Wisconsin is the first state to actively combat re-homing

Gov. Scott Walker signing legislation, but not the exact bill being discussed. I couldn’t find any picture of him signing this particular legislation.

Today, Gov. Scott Walker signed quite a few bills, more than 50 in total.  The one that I give him and the Wisconsin Legislature credit for tackling involves “re-homing”.  Re-homing involved people putting kids up for adoption online to anybody willing to take them.  There was no type of regulation involved, and government agencies appeared to not have a clue this existed before Reuters did an investigative piece on it.

Through Yahoo and Facebook groups, parents and others advertise the unwanted children and then pass them to strangers with little or no government scrutiny, sometimes illegally, a Reuters investigation has found. It is a largely lawless marketplace. Often, the children are treated as chattel, and the needs of parents are put ahead of the welfare of the orphans they brought to America.

The practice is called “private re-homing,” a term typically used by owners seeking new homes for their pets. Based on solicitations posted on one of eight similar online bulletin boards, the parallels are striking…

Reuters analyzed 5,029 posts from a five-year period on one Internet message board, a Yahoo group. On average, a child was advertised for re-homing there once a week. Most of the children ranged in age from 6 to 14 and had been adopted from abroad – from countries such as Russia and China, Ethiopia and Ukraine. The youngest was 10 months old.

Thank you Gov. Walker for signing this legislation.  Thanks also to Rep. Joel Kleefisch (R) for authoring the legislation.  Hopefully, the example that you’ve laid out in Wisconsin can be copied in the other 49 states to offer children much-needed protection.

Assembly Bill 581 requires parents seeking to delegate their parental powers for more than one year, to file a petition with juvenile court so that the court can determine that the delegation is in the best interest of the child and that the new parents will be able to care for the child appropriately. The bill also closes a gaping loophole in our states advertising laws, making it clear that it is illegal to advertise children for adoption over the internet.

It’s great to see people looking out for children who really need protection.  When I first read that Reuters investigation, I felt sick to my stomach.  I feel a bit better knowing that someone else paid attention to this and decided to try to put an end to this.  So, when will the rest of the states make their move?

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6 thoughts on “Wisconsin is the first state to actively combat re-homing

  1. Oh, I truly wish I didn’t know about this. While it pains me to credit Scott Walker for anything, on this I mist say good job, Guv.

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    • Well, even the worst people are capable of doing something good at least once in their life. I don’t care much for Walker’s politics, but this is one time I have no problem with giving him credit for something.

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  2. I had NO IDEA this was going on! I had read about one case where it happened, but I thought it was an anomaly, a one-off. The idea of it being one PER WEEK is simply jaw-dropping. I had no idea someone could get a child or get rid of a child simply by going to something on the order of kidtrader.com.

    Once I got my breath and thought about it, as always I see two sides of the issue. The better of the sides, IMO, is that this should be something the state regulates; there should be social workers guiding families to parenting classes, counseling and other resources that might preserve the original adoption; a different set of social workers should be looking into possible new placements; a court should be terminating parental rights and approving new adoptions. There should not be an ad hoc arrangement of, “You don’t want her? Sure, we’ll take her.”

    That said, the pragmatic side of me says there will be situations where adoptions don’t work out and there needs to be some kind of pressure valve to let adoptive parents end an adoption before they murder the child. I’ve been a pet parent virtually my whole life, and my firm rule is never to buy an animal. (I cheerfully pay adoption fees to a shelter or rescue group, but that’s a whole other kettle of fish.) I always get my dogs and cats either by taking in strays or by seeking out an animal from a shelter. With any new animal, there’s always a period of adjustment for everyone in the household, the humans, the current animals, and the new animal. We don’t always love each other immediately. It takes time to form trust. It takes time to accept each other’s eccentricities. Animals that have previously been feral or have spent a lot of time in shelters sometimes have issues. And twice with cats and once with a dog, I just wasn’t able to get things to work out. There was too much fighting, too much disruption, too many problems to deal with. It wasn’t fair to anyone, and I had to find other homes for the new guys. I can picture that the same thing might occasionally happen with an adopted child. So back to the previous paragraph: social workers, social workers, courts. Make it easy to handle bad situations in a good way. Do away with the need for kidtrader.com.

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    • I read the Reuters report when it was first released, and I was surprised at how quickly the whole issue disappeared from the news circuit. I’m glad that somebody was paying attention, but this seems like something that would be common sense across all 50 states, regardless of political leanings.

      I could see a need for such a trial period for adoptions and such. That would give everyone a chance to see if things will mesh well. There should also be an outlet in case things don’t work out. Just giving a child away to a random stranger online just doesn’t cut it.

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  3. Normally I say let folks in other states run their states as they see fit but in a case like this, I have to say good for them for trying to look out for the kids. Like you Bro, I think it needs to spread to the other 49.

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    • I’m with you there. I don’t usually delve too deeply into other states activities unless it involves voting rights. I think I inherited my drive in that area from family and friends who marched in the 60s.

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