BeTA's statement on "rehoming"
Beyond Trauma and Attachment would like to address the issue of “rehoming” that has been brought to the forefront of the public attention due to the series of articles published on Reuters.
As an organization that reaches out to families who are raising children from hard places and caters particularly to families who are dealing with the affects of early trauma and children who are attachment resistant, we are very aware that rehoming children is something that occurs for many reasons. Many times families are not made aware of the affects of trauma prior to adopting and are side-swiped with the crippling affects of trauma in their child. Many times, families are well equipped, but the child is unable to successfully be a part of a family environment due to their own issues. In some instances, we find that families are unable to provide appropriate therapies and treatment centers due to insurance constraints. In most cases, families are trying desperately to protect themselves or other children in the home from aggression and violence and are left with few options for a variety of reasons.
It is BeTA’s opinion that rehoming should occur when all other options have been exhausted. Finding support for the family so they understand they are not alone can allow for the exchange of ideas and information that may help a family be successful in keeping a child in their home is vital. BeTA’s goal is to reach out to as many families as possible who feel they are parenting a child who is unlike many others. Parenting a child who has experienced early trauma and exhibits attachment resistance is very alienating. Living in this type of environment can be draining and can reframe what you previously thought about parenting. It can lead to desperation and can allow you to consider things you thought you never would.
A family who makes the decision to rehome a child is not “evil”. This family is doing the best they can with what they are living with. BeTA is well aware that what a family goes through on a daily basis is not known to most people. It is a personal decision that the family must make and live with. BeTA holds the position that it should be done in a manner that is respectful for the child and is done legally and with conscience. The proper channels should always be followed. A home study should be done and verified. Background checks for the entire family should be done as well as fingerprinting. Visits to acclimate the child to the new environment are essential for a good transition. Making certain that the new family has full information on the child and their issues and is safe is of utmost importance. It is not the job of BeTA as an organization to judge a family, but to hold them up.
BeTA will still continue to be involved with any family who has to make the heart wrenching decision to rehome their child. The affects of trauma and attachment are not limited to just the child. The affects ricochet through the family and leaves the family crippled even after the child has been rehomed. Families need to be held and supported in a decision that is strictly theirs. BeTA can still offer support and guidance in the aftermath of disruption.
While our ultimate goal to help children from hard places heal and families to succeed we acknowledge that sometimes the “system” (adoption agencies, County offices, mental health and medical professionals) fail our families. Sometimes the child is unwilling to change for a variety of reasons. In a perfect world rehoming would be unnecessary. In a perfect world, our children would be able to stay with their birth family! Sometimes, families have done all they can do. Sometimes damage is already done and moving to another family is the one thing that will affect change. Sometimes the damage is done prior to getting there and other times damage is done by a well meaning, uninformed family. Removing the stigma of mental health and offering appropriate services for families who are flailing in the affects of trauma is the one thing that we believe can make a difference. Accepting that children who are “broken” by the affects of trauma and that those affects can be very far reaching is the first step. Villianizing families who are doing the best they can is not going to change anything but lead to more stigma, more hiding and more hateful anger.
There is a life beyond trauma and attachment. There can be hope and healing. There can be a positive turn out. Sometimes that may not look like what we think it should, but it can happen. Sometimes rehoming is a part of that future and that positive outcome. BeTA’s job is to support families and help them deal with their choices.