
"...he was deemed a 'sexual predator' by psychologists. That meant that if he remained in Briggs' home, she could no longer be a foster parent to others or allow her three grandchildren in her home, so she chose to try to dissolve the adoption."
This policy in itself strikes me as highly problematic. Why should she be deemed a criminally unfit (grand)parent because her foster son sexually molested other children? Is this normally done with biological parents whose children molest other children?
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Old 10-10-2006, 04:53 PM   #5
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I think it is the child's physical presence in the household--not any unfit status on part of the mother.
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Old 10-10-2006, 05:31 PM   #6
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That makes sense; I guess I read that part incorrectly. But what is usually done, in a law enforcement sense, with juvenile sex offenders with (biological) siblings at home? Surely the parents aren't usually required to keep the offending child in the home while simultaneously giving up custody of their other children? (Assuming the parents themselves aren't abusive of course.)
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Old 10-10-2006, 06:35 PM   #7
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I wonder this too, yolland. I may talk to my friend who is a social worker and did her practicum with the local jouvenille court, specifically the minor sex offenders or kids at risk to become sex offenders.

I'm not sure how to react to this one. I've always been very skeptical of people who are constantly fostering children. Often, the kids still don't receive the special attention they really need and end up causing more trouble. I can't say that's the case here, but I can't imagine wanting to "unadopt" a child because s/he has a condition that means no more foster kids. Whether his condition was fully disclosed or not....it seems to be that adoption should be no different than birth - an unconditional committment to the welfare of the child. Why does the woman want to give the boy back to the state in favor of more foster kids? The whole thing seems shady...
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Old 10-10-2006, 07:06 PM   #8
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Very sad case all around.
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Old 10-10-2006, 11:05 PM   #9
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I think you shouldn't be able to 'unadopt' a person, but it is a very grey area argument, because its not like the child she has is ugly or naughty at school and she doesn't want him, he is a serious sexul predator, that is obviously mentally damaged. I think that is the scariest part of the story, a young boy is this messed up already - where is he going to go in life??
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Old 10-16-2006, 12:22 PM   #10
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I think she's probably more concerned about the fact that her own grandchildren will not be able to come to her home than more foster children. And in a situation like this, I think she's right. Unfortunately, the greater good is more important than a single person, especially when that person is a clear and present danger to others.
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Old 10-16-2006, 05:27 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Devlin
I think she's probably more concerned about the fact that her own grandchildren will not be able to come to her home than more foster children. And in a situation like this, I think she's right. Unfortunately, the greater good is more important than a single person, especially when that person is a clear and present danger to others.
But, if he IS a sexual predator, why isn't he convicted and sent to prison or to an institution like other sexual predators? Why is he still living at home at large? He's not only a danger to children entering the household, but the entire community.

IMO this entire situation should not even exist. She shouldn't have to choose. He, as her legally adopted son, should be tried and convicted of his crimes and dealt with accordingly.
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Old 10-18-2006, 08:51 AM   #12
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I don't know the American law, but to "unadopt" a kid sounds strange, even if this case is really complex.
I was wondering, me too, why the guy lives at home if they're sure he assaulted other kids...
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