Friday, September 13, 2013

Children For Sale: Get 'Em While They're Hot

Through Yahoo and Facebook groups, parents and others advertise their unwanted children and then pass them to strangers with little or no government scrutiny, sometimes illegally, a Reuters investigation has found. It is a largely lawless marketplace. Often, the children are treated as chattel, and the needs of parents are put ahead of the welfare of the orphans they brought to America. The practice is called "private re-homing," a term typically used by owners seeking new homes for their pets. [read more here]
Imagine that. Adopting a child and for whatever reason--lack of skill, planning, or resources--choosing to give that child up. What a horrible decision to have to make. I'd like to think parents agonize, soul search, and try their hardest to make it work. I'd like to think that parents marshall their resources, get help, and keep to their commitment to raise, love, and nurture their adopted child.

Based on the Reuters article, it appears this is not always what happens.

Yesterday I was made aware of one particular organization that helps "rehome" adopted children. This organization, Wasatch International Adoptions, has a program called Second Chance Adoptions. They have a Facebook page where they have pictures and information about children who are being shopped for new parents.

I was aghast at their Facebook page. The descriptions of the children, attached to their pictures, includes what appears to be protected health information about psychiatric treatment, developmental disabilities, experiences of sexual and physical abuse, and physical conditions. (n.b. since the time this blog post was initially posted, the adoption agency removed their Facebook page and later put it back up with edited information that disclosed significantly less personal information).

In exchange for $950 a year the organization offers, among other things, to "post a picture and a profile of your child on Rainbow Kids, other disruption blogs and websites, and also on our own website."

"In order for WIA to post your child’s picture you must provide a detailed profile with information about your child and also sign a release of confidentiality allowing WIA to share this information with any family who contacts us about your child." 
I understand that a prospective adoptive family would need to have access to all of a child's protected health information. I don't dispute that. I do dispute whether information like this should be made available to anyone who looks at a Facebook page.

What right do I have to know that there is a seven year old girl who has experienced sexual trauma and beats up her baby dolls? Should I know about the six year old boy who sometimes acts out in sexualized ways? How about a 15 year old girl? Should I be reading about her residential treatment, developmental disabilities, and her diagnosis of reactive attachment disorder?

Is this disclosure of information ethical? I thought it might be helpful to sort through this ethical dilemma in a public forum. 

I'm not a social worker. I'm a licensed psychologist and health service provider in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. I'm obligated to think this through by the ethical codes, guidelines, and laws that I am responsible for following. Laws and ethics for social workers in general, and social workers in Utah specifically, might be different.

1.04 Informal Resolution of Ethical Violations (APA)

When psychologists believe that there may have been an ethical violation by another psychologist, they attempt to resolve the issue by bringing it to the attention of that individual, if an informal resolution appears appropriate and the intervention does not violate any confidentiality rights that may be involved.

When this Facebook page was brought to my attention, and I felt that the children were being exploited by having protected health information displayed on the internet, I am obliged as an ethical psychologist to speak up.  I emailed the adoption agency and expressed my concerns.

I have recently been made aware of your agency's Facebook page where images and detailed information about potential adoptive children are publicly available on the internet. 
I believe the information you are publicly sharing is information protected by federal law and ethical codes of social workers and psychologists. I would like to know how you feel this information is not considered confidential, and if you feel it is, reconsider this and take the information down. 
If I don't hear back in a way that assures me the children's personal information is safe, I will forward this letter to the state social worker board so they can make their own determination.

I received a form letter from an agency.

We appreciate your concern on this matter. We feel very passionate about helping children. The concerns brought up in the recent media were concerns of ours before these stories came out. This is why we started our Second Chance Program, to make sure that services are available to families and children to make informed decisions and take legal and ethical steps to ensure that these children are placed in prepared homes. We feel strongly that, although we are not perfect, we are part of the solution to the problems that have come to light recently. The families who work with us each use an attorney for the adoption process, ICPC paperwork is filed for every adoption (unless the families live in the same state), adopting families have to provide a current, valid homestudy, that home study and the family have to be approved by a social worker, etc. As to the concerns you have about our outreach on the internet. Outreach is essential to getting these children into environments in which they can thrive. As you likely know, families aren't necessarily waiting on a list to take on difficult situations as these are. Our outreach helps people to be touched by specific situations that they may realize they are now ready for, even if they had not previously considered it or felt they were prepared.

We have considered this topic carefully and received feedback from state entities in regards to sharing information. We have releases from the children's parents, we change the names and we try not to give information that could identify the child (eg, location). Similar outreach is done by the State of Utah for children legally free for adoption through the foster care system. (See the Adoption Exchange website )

Your concerns about the pictures are a valid one but we have had many families state that seeing the picture is what connected them specifically to that child. We have felt that releasing a picture is a vital part of helping these children find their home. We believe this is in accordance with the standard to only release information that is pertinent to the reason it is being released.

Likewise, it is very important that we share specifics about what the situation of the child is. It is important that people understand what is happening in a case so that they can make an informed decision on whether or not they want to continue to look into adopting the child. Providing more vague information creates the problem of having to share the information individually with what could be hundreds of people only to find many of them would never have pursued the situation given what they now know. This creates a resource problem for us that interferes with the goal of finding a proper placement for this child in a timely manner. Again, we feel we release the information that is necessary given the reason for the release (which is provided by the child's parents yet still only released without actual names).

We feel confident that our outreach and vetting process for the eventual placement of these children creates the unlikelihood of the issues that have arisen in the media recently. We have seen very successful placements come from these second chance adoptions.

Again, thank you for your concern and advocacy for children. Please feel free to contact us if you have any other concerns. We are certainly willing to receive feedback and discuss this issue further.
So is this ethical? The agency feels posting information about children on Facebook is an ethical task of social workers working with children who are in need of adoptive parents. I feel it is a breach of confidentiality.

4.01 Maintaining Confidentiality (APA)

Psychologists have a primary obligation and take reasonable precautions to protect confidential information obtained through or stored in any medium, recognizing that the extent and limits of confidentiality may be regulated by law or established by institutional rules or professional or scientific relationship.


I believe it is reasonable and ethical, with specific consent from parents or legal guardians, to release protected health information to individual potential adoptive parents. I do not believe it is reasonable to make that information available to anyone who comes to a Facebook page. The agency and I differer on this interpretation of what is ethical and what is not.

In that I am not satisfied with an attempt at an informal resolution of this ethical complaint, I'm obligated to continuously escalate my concerns until I am either satisfied that the situation is resolved or I have exhausted all the means I have available to rectify the ethical concern. 

That's how professional ethics work. Once I signal to the world any given situation is in violation of my understanding of the law and/or ethical code, I'm obligated to continue to work to resolve that situation. If I don't continue, I end up being in violation of the ethical code myself. 

To this end, I contacted the Department of Child and Family Services in Utah. After discussing my concerns with a case worker and her supervisor, we determined that while I cannot report my concerns as child mistreatment because I do not have a specific child to report, the information provided online is problematic and warrants investigation. I was directed to the Utah Division of Professional Licensure to make a formal complaint. It is this department that would be most appropriate to make an investigation and determine if posting protected health information on Facebook is a violation of ethics and privacy laws.

If I'm not satisfied with that investigation, or want to further escalate the investigation of potential ethical and legal violations, I can contact the Department of Health and Human Services and file a complaint about a potential HIPPA violation. 

I've carefully considered this blog post. I've met many caring people online who are trying to help children. Many of the individuals feel powerless and are looking for a way to respond effectively. Being inside the system, and being trained by the system for 20+ years, I take for granted the ease in which I can move within systems, advocate for people, and deploy different facets of the system to protect the people with which I work. I wanted to create this blog post as a reference so people have one example of the tools that are available for advocating within the system. 

I've also thought very carefully about posting links to the Facebook page which, in my opinion, unethically releases protected health information. I have mixed feelings of having people who read this blog post see the children and their stories. In the end, I've decided to make the link available.

Why?

I hope some of you are moved and take steps to protect these children and others who you encounter who are having their private medical information exposed on the internet. I hope those of you who read this take a moment to think carefully about the ramifications of talking about your own children on the internet. How would it feel to see private and personal information like this about yourself? How would your child feel? How would their friends feel?

Finally--and most importantly--at least one of the children being shopped on the Facebook page is 15. She, and others, are perfectly capable of searching for themselves on the internet. If any of these children find themselves, maybe they'll find this blog. They can see that there is at least one psychologist who values their privacy and took a stand to protect them.


___
Update, 9/13/2013

I received a phone call and two emails from an agency social worker again reiterating that they feel they are acting in the best concerns of the children their agency is attempting to place in adoptive homes. I responded:


Josh,

I got your email and your voicemail.

You've missed the point of my concern. Your own agency materials state you get a release of information to share information with prospective adoptive families about children that are looking to be adopted. That's a sensible, legal, and ethical policy. Adoptive parents certaintly need to have all the information on hand to make a decision about forming a family. I do not believe you are getting consent to put protected health information on the internet for everyone to see. Even if a parent signed such a relase, I do not think that would be a reasonable, ethical, or legal course of action. You've mentioned that you've changed the names of the children. However you post images of the children, details about their psychiatric treatment and psychiatric diagnosis, their history of phsycial and sexual trauma, as well as information about developmental disabilities and physical conditions. Despite changing their name, you are providing identifying details about these children that, coupled with their image, can make them easily identified by anyone who stumbles across them on the internet. 

I find this a gross breach of confidentiality and our responsibility to protect those which which we work. I feel it is a clear violation of the intent of my ethical code as a psychologist, and as I mentioned in my initial email, I feel it is both my responsibility to bring this to your attention and pursue the issue until such time as I am satisfied that the confidentiality of these children are protected.

In that your agency seems to show no awareness of this potential ethical conflict, have publically stated that what you are doing is okay, and continue to do so, I have no choice but to send my concern up the flag pole to a venue that can appropriately assess the situation and make a determination. I have noted that on your agency Facebook page many concerned individuals have made repeated attempts to question the ethics of providing such information. You may note a current comment that someone made (unclear if it is a staff member of your agency or a community member) suggests disclosing a psychiatric diagnosis is "not a big deal."

Some of these children are perfectly capable of googling themselves and finding their information on the internet. They all have friends or family that can do the same. You've clearly not disguised information in any form to prevent an unintentional violation of confidentiality. You've made no convincing case that the general public (anyone that connects to a public Facebook page) is legally or ethically entitled to the protected health information of the individuals that is posted on your agency Facebook page.

With consultation, I've determined that the the appropriate venue to make this investigation about ethics and potential HIPPA violations is either the Utah Licensing Board and/or the Department of Health and Human Services. I've contacted the Utah licensing board, they have taken my complaint, and will conduct their own information. Further communication about this issue should be done with the licensing board as they appear to have the responsibility and authority to investigate and decide on my complaint. I feel that in drawing attention to this matter and following my own ethical code's rules on responding to ethical concerns, I have fully discharged my responsibility in this situation.

Jason Evan Mihalko, Psy.D.
Massachusetts Licensed Psychologist and Health Service Provider

~~~
Jason Evan Mihalko, Psy.D.

e-mail:    jason@
twitter:    jaypsyd
web:       www.drjasonmihalko.com
blog:       http://irreverentpsychologist.blogspot.com
blog:       http://therapydogblog.blogspot.com
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jaypsyd 
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/magnolia.wigglesworth 
phone:     617.
fax:         617.
skype:   jaypsyd

Electronic communications are not confidential. I cannot protect your privacy when you contact me through e-mail, twitter, or my blog. Please consider this carefully when communicating with me in these forums.

___
Update, 9/14/2013

It appears that the Second Chance Adoption Facebook page was taken down. Wasatch International Adoptions has also taken the images and stories down off their website about children looking for a second chance adoption.

Update, 10/04/2013

I'm told that the Facebook page for the agency has come back on line with changes that seems to protect more of the children's privacy by removing specific references to psychiatric treatment.

Update, 10/13/2013

For additional reading on adoption related issues:

Eager to Adopt, Evangelicals Find Perils Abroad

Interactive: The decline of international adoption

International adoption: Saving orphans or child trafficking?

The Historical Roots of the Evangelical Adoption Boom

57 comments:

  1. I just read your blog & some of the links. OMG! I had no idea. How deeply disturbing this is on so many levels. I have known for many years that disrupted adoptions are a common occurrence. Early in my career as a school psychologist there were a lot of foster and adopted children who came to my attention & I began to realize that they appeared to be over-represented in my caseload. That led me to take an intensive seminar regarding adoption. That was a real eye-opener. Indeed, this population is over-represented in the mental health system throughout their lives.

    There was a period of time when there was a rash of Eastern European adoptions in my district during the early 1990's. Of course, these children also came to my attention & most of them were diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder which presents many parenting, learning & treatment challenges.

    What you've called attention to is beyond horrifying. This was all outside my awareness. How naïve of me not to realize that disrupted adoptions among foreign adoptions would be rampant. Desperate people take desperate measures & the proliferation of social media being what it is, it's no wonder that what you have written about is taking place.

    Shame on the agencies for marketing children via FB along with their highly personal information. What a sign of the times it is to see the degrading of privacy, professionalism, responsible behavior, ethics & common sense in not only in their resorting to such methods, but in their failure to see that it's wrong.

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    1. Dear Anonymous (aka, mom):

      Thanks for commenting.

      I think the folks at this adoption agency probably thing they are doing good work. My communications with the organization suggested that the social workers were either poorly educated, clueless, or operating in a way that was consistent with their values and world view. I was left with the impression that they social workers were operating within their own world view and really thought what they are doing was ethical, just, and good.

      What stood out most to me is that all the staff at Wasatch is white (and presumably Mormon, just based on location). Being white and LDS, of course, is not an issue in-and-of-itself. It becomes an issue when every child they are working with is a child from another country. They are operating an adoption agency based on white Morman values and not from the perspective of multi-ethical multi-racial children.

      I continually underestimate the differences in world-view between someone has who is concerned about the eternal salvation of souls and someone who does not have such concerns. From this very basic difference grows, I think, the differences between how the staff at this adoption agency sees their work from how I see their work. I don't fashion myself as a Christian--or Morman--Savior of multi-ethinic multi-racial children. I don't see part of my work as spreading the good news of Christianity. I think this very believe is what undergirds the work of this particular adoption agency.

      You've pointed out that many parents are not equipped to deal with the parenting, learning, and treatment challenges of children who are experiencing the sequelae of abusive or neglectful conditions prior to their adoption. That's a large part, for sure. There is another issue, that often remains invisible. Many adoption agencies like the one we're discussing here have no training, understanding, or value in multiculturalism. I've had a few too many patients who had parents who were actually encouraged not to expose their children to any information or education about their culture. Oh the pain I have seen as people retell discovering they were Black, or Asian, or...

      Anyway, I think this is a major part of the problem. White Christian Saviors ignoring the importance of culture, race, and ethnicity.

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  2. You pointed out an important aspect that wasn't apparent to me...a world view focused on saving the souls of children from other countries that impairs the ability to see a myriad of other concerns that need to be taken into account. Thanks for rendering this invisible aspect more visible to me.
    MIP...Mother of the Irreverent Psychologist

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  3. Sadly the words ethics and adoption rarely belong in the same sentence and her is another example.Being a 'second-chance' adoptee doesn't mean kids can be treated with less care or respect.Glad to see a professional taking a stand.

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  4. I am so glad you have reacted some of the information listed was not about a child they were listing but rather about a child I adopted and it was false which they were made aware of but it remained in their site listed in her siblings profile. The method by which these siblings were torn apart was really an abuse in and of itself.

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  5. If you were so concerned about these children you would do more that gripe... You would adopt!

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    1. Adoption is one way to help children in need. Another is to make sure that children aren't being exploited and having their confidentiality violated.

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    2. What makes you think they are being exploited? They are a legitimate adoption agency and very professional. All adoption agencies have photolistings, and well they should. It helps kids. Many of those children are in foster care. Since when does HIPAA pertain to adoption? What comes first, privacy or their right to a family?

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    3. Thanks for taking the time to comment, anonymous. What's interesting is how you are not reflecting on the needs of the child. What might it be like for them to have their image and personal information displayed on the internet (which is forever). What experience would a child have knowing that information about their psychiatric history has been shared with strangers? What impact might this have? What does it mean for a child to be exposed like that?

      I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.

      HIPAA protects our private and personal medical information. It reminds us that sensitive information like this is not for public information, and reminds licensed mental health professional that one of their duties is to protect the privacy of those they are working to help.

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    4. Have you considered Jason, that perhaps these families and agencies care more for the children that you could ever? I am saddened by the amount of people who sit is lofty chairs passing judgement on things they know very little of. Stop and think for a moment that these children need care that often times can't be provided in a healing way by the first adoptive family. I know of many, my own included that want these children to get the care and help they need to overcome their past hurts, but so many of the children view the first adoptive family with only anger and rage, and it isn't until they join the second family that they are able to let go and begin to heal. Mind you, it isn't an easy road, but healing is what is at the heart of anyone who chooses to seek a second adoption for a child. Rehoming is an ignorant choice of words and doesn't apply to legal state approved, judge approved, lawyer facilitated adoptions. Please spend a week living with a family in trauma, fearing for the safety of each of the people living there because of a child's rage against the people who loved them most and wanted to help them out of a terrible situation. If after doing so, you still feel so lofty in your position... judge away, but in honesty, I don't see you as helping.

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    5. Dear Anonymous,

      Thanks for stopping by and adding your comment. You do a wonderful job of pointing to the serious break down of moral imagination that many anonymous commenters on the internet, such as yourself, have. Your attempt at being condescending and demeaning toward me--a psychologist with nearly 25 years of experience--while totally avoiding considering the lived perspective of children who are abandoned by their adoptive parents, demonstrates how poorly equipped you are to engage in any sort of perspective taking.

      This post isn't about the need of parents who have failed at parenting their adoptive children: it is about the experience of children who have their personal information placed on the internet for anyone to see, ever.

      If you elect to exercise your moral imagination you may consider what it would be like for a child, an adolescent, or a grown up to live with their image and information about their psychiatric history to be placed on the internet for any stranger to read at any point. If you stopped for a moment you might consider the perspective of what it might be like for a child to forever have this vulnerable time of their life--when they are surrendered by their adoptive parents--shared openly on the internet.

      So, anonymous, have you considered the ways in which your focus on your own needs and experiences creates a situation where you are totally neglectful of what vulnerable children experience? Have you considered your own failure at having the moral imagination to consider the perspective of another?

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  6. NASW code of ethics is very similar to APA's. Posting this info online with photos even using pseudonyms for all the public to see is clearly a violation and the justification of the agency fails.

    Home study ready parents with necessary training on disruptions, special needs who have the motivation to adopt these children can learn about them with all ethical safeguards in place.

    One subsection of the code of ethics is self-determination. Another is confidentiality. In many states, a child who is twelve or older must give informed consent to publication of their protected mental and other health information to anyone. An adoptive parent wishing to disrupt the adoption can't act as a proxy.

    http://www.socialworkers.org/pubs/code/default.Asp

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  7. Thank you for putting so much effort into getting the vile, exploitative Second Chance Adoptions Facebook page taken down... I'm horrified that despite your efforts, the page is still up.

    You're absolutely right that those kids photos, private medical information, behavioral history, etc. is out for all to see, on the interwebs, FOREVER.

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    1. Have you adopted one of these children?

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    2. I'm not sure how whether one has adopted one of "these" children impacts on whether or not it is a good idea to share personal information about children on the internet for the entire world to see. Let's not deflect from the real point of this dialogue, Christa.

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    3. Because speaking out of your "butt hole" over a subject you know nothing about is absolutely ridiculous. I would suggest you go get an education and speak about something you have "hands on" knowledge about. I may not have adopted, but I have very close friends who have and their are some children who can NOT thrive in a normal (or shall I say mainstream) family environment. Behave you ever completed any extensive research on RAD (reactive attachment disorder). I believe you "think" you're doing the world a favor by "blasting" abusive and manipulative words about situations you have no real insight about. You obviously have never learned any Noel's about judgment and how you should not stick your nose where it does NOt belong. Unfortunately we live in a world where DHSCPS, etc... Is bogged down with children needing adopted for whatever reason and these people who "try" to adopt these children and love them often do not know the child's history and the problems facing them. Some RAD children can be downright psychopathic, then thier is actual physical abide, even death. Why don't you focus on birth parents who do drugs and drink alcohol their whole pregnancies, and the ones who beat, molest, rape, starve, and neglect the children that they brought into this world... At least their are agencies trying to do their best to give these disturbed children a "second chance" at least the children aren't being sent to a shelter to never know what real true love feels like!! You make me absolutely sick with your arrogant and uneducated words...

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    4. Christa,

      Again, I think you are having trouble getting out of your own way. This blog post isn't about you and it isn't about adoptive parents. It's about having the moral imagination to consider the impact sharing the personal, private, and sensitive information of vulnerable children on a Facebook group for the entire internet to consume.

      It's shameful and sad how you continue to wish to make this conversation about anything but the topic: children and their needs.

      As for my talking butt hole: I have a bachelor in psychology, a master of arts in counseling psychology, and master of science in clinical psychology, a doctorate in clinical psychology, a postdoctoral fellowship in adolescent psychotherapy, am a licensed psychologist and health care provider in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and have over 25 years of experience working with children, adolescents, adults, elders, trauma, and severe mental illness. Like the rest of me, my talking butt hole is extremely educated, informed, and experienced.

      I hope you find a way to get out of your own way, and consider perspectives and needs that are not your own.

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  8. Dear Jason,

    Thank you for your article. As other people told you, Second chance Adoptions is still on facebook and I actually found out that there are other facebook pages of these kinds...
    https://www.facebook.com/AdoptUsKids
    https://www.facebook.com/RainbowKids

    I tend to think that these organizations are all about re-homing adopted children, wichi I find very shocking....

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    1. Have you adopted one of these children?!? Would love to know what credentials you have to judge these situations?!?

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    2. Christa,

      Since you asked the question, what sorts of credentials do you have to make decisions about the impact posting private information about children has on their future? I have a bachelor in psychology, a master of arts in counseling psychology, and master of science in clinical psychology, a doctorate in clinical psychology, a completed post-doctoral fellowship in adolescent psychotherapy, and 25 years of clinical experience.

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    3. Krista I would like to know exactly what credentials you have. I am thinking you are a huge part of this company that likes to broker children. My credentials is I am an adoptee. This rehoming is VILE!! It is upsetting to no end. There is no manual or guarentee when you give birth to your own biological children so why should adoptee's be any different. Some of these children were PURCHASED from over sea's. Then just let loose to be slashed all over a rehoming pound page. The bio's are DISCUSTING!! Stating the said child does not harm animals ect. I did not know that harming animals was a side effect from being adopted. I am anxious to see Biological children posted with photo's and bio's. When you put your own child up on one of these pages Krista THEN come back and talk.

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    4. Thanks for stopping in, Debbie. I think what Krista misses is the perspective of an adoptee. It hurts my heart thinking of these children growing up and finding their images and stories on the internet.

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    5. Thanks for this blog, Jason. As an adult adoptee, I find these pages revolting. They are open to the public, so everyone can collect information on these disrupted children. Unlike you, I do not believe that these agencies have the childrens' best interest in mind; they are just greedy corporations preying on those most vulnerable. Again, thanks!

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    6. I'm not so sure they have the best interests of children in mind, either.

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  9. We recently tried to adopt a child from the Second Chance Program, It was a terrible experience that broke mine and my partners heart. I am doing everything I can to shut down the entire agency

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  10. well, i'm an adoptive parent...and seeing that page enrages me...its so unreal to think that some people could adopt a child and just give them away...i will say i'm not surprised, in this world your able to kill your own baby if its not the gender you want. This is what the world has come too. I pray for these children...they will be deeply scarred. The page is up and running and I have once again been banned from commenting..please take it down.

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    1. I am an adoptive parent also. Honestly, your attitude baffles me and endangers children. Some of the children I adopted were disrupted by their original "Christian" parents (who, like you, wouldn't have "killed their own baby" (non-viable fetus, I suppose you mean?)) I think my children would have been dead or severely damaged if their original adoptions hadn't been disrupted. Google Hana Williams, or Douglas Barbour and his wife, or any of the assorted dead Russian kids if you don't think some families shouldn't have adopted in the first place. Wasatch is finding these children homes. There isn't any identifying information to google (there is a photo, but you can't search a photo). I personally would not include photos but IMO some realistic "negative" information MUST be included as these children do need families who can help them with their sometimes severe issues, the agency (with which I am not affiliated and through which I did not adopt, by the way) cannot field hundreds of inquiries from naive families with a bunch of preschoolers about a cute seven-year-old who acts out sexually with younger siblings. I am sick of the holier-than-thou comments from people who aren't doing a thing to help these children and have no better solution. If you think doing nothing is the right answer, check out the photolistings of hundreds of foster care kids with identical issues who NEVER get adopted even though those kids have subsidies. Advocacy for these kids is necessary, and some people should "give away" the kids they have adopted before they do further harm. Some of these families should have given up a long time ago - my heart breaks for these kids when I read they were adopted six years ago or eight years ago and NOW the family is dissolving the adoption.

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    2. Hi Anonymous, Thanks for taking the time to comment. You've raised an important issue: every child should have a safe and supportive home. Do you advocate that only adoptive children who are in homes with parents unable or unprepared to raise a child be taken away? Should parents of biological children who are unprepared, unwilling, or unable to raise their children be allowed to offer up their children to better homes?

      As we consider posting pictures or information about the lives of children on the internet, we must also consider the impact on the children (you are considering only the needs of potential adoptive parents). Does the internet have a right or need to know any information about these children? How might the children be impacted in the future with their personal and private information being shared with any stranger that comes across it?

      What baffles me--and endangers children--is when adults think of their needs and fail to reflect on what children need. In this case their is an enormous impact that you are failing to consider.

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    3. Have you adopted a RAD child, perhaps a child that has stabbed you in your sleep, put a jump rope around their bio-siblings neck and tried to kill them? Killed your family dog, or even sexually assaulted a child?!? Is it fair to your family and the other siblings to live in this danger?!? You people who "judge" have obviously had none of these things happen... I could go on and on about one child!!! And child welfare does NOT warn you as second chance tries to disclose everything so you know what kind of child you are bringing into your home!! I feel sorry for you because you sit and judge and do not care about the lives effected because of these children... And, CWbpreaches there are "resources" yeah right!!! Where?!? Please do not comment unless you are or have lived the nightmare, it just really makes you sound ignorant!!

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    4. I'm sorry if you've had some of these experiences, Christa. I fear however you are missing the point. As I've mentioned elsewhere to you, there are myriad forums for parents to discuss their experiences. There are precious few forums to consider the experiences of children. This blog post isn't about you or your experience, and isn't about the experience of adoptive parents in general. This blog post is about the experiences of vulnerable children who have to endure having their personal information placed on the internet for the world to see.

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    5. so, perspective families shiuld know nothing about a child coming into their home? How else would a family find these children?

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    6. Imagine you were seeking a second opinion for a psychiatric condition you might have, Christa. Would you put your psychologist's notes on Facebook for prospective psychiatrists to read--along with whomever else might look at this open Facebook page? No. You would not. You would be horrified if anyone suggested you do such a thing. You'd screen prospective psychiatrists and release your personal information to only those psychiatrists that you wish to read your personal and private information, and you'd be assured through legal mechanisms that those psychiatrists would keep your information private and not share it with anyone else.

      Why would we expect children to be satisfied with less privacy, security, and respect for their private and personal information? Prospective adoptive parents can be screened, required to sign a non-disclosure contract, and then be given disclosures. There is no reason, at all, for this personal and private information to be distributed across the internet.

      You are thinking of yourself, and your needs Christa. You fail to have the moral imagination to consider the needs of a child.

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  11. Second Chance adoptions is no different than any other adoption site where there are photolistings. It is very professionally done, and these children are literally being adopted, not tossed into foster care. One child recently had 10 placements in Foster care prior to ending up on this page( Thank You God) and being adopted into permanent loving family. If anyone commenting here sees that as a negative, you are sick. I have been a foster parent and the system quite frankly does not do anything positive for children. Bottom line, sure it is horrible for a child to be displaced, but Second Chance gives them a fighting chance, So get off your high horses and look at the reality of the situation. Instead of working against children, work for them. Spread the word, help them get into good families. Rainbow Kids is not a rehoming agency , it is a photo listing of special needs children that raises funds so people can afford to adopt them, and they do not spend their life in an institution.
    I have nothing to do with any of these agencies, but was Foster Mother and saw first hand what "government scrutiny" does to kids. And if the person that wrote this page is truly a psychologist, he would know better. Educate yourselves before making ridiculous comments.

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    1. Hi Anonymous, Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      Up here on my high horse I notice you are reflecting on the needs of parents while neglecting the needs of children. I think both sides need to be heard, represented, validated, and supported.

      I'm deeply concerned about how the public sharing of children's personal information impacts them. I'm deeply concerned what happens when internet strangers have free access to the images of children, details of their situation, and the status of their mental health.

      These types of comments focusing on the needs of parents totally misses the experience and needs of children.

      I'd love to hear your thoughts about this.

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    2. Jason, I found your blog after Googling Second Chance Adoptions. My sister had shared a link to their page with concerns about human trafficking. I had many concerns as well and was trying to determine their location so I (another licensed professional) could file a query of unethical standards of care for children. I am familiar with adoption process and the photo listing of AdoptUsKids. AUS is compiled by state children's agencies and do protect children's information. Only after you have been vetted as a potential family that has had a home-study, then you can request more information about the child. I saw the many people on their FB page post comments about how they've been denied approval from their local DFS to adopt so they are seeking this group out. How completely terrifying!! Imperfect people adopt all the time through their local state agency. Trust me, they aren't in the business of only looking for "perfect" families. If that was the case, children would never get adopted from the foster care system. So to be turned down tells me there was a major concern about a child's welfare in that home. Thank you Jason for bringing attention to this very scary organization! I support you as well and will also file a complaint with Facebook!

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    3. I think that's a wonderful solution to a difficult problem: vetting potential families and only releasing photos and information about kids. Sadly, I'd invite you to consider this possibility: what would happen if current legal guardians of children give consent for the image and personal information of their children to to released on a Facebook group? Would that be legal and ethical? Would that be legal but not ethical?

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  12. Wow, a website that actually tries to place children in forever homes, Instead of turning them over to a State system for "overseeing". A system that places children in different homes on a consistent basis, because once a Foster family no longer wants them, they get "rehomed", but legally, because, well, its the State and there s overseeing, as well as some robotic social worker says so. As a foster parent I have seen enough of State overseeing to wonder if small group homes are better than switching a child from Foster parent to Foster parent. Most Foster parents take children for money, and nothing but money. When I has my home inspection, I was told they never have Foster parents with homes like mine willing to take children. Says something about where State overseen programs are placing kids, I received calls three times a week (minimum) in attempt to rehome a foster child to another home because the current situation did not work. Social workers tell you anything to get a Foster parent to take a child. There is a case going to court right now, in the media because of this very issue. So, if this column seeks to make a difference, please turn your irreverence to the Foster care system, and try to make that better; less you ruin a chance of a child to have a forever home,

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    1. Hi Anonymous, you've raised some important concerns about the foster care system, which is a different issue than what this post is about. I'm deeply concerned about what happens when the private and personal information about children is shared publicly. Children can have safe, secure, and supportive homes without their backgrounds being put up on the internet and shared with the world

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    2. The parents adopting deserve to know this info... That's why these issues are here because child welfare agencies hide the problems!! Second chance lays it all out!! Would you want to know if you were adopting a child who wrapped a jump rope around their bio siblings neck (who you also adopted) and laughed as the child lost air?!? Would you want to know if you were adopting a child who killed your family dog?!? Would you want to know if you were adopting a child who stabbed their mother as she slept?!? Should that information be kept "quiet"?? Seriously, move on to an issue you know something about, we need no more people "judging" these parents!! And, these adoptive parents should have live peace and happiness after all they did NOT adopt to be jmprisoned in their own homes and be miserable day in and day out!!! After you adopt a RAD child or a psychopath then you can be allowed to write your article; however it will be written very differently... I guarantee it!!

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    3. I think you are having trouble getting out of your own way, Christa. Of course potential adoptive parents have the right to know all about the child they are considering adopting. What you continue to fail to consider is that by placing information about children on a public Facebook page, the entire internet is able to see private, sensitive, and personal information about vulnerable children.

      Let's not deflect from the purpose of this post: we need to consider the impact it has on children when personal information is shared about them on the internet for the entire world to see. Families, apparently, may not be forever, but the internet is.

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  13. You people need to research RAD (reactive attachment disorder) and try walking in these parents' shoes rather than criticizing them. Yes, protect the info, but these kids are in homes that aren't a good fit from the beginning with so many unknowns that are now "known". Let the kids grow and thrive! Maybe you should adopt. You can't change the world if all you do is complain. Forgo on that new tv or car and add a child to your life and heart.

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    1. Hi Anonymous. Thanks for taking the time to write a comment. Would you advocate for parents of biological children that have disorders give their child up to homes better equipped to deal with a child with special needs? Why might it be okay for adoptive children who might have special needs to given to another home yet parents with biological children are expected to find resources, supports, and skills to help raise their children with special needs?

      I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.

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    2. Parents with bio children with these special needs can find different homes that are better equipt to deal with it... It is perfectly legal to re-home a biological child. Clearly you need to research the law!!

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    3. Legality doesn't not imply a decision is moral, just, or in the best interest of a child. You again demonstrate that you lack the moral imagination to consider perspectives other than your own.

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  14. I'd be interested in hearing how many who defend rehoming, have also focused on holding the original adoption agencies accountable for doing a very, very poor job in finding the right home for the child the first time...they do claim to be professionals at it, don't they? Shouldn't the focus be on stopping the need for rehoming in the first place, by doing the job the right was the first time - so they don't end up with the additional trauma, stress, rejection, and their privacy violated?

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    1. The state defends the original agency b/c it is usually COS, DHS or another child welfare state ran agency and if you call for "help, resources, or to re-home" they threaten you with child abandonment!! It's the same thing that is wrong with the rest of the world... "Politics"

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    2. Rehoming a child is abandonment of parental attachment. A parent says they are not able to meet their obligation to care and raise a child, and terminates their attachment with their child.

      Again Christa, you are demonstrating your lack of moral imagination. You are thinking of your perspective: you fail at every turn to consider the experiences of children who are adopted and/or rehomed. You are also failing to consider the experiences of adult adoptees.

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  15. Years ago now, I found a lawyer in CA who specialized in suing the adoption agency for a defective adoptee. Who knows what the adoptee did but the APs wanted their money back. Geez, I am an adoptee. Did I come with a warranty?

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  16. Jason, You are clueless about so many issues being discussed here meanwhile focusing on a very narrow subject that means so little in the big picture. You claim you are defending the children and not the needs of the parent and make a very false assumption that "strangers" will somehow go on some crusade to find the child and tell them how they know all their private info. Dude, for a "professional" you are far removed from the real world in which the other 310 million Americans spend their lives.
    If, as a "professional" you think that these small bits of info about a child in crisis is private medical information then you are a fool. there is only one small low resolution photo, not even a real name and a very short description of the situation. hardly enough for 99.99999999% of average Americans to do anything with. additionally both the parent AND the child(over 12) willingly give permission for the information to be released as the child is part of this process.
    While you bash these legitimate and fully legal services you continue to ignore in your responses the horrible situation in most of the state foster care systems. Many of the orphanages in Ukraine provide better quality care than most state foster care systems in the USA and that saying alot.
    It takes alot of fortitude and special people willing to take on one of these kids listed on these websites. Your solution seems to be throwing them into an even more dysfunctional state system in which the participants are only in it for a monthly check
    additionally, those calling this "re-homing" are also clueless because these are legal adoptions following all state(s) laws that are followed in any other adoption. Many agencies doing these were not involved in the original adoption so there is no culpability on their part and no legal claim can be made for a defective adoption. Im not against going after the original agency for a failed adoption if negligence can be proven. I have been part of many adoptions from Ukraine with absolutely no issues severe enough that parents would want to give up their kids. These situations represent a very small fraction of all adoptions done

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    1. Dear Anonymous,

      I worry how the internet allows people to hide behind a veil of anonymity. From behind your veil and position as an internet stranger, you seem rather comfortable disparaging and demeaning my perspective and point of view. I find that it adds little to the dialogue.

      You seem to want to talk about things that aren't part of this particular dialogue. The conditions of many orphanages in other countries are deplorable. It's also deplorable how many children from other countries are stolen from homes where they are wanted and funneled into the United States to meet the demand for babies to adopt. That's a different dialogue for a different place.

      You also seem to want to discuss the plight adoptive parents face when they adopt a child that requires a level of care they aren't not equipped to provide and are unable to find the resources they need to support them in their parenting. That's also a dialogue for a different place.

      Importantly, you are appearing to shift the dialogue to the needs of adults and the needs of adoptive parents in particular. The dialogue here is about the needs of adoptees -- the needs of children. There are plenty of venues where adoptive parents get to speak their minds and represent their opinions, needs, and experiences. There are precious few venues of the needs of children to be supported, heard, and amplified.

      Here we are discussing the impact it has on children to disclose personal information to the open internet. One particular adoption agency appeared to release, with legal guardian's consent, the name, image, and psychiatric history of children in a way that any internet stranger could read and view.

      While legal guardians have every right to consent to the release of their children's information, I believe licensed mental health professionals have an obligation to consider the long term impact of that release of information. Just because consent is signed does not mean that there is not an enormous potential for long term damage.

      I feel it is my job as a psychologist to help individuals and their guardians think through the potential impact of a release of their private information. In this case, we cannot underestimate the potential damage it would have on a child if in their future, their psychiatric information is available and searchable on the internet. There are myriad other ways to help potential parents learning about the children they might be adopting in a way that protects children from future negative impacts.

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  17. I am an adoptive parent and I think your analysis is spot-on. There are, unfortunately, situations in which adoptive parents are ill-equipped to parent the particular child they adopted. Sometimes those decisions seem to result from a lack of foresight/education/post-adoption support and sometimes they are gut-wrenching choices the family reaches after engaging all the professional help they can muster. It is clear that re-homing practices via yahoo are utterly unethical. It appears that Wasatch wants to be above-board and dot all the i's and cross all the t's from an adoption law standpoint but there is a clear difference between the level of detail provided on sites like The Adoption Exchange or AdoptUsKids (which both work with kids in the foster system and do not facilitate private adoptions) and the detail Wasatch provides (or provided). I know many adoptive parents have also reached out to Wasatch to express concern about this practice, and I'm glad you have also taken up the torch for these kids who have already been through so much. Finding capable families is a good thing; doing so no matter the cost to the child is not. (And not to forget that these kids grow up -- they will have opinions about adoption as a practice and complicated feelings about their own adoption situations. Posting information about them online to live in perpetuity is not a no-harm-no-foul situation, as you recognize but some of the other commenters perhaps overlook.)

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  18. Foster kids are also listed on sites to share their photo, profile and information to try and find prospective parents. Maybe WASATCH has changed before I went to view it, but I don't see anything different in what they profile than many sites with foster children I have viewed. All the foster kids listed online also come from 'disrupted' families too. The sad fact is, whether birth children or adoptive children, sometimes the parents cannot take proper care of them. That could be for drug reasons, or mental health reasons, crime, or a long list of reasons - but not everyone has the skills/abilities to take care of every type of child. I see so little screaming about how messed up the foster care system is and what that does to children... or few articles about the fact that it is now estimated that 1-in-3 girls are molested by family members (birth families!) - but Reuters does special investigations of disrupted adoptions, even though their % of total adoptions each year is very small - and everyone is up in arms. People need some perspetive. Reuters article was bad reporting and was missing a lot of facts. Children have the right to a good home. If their current one is bad and dysfunctional (whether adoptive or birth) then the child deserves the right to go to a new home that can provide the right support and care.

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    1. There are myriad of ways that prospective parents, who have been properly vetted, can learn about children without exposing the children's images and history to the general internet. The internet is forever, as I'm sure you know. The internet is also open to everyone, so parents who are thinking about adopting children can see, predators can see, and for the rest of a child's life, anyone who cares to investigate can find information out about a child that they may or may not wish to share.

      What I see in your comment is someone desperately trying to deflect from the conversation at hand: the complete failure to imagine the impact that publishing information about vulnerable children on the internet might have on those children today, tomorrow, and for the rest of their life.

      How shameful to fail to have the moral imagination to consider the impact this has on children.

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    2. Hi. Thanks for your reply. I disagree I am deflecting that issue - that seems a lame way to try and invalidate someone's points just because they are disagreeing with your premise. I do not see any issue in what they are publishing online. They are not publishing their psyc evals, or social evals, or medical history. There is far less about them than your average 20 year old publishes online about themselves every day. What is considered 'private' is an evolving cultural concept. Every decade for the last 100 years has brought changes in what ought to be 'private' from a cultural standpoint. What was considered 'private' 20 years ago is not so anymore with the age of the Internet. And, if I go to www.adoptuskids.org, the profiles there are no different from what I see at WASATCH. As I said, lots of children, both birth and adoptive, come from broken, disrupted homes. We should not treat that fact as something shameful they need to hide away and keep private, as if they have done anything wrong. They have not done anything wrong. They deserve a new family that will give them the support and love they deserve. If a child is in a harmful situation where their care and health will be neglected, than they have the right to go to a new home, and the Internet is the first and foremost best place to allow families ready to adopt to find children who are ready for new homes. The title of your blog makes it sounds like the children are left on a corner for free pick up by anyone. It is misleading and unfortunate you would perpetuate misinformation such as that. When I look at what the foster care system is doing to children, I see a far better method in the way WASATCH is handling this, and I do not agree there are privacy violations.

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    3. It might help if rather pulling your soapbox down around your head, you get off of it and listen to someone else and their perspective. You've made your perspective, point, and needs clear. You also continue to fail to have the moral imagination to put yourself in the shoes of an adoptee who is advertised on an open Facebook page. This post isn't about you, it's about adopted children who have been thrown away and are in a world of pain.

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  19. Great article. I am adopted ( private broker as adoptive mother was not able to adopt through legal channels due to mental illness). I hope these children find their " forever home" but I having been an unwanted adopted child I would be further hurt if I found my picture on a facebook page . And all of my history ? If RAD is an issue, this method to secure a home is not going to address the deeper issues of the current adoption. I finally found someone who could think outside the box and help me in a way I needed to be helped, for that, I am grateful. Adopting a child is not the only way to help a child and I commend you for highlighting this Jason. These children when they become adults will thank you, in that perhaps by using your experience and knowledge that these children will have the dignity they deserve, not only for today but for life . We teach by example . Posting history on Facebook of all places, is not dignified, it is not respectful. If someone is serious then they can contact agency to get further details. If they wish to have details on their own dedicated page where people have to log in so an IP can be traced if need be , then so be it. Then again, what do I know as an adopted child, unwanted child, rehomed child ?

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    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting, Anonymous. I wrote this piece, and advocated for a change, precisely because I imagined someone like you. Childhood is hard, being adopted is hard, being unwanted and adopted is hard -- there is no reason at all that someone who has to experiences these difficulties needs to grow up and discover that their story and image were on a Facebook page. We can do better. We should do better. We must do better.

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