Current adoption practices require a homestudy performed by a licenced social worker, before PAP's are eligible for adoption. Over the years cases have reached the news that demonstrate home studies are an insufficient safe guard. Children have been:
- beaten to death
- locked up in a an unheated pump room to die of hypothermia
- shaken to death
- killed at the hands of dubious therapists
- kept in cages
- denied food
- sexually abused for pornographic purposes
The list goes on and on.
These cases how disparate in their character, have two things in common: children suffered and their adopters home study was favorable. And responses of the adoption industy usually regret the unfortunate exceptions, but urge us to look at the bright side. Instead of accepting the responsibility for a system that is dangerous for some of the children, they hide behind the statistics of children whose adoption "goes well". But how much do we know of the cases that "go well"? Children dying and children being severely abused, eventually reach the attention of authorities, but less severe cases don't. They stay hidden among all the secrets and lies adoption is already clouded in.
A system of home studies only, is not enough to ensure the best interest of children when placement is necessary. It is impossible to weed out the bad apples that are there and it cannot predict which people will be able to handle the issues some adoptees come with. That's why I believe the act of placement and the finalization of adoption should be two separate events, with a period of at least two years in between. During that time the placement agency should stay in close contact with the adoptive family, while an independent agency should give recommendations about finalization. While most issues can more easily be tracked this way, some issues only arise later on in a child's life. That's why I believe monitoring of child placement should be extended until a child becomes an adult.