Adoption problems: Parent abuse and dissolving adoptions

On behalf of Furr & Cohen, P.A. posted in Family Law on Friday, August 15, 2014.

Most people who think of adoptions think of loving parents who adopt a child with whom they fall in love, and the family lives happily ever after. While that does happen in most adoptions, there are some adoptions that end up with less than perfect results. A recent court case in Fort Myers, Florida, is a reminder that some adoptions just don’t work out at all.

In Southwest Florida, there have been 1,161 public adoptions since 2004. Of those, only five have dissolved. When it comes to foster care adoptions in the state, 1 to 2 percent of adoptions are dissolved. Even though there are services available to help adoptive parents and children, they might not help in all cases.

The court case has to do with an adoptive mother and her 16-year-old adoptive daughter. The woman adopted the girl four years ago. Now, the child wants the adoption dissolved, so she is allegedly acting in a violent manner toward her adoptive mother.

The teenager is accused of abusing her adoptive mother. The mother presented photos of welts on her chest and had bite marks on her arm. The teen has a public defender and has pleaded not guilty to the charges. Sadly, prior abuse has led to her being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, reactive detachment disorder and bipolar disorder.

The alleged battery by the teenager has led to the adoptive mother asking a judge to help her stay safe at work. The woman works at Lehigh Acres High School and doesn’t want the teen to attend that school. The judge wasn’t able to grant that request.

For this adoptive mother, deception during the adoption process is allegedly part of the problem. She says that she wasn’t told of the girl’s violent background. The girl was arrested for battery of her former foster mother in 2009, and she allegedly attempted to choke a younger child.

As sad as this case is, it can serve as a learning experience for people who want to adopt through the foster care system. Scrutinizing all information presented and making sure that the adoption is a good fit are vital for any adoptive parent. Throughout the adoption process, as well as afterward if problems arise, knowing your rights can help ensure you remain protected.

Source:, “She’s given up: When adoptions don’t work out” Janine Zeitlin, Jul. 28, 2014