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November 15th, 2013
07:06 PM ET

Inside the story of the couple who returned adopted son

Two of CNN's experts came on the show to discuss this case out of Ohio of an adopted boy being returned to child services.

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Filed under: Anchors • Brooke Baldwin • CNN Newsroom
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Vivian

    So glad you guys are covering this, parents need help and the system to help is a joke. Something needs to be done about it.

    November 16, 2013 at 1:13 pm |
  2. Desi Dylan

    Not to mention, just imagine how much more damage is going to be done to this boy after his parents gave him up, once again. This boy will never trust anyone.

    November 22, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
  3. Barbara

    I have a 38 year old daughter who is diagnosed schizo affective (closer to schizophrenia than bi-polar. She has been hospitalized for months of each year since she was 22. She has been arrested for disruptive behavior; burned a policeman with a cigarette (which he gave her) while transporting her between mental hospital) which resulted in a felony; been missing for weeks on end. Please fill in the blanks...I have credentials to speak on this subject. By investing both dollars, research, and professional help the "system" has got to step forward. The help available is totally insufficient. Many behaviors resulting from mental illness are beyond the capabilities of the family unit. In this case of the parent abandoning the child, the family may well have been looking out not only for the safety of the immediate family but also for unsuspecting victims by taking drastic measures to get drastic help for their child.

    November 24, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
  4. Michele

    While I agree that no one should just give back their child, I can see the other side. They have other children that they have to protect. This child sounds violent, and in today's society, we hear all the time about children who kill their entire family. They need help, not prosecution.

    November 25, 2013 at 11:34 am |
  5. jarck

    I believe while it is the responsibility of the parents to do their best for their child, the community must decide what to do with children (and adults) who are disruptive to society, both the mentally ill and the non-mentally ill. If there aren't enough mental health or prison staff to deal with these problems, is the community willing to donate the money to hire more? Are parents going to be required to have money to build facilities, train staff, provide competitive salaries just in case their child should turn out to be mentally ill or a criminal? Everybody seems to be pointing fingers. It's your problem too whether it's your child or not. Have you donated to NAMI?

    November 25, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
  6. sagewy

    If a child is exposed to meth and alcohol or a mix of other drugs a child may appear healthy but be very dangerous. Scientists have discovered changes in brain structure. It is also extremely hard to find help for mental illness right now. Perhaps the parents are just desperate for help and need help to re unite this family. I think we should reserve judgment until more is known regarding this situation.

    November 28, 2013 at 11:12 am |
  7. britcofc12

    HOW CAN YOU "return" a CHILD AFTER 9 YRS ? In a normal adoption that shouldn't be POSSIBLE ! Right? or is it bc it was through child protective services, the child was 3 MONTHS when adopted meaning the parents had access to the "background" so to speak, WOW. and then they just dissapear from an UPSCALE neighborhood, and ya'll are insinuating that the adoptive child who they've been raising for 9 yrs is the PROBLEM here, I DON't THINK SO.

    Then again, At least this isn't like that case of those children being raised by that book "To Train Up a Child", and the child abuse horror tales of mostly adopted children-for some reason, although i'm sure there's stories out there of non-adopted children quite similar, as in the parents are DELUDED or PSYCHOPATHIC, and it's the child who suffers such as in this case, or in other cases the child dies from abuse. BUT seriously you adopt this child, raise him like your own for 9 yrs sorry but there's absolutely NO EXCUSE for this to be POSSIBLE to RETURN this CHILD, talk to the other CHILDREN on HOW THIS CHILD WAS SINGLED OUT OR TREATED IN GENERAL, THAT's one of the reasons the family left, also so that CPS couldn't FIND THEM TO MAKE THEM TAKE BACK THEIR LEGAL CHILD of 9 yrs,
    Are any of their other children ALSO adopted from CPS , I wonder? Immature and Unloving parents if you ask me,
    Also for you, sagewy the doctors could have told them long ago if this child was an alcohol baby or what have you, also since when does mental illness translate into CRIME and VIOLENCE, how about you look at real stats., and no not even most school shooters would have ever been considered to have schizophrenia or TRUE Psychosis they are just plain and simple SOCIOPATHS who HAPPEN TO BE AGE 10-24 mostly living in the US. ( Ibring up that bc young offenders of violence are most thought of in society as not everyday trouble makers but as "school shooters waiting to happen" that or their thought of as "Gang Bangers waiting to happen" seriously these parents are always going to be one's in the wrong and yes I know some 9 yr old can be a bit scary but if there was violence come on call the police and try to get YOUR kid HELP, but I DOUBT THESE PEOPLE thought of HIM as their KID once he reached past the "CUTE KID phase."
    The parents ran out of fear of BACKLASH THEY KNEW THEY WOULD RECIEVE.

    November 29, 2013 at 10:32 pm |
  8. scars

    They raised this child from 3 months to 9 years and then decide to give him back? That is not how parenthood works. You don't give birth and then just give away the child if they end up needing mental health care, so why do adopted parents get a pass on doing that? These were not poor parents who did not have the resources to handle the problem. They were wealthy people who wanted to return a defective (in their eyes) child. Shame on them. But I'm sure they will get away with it because they can afford good attorneys. Money can buy you any kind of justice you want. I've known people living on little more than minimum wage who took in a special needs child and loved that child even when she had behavior issues as she reached the teenage years. They received far less help, but I guess they had a lot more love to give.

    November 29, 2013 at 11:01 pm |
  9. WillyNilly

    I can't sit in judgment over these parents. They have an entire family to consider and I know from experience that one extremely troubled member can dominate the entire family's resources. All the emotional, mental, and financial resources of the family are directed to that one member to the extent that the others get nothing. And when some of the others are vulnerable children it can have dire consequences many years later.

    November 30, 2013 at 9:49 am |
  10. CJ

    This is probably the only way the parents could get help for the boy. Mental health is a joke. A cousin for which is dead now parents tried to get help for him. He was acting out and doing crazy stuff, and yes threaten the family on a regular basis. They went for counseling for which at the time this child was like 11 years old. Right in front of the parent the counselor told the boy that going to counseling was up to the boy, it was his choice. The parent was outraged. Told the counselor they were responsible for the child's well being etc. If they tell their child he is going then they pay for it; so he is going. The counselor said by law it was his choice. He died when he was 23-24 in a car wreak. His dad said honestly at the boys funeral that he is in a safe place now, he can do no harm, and no harm can come to him. His death was a blessing even though he would be missed, he would remember his younger years. His younger years were his best years of his life.

    Mental health is the only thing physically if there is a problem with the individual they have a choice. You break your arm or leg you get automatic medical care. If a parent refuses to get a child's arm or leg set, then the department of children and families is called. But get this also.... If you have ADD or ADHD children are forced to take the medications by the State run school system. Parents have been locked up, or lost custody for refusing to administer the drugs to their child. But mental therapy is completely left up to the child. The child does not have to go.

    Yup is is very much messed up.

    December 1, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
  11. Vina

    Adoption is permanent. You can't give the child back once he or she is your family. There are other resources – for example, you can have your own child arrested and let the state deal with a child who poses a danger to his or her family (i.e., put the child in a residence). If you are worried, there is fostering. Or, in some cases, you can foster and if the child is a good fit – then adopt.

    December 2, 2013 at 7:22 am |
  12. Cyndie

    Once a child is adopted that child has the exact same legal standing as a biological child. Meaning the fact that he was adopted is no longer a factor. If these people had handed over a biological child instead of the adopted child would the furor be the same? In our society today, while we all want to be protected from the mentally ill - the assumption being we need protection from ALL of them - those who have been diagnosed as mentally ill (hereinafter referred to as the patient) have legal rights. No longer can we lock them up and lose the key. Even children have legal rights and those rights have to be respected. Having said all that, a person can be committed but not indefinitely. There are standard courses of treatment for most diagnosable afflictions which generally translate into how many days it usually takes to get their meds straight. After that its up to either the patient themselves or their families to make sure they take their meds. If the cycle of commitment/medication doesn't work then they have to start over - recommitment and a new course of meds. This can take years, in the meantime the family lives in fear, the patient is unstable and also fearful and oftentimes violent. Its an ugly cycle. I don't feel I can judge this family for their actions, we don't know how many times they've been thru the cycle since the child is only nine years old. Is this a case of mental illness, some other treatable disorder (perhaps undiagnosed autism or some inborn rage issue) or maybe its just bad behavior. None of the articles really say.

    December 2, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    I completely agree with the person who posted above me. "WillyNilly – I can't sit in judgment over these parents. They have an entire family to consider and I know from experience that one extremely troubled member can dominate the entire family's resources. All the emotional, mental, and financial resources of the family are directed to that one member to the extent that the others get nothing. And when some of the others are vulnerable children it can have dire consequences many years later." That happened in our family. One oldest child caused mayhem for over fifty years until he died. I am totally for these parents not getting this child back. They are not able to cope with him. The child needs help. He will suffer without some professional, clinical intervention. And then someone who can give him the specialized attention he needs. I hold no ill will toward these parent. I think they did the right thing if it turns out this child is as problematic as he seems.

    December 3, 2013 at 12:54 am |
  14. Anonymous

    I just posed but wanted to add that I wish my parents had taken my oldest brother out of our home. One child is completely capable of taking over an entire family and terrorizing and manipulating different people it chooses to. Most people won't understand that. Some will. I would have never believed this unless I had seen it myself.

    December 3, 2013 at 12:57 am |
  15. John

    Folks-this kind of stuff happens all the time. I am a child welfare worker in South Texas and I don't understand why this is national news.

    December 3, 2013 at 10:59 am |
  16. lobstergator

    Bull.. you do not have to raise a kid who is a potentially murderous individual. What about the outcry concerning Adam Lanza? What if his mother had institutionalized him, or given him over to the health community to deal with? How does anyone say that these parents HAVE to keep this kid and raise this kid? If you cannot do it – if you simply cannot, after trying and trying, to raise a kid with severe mental illness, why add the stigma of abandonment to these parents? Isn't it better they return the kid rather than beat him, or worse? Isn't it better than coddeling a mentally ill child and bringing that threat into your community? Isn't this the kind of mental health care we've all been discussing lately? No matter what the prior situation – whether the kid is biologically theirs or not – if they are not capable of raising that kid, they need to give him up. Period. For his betterment, for their betterment, for the betterment of their community.

    December 3, 2013 at 11:01 am |
  17. Fozman

    So did they just drop the kid off, or did they ask social services for help and the child was determined to be a threat? If this wasn't an adopted kid, would this be a story? Kids are taken from homes due to radical behavior problems all the time.

    And the little dig at the end "these children just need love" is complete BS. Sometimes you are piting your emotions against horrible brain chemistry, your emotions will not win.

    December 3, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
  18. dwayne

    They did the right thing. Casey Anthony should have been so caring.

    December 5, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
  19. Been there

    The parents are absolutely right! Fozman is absolutely correct, "the all they need is love and the miracle of adoption " solving these kids issues is BS. I have had numerous children over 20+ years and finally decided to throw in the towel as I was sick of social workers trying to bully and threaten us into adopting, I would not. They promise you all kinds of services to get you to adopt and then when you ask for help they don't want to know s–t. The states get federal money for each child that gets adopted, the kid is off DCF's roles and they look like heroes and then the adoptive parents get left holding the bag financially and emotionally when these kids issues finally surface. These kids were of various ages and lived with me anywhere from 3 to 10 years. It doesn't matter how long you have them when they hit certain ages their issues rise to the surface and they are a danger to the family and society. I have had different children try to hurt me by grabbing the cars steering wheel and putting me into a guard rail at 65mph, physically assaulting me when angry and not to mention the tens of thousands of dollars that was stolen, so I don' t know why anyone would even think about adoption. They lie about services,these families are at the mercy of insurance companies, because you can have them committed but as soon as the limit for their insurance at the psych ward is up they are discharged whether they are stable or not, that is if you can even find mental health treatment for children. I have seen entire families wiped out from the expenses that insurance or the state won't pay for. So before you condemn the families of these adoptive children, maybe the individuals who are so irate over this should go get one of these children who are returned and should step up and make one of them part of your family in your home then run your unkind mouths condemning people who are in these adoptive parents shoes.

    December 6, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
  20. Agreed

    Been there is right. There is no mental health treatment in this country anymore and Social Services is happy to push well intentioned people into taking problems off of their hands and off of their books. People who do not have a seriously mentally ill person within their family or home have NO idea what it's like. No idea. Once they become adults, you will then have to choose between turning them out onto the streets to be homeless or endangering your family's lives, and everyone from the police to social services to lawyers will tell you that their hands are tied. There are parents who have moved to escape their mentally ill adult children and who must live not knowing where that child is while also fearing that they may find them. It's just awful.

    December 7, 2013 at 6:37 am |
  21. Madeline

    Why doesn't the professionals that made the comments of how wrong it is to return the child, take the child's themselves. I'm sure they will see how very challenging and exhausting it can be living with a child who has mental health issues. It can suck the life out of you. It is 24/7 and there are very few resources to support families. Instead of judging they should be offering up resources and help for the family who I'm sure is on there last leg..

    December 7, 2013 at 8:52 am |
  22. Jan

    their job was to try to help someone. When that effects everyone else in the house. that is asking to much. they need to protect their self and other family members. give him back!!~!!! Genes do matter! look around at people you know. They tried to help a kid and it was impossible. let them send him back. just because you adopt someone doesn't mean your family should die over it.

    December 7, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
  23. Glen

    My wife and I are in our 70's and we have a 40+ year old son who has been a severe problem since very early childhood. He's repeatedly threatened to kill us, threatened us with a gun, kicked holes in walls and doors, tried
    to kill a teen-age friend with a broken bottle, etc ... the story spans about 35 years. We live in fear that he'll still
    kill us. Every car turning into the drive is scary until we know who it is. We keep a loaded shotgun beside the door. Yes, he's been in the (useless) system which can't do anything -until- he actually does something. Of course, it's likely be too late for us then.

    December 9, 2013 at 12:01 am |
  24. karen14217

    I work with emotional support kids. Please don't judge the parents. Some kids have such serious troubles, if parents can't handle them or fear them, it is better for them to admit it.

    December 9, 2013 at 12:33 am |
  25. ProtectiveFatherBear

    All tragedies are terrible. Wonder what all of the haters would say if they kept the child, tried to love and raise that child – all the while (as per our 'SYSTEM') tried to treat the child and then that same child stabs one(or all) of the other children? Or killed the parents? What would you all say then? Let me guess "Well at least they didn't try to separate the kid from their home or try something awful like turning the kid back to the adoption agency to save the rest of their children. Best that he got all of the love the family could give him even though he killed them all just like he said he would do."

    December 9, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
  26. virtual8675309

    britcofc12, it's pretty clear from your post that you've never had first-hand experience with deeply troubled, mentally ill people who are children or otherwise. it's easy to sit on the outside of this situation and think these parents are despicable, but i can tell you from first-hand experience that it is EXTREMELY difficult to get the kind of help that is needed for mental illness. and yes, actually, often times mental illness does in fact result in crime and/or violence. there are a lot of parents who live in fear of their own children, and in this case, the parents likely also feared for not only themselves but for their other children. your suggestion that the parents should have just called the cops is naive. you're assuming that the parents didn't call the cops, when it's very likely that they did. unfortunately, that doesn't solve the issue either. been there, done that. calling the cops gets the person off your hands for about 24 hours and then you're right back where you started. there is little help available when it comes to mental illness and it's a huge problem in our communities nationwide. until we start allocating government funds towards this issue it is only going to continue to get worse. if the government would redirect a small fraction of the millions of dollars spent on the prison systems every year to towards funding resources for mental illness and addiction, it would help tremendously.

    December 9, 2013 at 11:10 pm |
  27. UJustHitANerve

    Gut wrenching. I've long thought that those rich people leaving their millions to their cats and dogs, or roving the planet in search of problems to solve, as well as our bloated and useless million-dollar "institutes of health" are ignoring some of the most profoundly helpless and disturbed people in our society.

    December 10, 2013 at 3:58 am |
  28. marc

    Unless you walk in the same kind of shoes as these parents don't judge them, it isn't easy taking care of a child with mental illness. If this child had mental illness running in his bio. family then they should have been given that info. b4 deciding to adopt him. Many times family helath issues are hidden so that people will adopt these kids, I've heard about many cases in China where they hide family health history so kids get adopted by Americans cause China doesn't want to take care of them.

    December 10, 2013 at 7:44 am |
  29. Wayne

    If society tells us how to raise our children then they are also responsible for that child in my opinion. Get help for the child seemed to be the right move especially since they seemed quite well off! Yet we do not know the history so.....

    December 10, 2013 at 11:45 pm |
  30. Pragmaticist

    Gene matter. I would not adopt. Raising human is 24/7 and 365-day obligation for years. I believe this family did their best for 3,285 days to give this kid a chance...I know I cannot give him 3 days. Sombody with a bigger heart and bigger bank account should step in to help him if so desire. Otherwise don't criticize.

    December 14, 2013 at 3:18 am |

    I do not recommend adoption. I adopted a male child at birth. I am a single mother. This child is good hearted but has learning problems and needs more than what I have to give. He is miserable and so am I. I do not have a support system. I feel trapped in a very unhappy situation. I feel if he shared some of my genetic makeup we would be more compatible. However, deep within I know that it is not necessarily true. I have six more years for him to reach 18 and my obligation is over. I do not know if I will ever be able to enjoy life again.

    April 11, 2014 at 10:16 pm |
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