Adoption is a long, taxing, and complicated process. It often takes years for an individual or a couple to successfully adopt a child. Yet, despite the best efforts of adoption agencies and regulatory state authorities to find a suitable home, these arrangements don’t always work out. In an ideal world, the bond between an adopted child and his parents wouldn’t be any different from that between a child and his biological parents. Yet, as is often the case with biological families, there is no guarantee that the relationship between the parent(s) and child will be healthy. In this context, there has been talking of introducing a last resort measure, which introduces children to new adoptive homes should their initial adoptions not work out. This act is known as rehoming.
In the status quo, our alternatives to adoption are close to broken. Foster families are paid to take care of the children they take in. This exacerbates the idea that these orphans are a burden on society and further entrenches issues pertaining to poor self-esteem and low self-worth. Elise Dallimore and Christie Rizzo, professors at Northeastern University, quantify this using Massachusetts as an example. She said, “the public hears stories in the press of foster children who suffer abuse, neglect, and even death while in foster care,” but their response and that of the concerned authorities is lacking.
I don’t think the problem with such a move is that parents would now be incentivised to shift kids off at the first sign of trouble. This is because they have undergone great efforts to adopt in the first place and undoubtedly, would try their utmost to make the relationship work. In the most extreme of circumstances, however, it is important to realise that forcing this relationship in the absence of mutual consent and love is counterproductive for both the parents and the growth of the child. In a hypothetical scenario, if the relationship is teetering on the verge of abuse and is downright hateful, I think both parties are better of separating and embracing rehoming. This is why American law has a provision for acts like emancipation, to provide desperate children with an escape from a traumatising life. This article is just scraping at the surface of what is a sensitive and complicated matter. I would urge any reader to not stop here but to read up more about how rehoming operationalises itself and what impact it can have on a child’s life. In a world where we all have the common objective of achieving holistic growth, this issue becomes ripe for debate.