Adoptive Parents Want To Give Back Son

Esther - posted on 12/23/2009 ( 33 moms have responded )

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http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Parenting/tony...



Melissa and Tony Wescott are afraid of their son. They're so afraid of the boy they adopted that they're trying to have Oklahoma law changed so that they can return him to the state's care.



A family claims its adopted son is too much for them to handle."He tried to burn our home down. The note said, 'I'm sorry you had to die,'" Melissa Wescott told "Good Morning America."



She said she and her husband have found butcher knives under his mattress and lighters hidden in his bedroom.



The Wescotts' 11-year-old son has been locked up in a psychiatric hospital in Tulsa, Okla., for nearly a year. But now doctors say he's not a danger to himself or anyone else, and the boy is scheduled to be released from the hospital next month. [for more click on the link above]



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I heard about this story on the radio last night and I'm not sure what to think of this situation. The only thing I know for 100% sure is that I feel incredible sadness for this little boy. His biological parents were both on drugs and his mother used during her entire pregnancy. The effects of that abuse, as well as the lack of nurturing after his birth (being moved from foster home to foster home etc.), are apparent. I can imagine that these adoptive parents feel like they are in WAY over their heads. I have a brother who is adopted who has psychological problems. He was adopted right at birth by my parents and was loved and nurtured just as I was right from the beginning but he still has many many many issues, some of which are not unlike the problems this boy seems to have (like the butcher knives for example). My brother is now 32 and my parents still have to deal with very serious problems regarding him on a daily basis and they will for the rest of their lives. Not once, through all the heart ache that they have had though, have they considered giving him back. That thought never even almost entered their minds. He is as much their child as I am. There is no difference. They will never, under any circumstances, turn their back on him. So I don't agree with the adoptive parents taking this position. I also cannot imagine the agony this would cause for this little boy to be rejected, once again, like that. However, is forcing parents who clearly don't want him in their home anymore, to keep this child the answer? I don't know. What do you all think?

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Mary - posted on 12/23/2009

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There is no good solution to this scenario. Yes, I feel incredibly sad for this boy whose horrible life circumstances created the soiciopath he seems to be. It is not his fault, he is a product of his environment, and a heartbreaking lack of nurturing.

Are the adoptive people horrible parents for wanting to "return" him? I don't really know. I don't feel like I have a right to judge them. I cannot imagine how difficult it must have been for them to live through this, as well as how agonizing a decision it must have been for them to make. What I do know is this...they have publicly declared that they do not feel themselves able to continue to care for him. We could argue the morality of that choice from now until forever, it will not change what is in their hearts. Unless they are fully committed to all that caring for him requires, it can never work. Forcing them to do so would just be a disaster for all involved.

Teri - posted on 04/03/2013

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Wait one minute guys, how many of you have adopted a child with fetal drug or alcohol syndrome? Well I did. I adopted my nephew at the age of 23 months. His bio mother used for the first trimester and then was put in jail. When I got him he was a mess and I went into it thinking he really just need love and attention, took him to more docs than I can count and finally at the age of 8 was told he has fetal drug syndrome and there is no fixing it, this is a brain disorder no different that any other type of brain damage. He is in therapy and this may help and it may not we just have to wait and see. But remember he is only 8 and already very violent. I have two other children and wonder in time what will become of my family. I can not say what will or will not happen, but I have to look out for the safety of everyone (self inclued). So before you all get on your high horses try walking in there shoes it is very scary. These kids are not ADHD or something so simple, these kids can be very violent.

George - posted on 11/01/2012

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Then knucklehead who disagrees and thinks this mother should just suck it up and walk it off

, you go adopt a child with alcohol exposure. Make sure you verify it first. Then, call all of us when he's about 10. Good Luck Full of Self

[deleted account]

When you adopt you take a risk. You don't know the child's genetic make-up for illness, mental or otherwise. That is something to think about before making the decision to adopt. My aunt and uncle adopted two children. The oldest has schizophrenia is on and off drugs and in and out of prison. He is still their son and they love him (like the OP says of her oldest brother). The youngest is very well adjusted and has a family of her own now. It's kind of luck of the draw (sorry if that sounds insenstive, didn't know how else to word it).



I don't know the whole situation but from what I read in the OP, the family took on the responsiblity of raising this child. The family should take him back and do the same as if he were their biological son.



Some of the other posters on here are saying the state didn't fully disclose his records to the adoptive parents. If that is the case, then the state should take the child back. I don't think it's right of the parents to do so, but the state should take him back.



Of course, I'm quick to judge but I've never been in the situation. I might respond differently if it were me in their shoes.

Christy - posted on 01/04/2010

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i think in this case the system should have to take the child back because the adoptive parents were clearly lied to. i don't think it's right that he was documented to appear normal, it was very misleading and when the violence is at the level these people are experiencing there should be a way for them to get out.

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George - posted on 11/01/2012

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BLBLLBLBLBLBL This family took care of him, that's apparent. They just do not want to die. Are you crazy? What family would want this. This is a mental home issue for the states to address. They need to take care of him and offer the family visitation if they want, because they love him I'm sure, just don't want to die while they sleep. That's what I read.

Lisa - posted on 02/16/2010

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I think they would give you the option, you can place a child up for adoption and sign off parental rights at any age. Not that I'm saying it's right but I do think that it would be possible to go to the CAS and say I don't want this child, In fact I know a mother who did. Better to give them up than to be like the mother that drown her children in the bathtub because her new man didn't want them. Not that I would ever do it maybe giving up a child is right for someone in a different situation and I agree that if these people don 't want him back then he should not go back, for his own interests he would be much better off somewhere he is wanted.

Jaime - posted on 01/10/2010

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And you're absolutely right Michelle, we can't know for sure what we would really do in this situation until we are knee-deep into it. I can certainly appreciate your point-of-view because it just seems so unfair for the parents to assume that this 11-year-old boy is beyond help--despite his ongoing treatment and the go-ahead from the medical professionals that he can be rehabilitated with help, encouragement and time. And, if the parents won't provide that for him then what will become of him?

Michelle - posted on 01/09/2010

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I know, it's a sticky, crappy situation. It's tough too, because like I said in my first post, who knows what we'd REALLY do. Still though, I get where you're coming from, and my fiance and I were talking about it, and he's with you... I just... I can't help but feel like it would be so wrong to turn their back on a little boy who has real, legitimate mental problems that, long-term, could be very debilitating. I also agree with the newscaster in the video-- if this case did result in a change of the laws, I think it would be wrong. I agree that this is a horrible thing to happen to these people, and maybe they should have some sort of way out, but if it became a permanent law change I foresee many abuses of that. Also, in regards to your first post on the thread, I do agree that if they were to figure out a way to give the child back, they, if not the state, should reconsider their abilities to parent. I will definitely be keeping an eye out to see how this ends.

Jaime - posted on 01/09/2010

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Michelle it's just not that simple...if the parents take the boy back into their home and they can't bring themselves to love and care for him the way that he needs, then he's no better off. As I stated, each option has a strong downside...namely that the boy's therapy could regress and the feeling of rejection could prove dangerous to the livelihood of the boy or others. The parents know that they have an opportunity to continue his treatment, but all the encouragement in the world can't FORCE them to emotionally commit to this boy if they can't get passed their fear! You can comment until you're blue in the face about "that is the responsibility they took on when they signed the adoption papers" but how is that going to change how they FEEL? And that is really what it comes down to. I think it would be far worse for them to take the boy back due to a sense of adoptive-obligation, rather than admit their emotional limits and give him the best possible chance in this crap situation...it's not fair to the boy, but it's reality.

Michelle - posted on 01/09/2010

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Jamie, I respectfully disagree, and here's why. These people are obviously good people-- I'm not discounting that. However, they took on parenting responsibilities. That means legal, moral, and physical and mental health responsibilities. If this child goes back into state care immediately after receiving the care in the institution, that would be taking a huge risk that his therapy would regress and therefore placing the children he would be around in immediate danger. The parents of this boy have the opportunity to continue his treatment as an out-patient and obviously should be encouraged to do so. If they lose a few nights of sleep and they have to put money into keeping him in therapy, that is the responsibility they took on when they signed the adoption papers.

Jaime - posted on 01/08/2010

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I don't necessarily believe that weakness is at the root of the parents' possible decision to give their adopted son back to the state. Yes, they took on the responsibility to parent this young boy and likely weighed all of the pros and cons of adoption and the possible problems that can arise. I doubt that any person or couple enters into such an important comittment without seriously understanding what it will mean for their future and their pre-adoption lifestyle. If he was their biological child, I don't know that it would make a difference when it comes to violent, sociopathic behaviour that is most definitely life-threatening. I'm sure we all want to believe that this couple will consider taking the child in and trying to build a relationship with him, but the bottom line is that they deserve to feel safe from harm...and in their own home. If even for ONE second, these parents feel that the child is a danger to their lives, then it is better that they give the child back to the state, rather than wait and see. It sucks all around and each option has a strong downside---but regardless of it all, it is a choice to be made by them and I just can't imagine that it will be an easy one.

Michelle - posted on 01/07/2010

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I think that the parents should first take their son (emphasis here) when he comes home, sit him down and say we still love you, always will, but these previous behaviors absolutely will not be accepted. Then see how it goes. If they don't sleep a few nights, well that's just too bad. They took on parenting responsibilities. If this were their biological son, I wonder if they would be thinking the same way. If my son, my biological son, had violent mental illnesses that would not be cause for me to abandon him. I know this case is very extreme, but I think there are more things these people can do. They don't even know yet if their son is better!! While they were told that the child was not violent, ANYONE knows that there is a huge risk in adopting, especially an older child. They were also informed that mental problems can lay dormant and arise in later years.

However, if they were lied to in any way, that's different.... But I still think that if they really loved this child they would not want him to be rejected yet again by yet another family, especially one who promised to love him forever.

Bottom line-- he is their child. Like Sara said, none of us really know how we would react in this kind of situation, but I'd like to think I could be a strong enough person to handle something like this. Adopting is hard, but imagine what that child has had to go through to get to where he is now? I think that's harder.

Konda - posted on 12/28/2009

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This is a tough one for me....I am an adopted child that did/does suffer from some severe mental illness. Now I was adopted in 1970 and at birth, but I am almost sure that the mental illness is genetic.....my brother who was also adopted and my sister who they gave birth to were both normal(as normal as kids are, LOL).

I also have wanted to adopt a child, but the only way I could afford to do so is through social services and THIS story is one of the reasons I have not. Most of the kids adopted though SS are from drug addicted parents, or abused, and as much as they do need a home, I cant see bringing a child into my home with my kids that I already have and having to worry about then killing them or even just hurting them..

I guess I don't really know, because I see both sides, these poor kids need love and a loving home, but do you put your life or your other kids lives in danger? And not everyone can handle mental illness. That is why many states have the drop off program, where you can drop off a small child at a hospital and leave them.......that is a whole other debate.

Jaime - posted on 12/26/2009

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I would much rather they give the child back, then take matters into their own hands and someone end up dead or seriously injured. As much as we want to believe that the parents should stay-the-course because they signed on, etc, etc...it's just not that simple. If any parent at any time (whether biological or adoptive) feels that they can no longer provide the care and support that their child needs, then it is everyone's best interest for them to consider placing the child with someone that can and will provide the proper care. Along with that, I think that the adoptive parents should seriously consider their parenting capabilities for the future, and whether or not they are truly able to commit wholeheartedly to the task of child-rearing.

Ez - posted on 12/26/2009

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This situation is horrible and frightening for both the adoptive parents and the boy, but I honestly can't blame them for feeling overwhelmed and like they can't go on. I agree with Cathy in that the system has let them all down. Allowing an 8 year old to be adopted without a thorough mental health assessment (which would have no doubt diagnosed the boy's problems) is absurd. Yes, the parents would probably have expected a tough adjustment period. But there is a big difference between a child disobeying, talking back, maybe being a bit withdrawn and stashing knives and setting the house on fire!! I don't think the parents can be blamed for failing to predict problems on that scale.

Esther - posted on 12/24/2009

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So do you think adoptive parents should be held to a different standard than biological parents? Because under the law they are equal. And I'm sure when things are going well, they would want to be considered as equal too. But if god forbid things ever start going south with Lucas, the state certainly wouldn't give me the option to just turn him over to them.

Esther - posted on 12/24/2009

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Quoting Cathy:

It's very different when you raise a child from birth either biological or adopted than take a child who has already gone through the largest part of childhood without that bonding experience.



I agree. But they knew that going in. Nobody forced them to adopt an 8-year-old. I understand that these parents feel like they've bitten off more than they can chew. But this boy has been in a psychiatric facility for the last year and the professionals there consider him ready to go home. I'm sure getting him to that point took a lot of work, both from the professionals but also from the little boy. To then undermine him like this by saying "we don't want you back", after his biological parents rejected him before, it just breaks my heart. I agree with previous posters who said there are no good solutions in this situation since forcing the adoptive parents to take him back when they have rejected him in their hearts won't help this boy either. I just wish the parents had a change of heart. This boy has been victimized enough. He needs help and a chance.

Sara - posted on 12/24/2009

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What if this kid was not adopted, what if he was their biological son? What could they do then?

Dana - posted on 12/23/2009

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Quoting Mary:

There is no good solution to this scenario. Yes, I feel incredibly sad for this boy whose horrible life circumstances created the soiciopath he seems to be. It is not his fault, he is a product of his environment, and a heartbreaking lack of nurturing.

Are the adoptive people horrible parents for wanting to "return" him? I don't really know. I don't feel like I have a right to judge them. I cannot imagine how difficult it must have been for them to live through this, as well as how agonizing a decision it must have been for them to make. What I do know is this...they have publicly declared that they do not feel themselves able to continue to care for him. We could argue the morality of that choice from now until forever, it will not change what is in their hearts. Unless they are fully committed to all that caring for him requires, it can never work. Forcing them to do so would just be a disaster for all involved.



Perfectly put and exactly how I feel.

Cassandra - posted on 12/23/2009

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i think those parents should be able to give the kid back.. their hearts are not into parenting this child so they will never strive for and go the extra mile for this boy. they already have said they wanted to give him back. it would be a disservice to everyone involved to try to make it work.. the hearts of the parents really arent into it

La - posted on 12/23/2009

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I didn't mean to sound like his parents should just drop him...but I do feel that a child who is arguably a sociopath in the making needs more help than he can get from his adoptive or biological parents alone. If he is threatening to kill them, I don't blame them for not wanting to be around him in fear for their safety.

Esther - posted on 12/23/2009

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Quoting Sara:

This is a tough one. I understand that the adoptive parents are probably scared of him and fear for their safety. But, if his psychiatric problems are being managed and the doctors feel he is not a danger to himself or others, I don't know why that don't want to at least try to take him back, that seems really cold. I mean, there are measures you can take to make sure everyone is safe (alarms, locks, etc). I would think any progress this boy has made would be totally destroyed by his parents reaction, but then again, if he has some kind of attachment disorder then it may make no difference to him. There are so many factors and things that are not known to us, it's hard to say what is right in this situation. If I were in this situation, I would like to think I wouldn't give up on my child. I know that I will never, ever turn my back on my daughter, even if she turns out to be an axe killer, i'll still love her.



I'm with you Sara, I think it's very hard to know what's right. However, I think if I were the adoptive parent I would feel that I owe it to this kid to at least give him a chance. The thing is, once you adopt a child, it's yours. Just as if he were born from your womb. So if you allow these people to give their son back to the state, then why wouldn't biological parents be able to give their kids to the state when they feel they can't handle them anymore. If you adopt a child that is already older (as this boy was) you have to expect at least some problems. Surely nothing of the serial axe killer kind, but the odds are that it won't all be smooth sailing. I do think DHS dropped the ball in their evaluation of him as well adjusted etc. before these parents adopted him. I think maybe I would sue them for support so that we could make sure that this boy receives all the psychiatric help he needs without bankrupting his adoptive parents. I still don't think that just washing your hands of him is the right response though.



And as I said, my brother went through some similar problems and is far from well-adjusted now, but my parents hung in there and tried to get all the resources they could to help him out. They were mostly left to their own devices though. My brother threatened to stab my dad with a knife in my house. I'm sure it happened many times in theirs. He stole money from them. He was cruel to animals when he was very young. He played with fire when he was younger. He has been diagnosed as bi-polar but I think that barely scratches the surface. He suffered from severe paranoia at one point in his life. These weren't minor issues either. But he is my parents child. My mother didn't give birth to him (he's adopted from Indonesia) but it makes no difference to them at all. They are his parents and they will be there for him until the day they die. No matter how hard it may be.

Sara - posted on 12/23/2009

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This is a tough one. I understand that the adoptive parents are probably scared of him and fear for their safety. But, if his psychiatric problems are being managed and the doctors feel he is not a danger to himself or others, I don't know why that don't want to at least try to take him back, that seems really cold. I mean, there are measures you can take to make sure everyone is safe (alarms, locks, etc). I would think any progress this boy has made would be totally destroyed by his parents reaction, but then again, if he has some kind of attachment disorder then it may make no difference to him. There are so many factors and things that are not known to us, it's hard to say what is right in this situation. If I were in this situation, I would like to think I wouldn't give up on my child. I know that I will never, ever turn my back on my daughter, even if she turns out to be an axe killer, i'll still love her.

La - posted on 12/23/2009

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If my child tried to kill me I might feel a little less inclined to care whether he felt "rejected" again LOL...if the parents feel they are in over their heads and that he is unable to be rehabilitated they should have him committed permanently. I don't think you can fix mental problems that severe with love alone. The child's behavior warrants the help of psychiatric professionals. When someone cannot control their urges to hurt themselves or other people they are a danger to society. This kid doesn't sound like a kid with some manageable emotional issues...this is far beyond that.

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