Rohnor's Angels 2012
Abuse in adoptive families is an under-investigated topic. The assumption is often made that screening of prospective adopters weeds out inappropriate candidates. Despite screening, every year dozens of abuse cases make the news, while an unknown number of cases remain unreported. In some cases the abuse is so severe, the adopted children actually die.
Inappropriate adoptive placements are not a new phenomenon. On September 28, 1854. the New York Times ran an article with the title: Murder of an Adopted Child in New-Orleans, describing the abuse and subsequent death of Christian Rohnor, a two-year-old boy, adopted by a couple from New Orleans. Christian Rohnor was locked up in the attic, starved to the point of being completely emaciated, and eventually beaten to death by his adoptive father.
We may be tempted to think the era Christian Rohnor lived and died is long gone and as a society we have become more humane towards adopted children. We may think that adoption practices have become more sophisticated and nowadays adhere to strict standards. Yet, over the years, hundreds of children have been locked up, starved and beaten to death by their adoptive parents. Some children have literally been tortured and others have been sexually abused within their adoptive family.
Severe abuse of adopted children triggered the State of Washington this year, to set up a committee to investigate the issue. This committee came back with a devastating report concluding that the state provided "inadequate oversight," education and licensing of private adoption services; adoption cases were not sufficiently tracked, particularly cases where a final adoption did not go through after a child was placed with a family; evidence was found that showed some prospective parents were "shopping" for positive pre-adoption feedback; and, documents were not filed with courts as required by state law.
The State of Washington is exceptional in taking abuse of adopted children serious enough to install an investigative committee. The state is not exceptional in the prevalence of abuse of adopted children, many states actually have a much more sordid slate.
Sadly the last year has resulted in more fatal abuse cases. In memory of Christian Rohnor, we honor the children, who met their death due to abuse in adoptive families since Adoption Awareness Month 2011.
Rohnor's Angels 2012:
Joseph Maoping Adams: died from ingesting large amounts of vinegar, December 3. 2011, Lexington, Kentucky
Benjamin Yhip: blunt force trauma to his head, April 18, 2012, Chico, California
Girl adopted by Rajesh Sengar and Bebi Sengar: September 28, 2012, Indore, Madhya Pradesh, India
May these chosen adopted angels finally rest in peace, and may the many survivors of post-adoption abuse find healing in the years to come.