Adoption is a beautiful thing — a family welcoming a child into their lives and ultimately completing their family. But then there are those that abuse the system and the public's trust. That seems to be the basis of a dramatic 24 hours of posts and comments on the Legal Advice subreddit yesterday and today.
It all started yesterday when Reddit user wtfisthislegal first posted about her co-worker's strange Facebook postings about one of her adopted children (the user has since deleted her account). The Redditor claimed that "Mary" constantly talked and posted on Facebook about wanting to "get rid" of one of eight adopted kids — a child from Ukraine. "Mary" was advertising that she wanted to "re-home" him. The Redditor was posting the story so she could get legal advice about which authorities she should contact about the situation. She wrote:
So, my co-worker is kind of a weirdo (I'll call her Mary for the sake of this post). Her and her husband are one of those people that have a ton of adopted kids (eight so far) and are super religious. To each his own. Mary enjoys telling everyone at work her business, so when she decided to adopt a kid from the Ukraine, everyone heard about it. She went with an older kid because it was easier for her and her husband (she says). This was two years ago.
Mary has asked me to babysit the boy a couple of times (I'll call him Tony), and it's never been a problem because I like kids. I didn't see any glaring problems despite Mary's constant dramatics about how awful the kid was and he seemed to like being over (it's just me and my boyfriend here, and our place is small but clean and really well kept. Mary's house is...disgusting for lack of a better word). Mary would harp constantly about how much Tony liked it at our house but I just chalked it up to the kid having a good time.
Lately Mary has been at work, talking to anyone that'll listen about how awful Tony is, how horrible he is to the other kids, and how she's going to get rid of him. She sent out a freaking mass email to everyone in our department asking if someone wanted to take her kid from her. She calls it "re-homing" and that its okay. I logged onto Facebook today and same story...she has pics of Tony posted to her timeline advertising him for re-adoption and to contact her if interested!!
I haven't replied to her email yet, and I haven't commented on her post but I'm this close to ripping into her for what she's doing. She's crossed the line from weird into full blown psycho. Should I call CPS? I called the police just now, but they sounded completely confused on what to do. They agreed to a welfare check. The post is still up. Is this really legal?! I don't know much about adoption and a quick search for rehoming gets me mostly results about animals. Any advice?
EDIT: Shit has hit the fan. There's mass insanity right now, but I'll have an update for everyone tonight. Most importantly: the kids are safe.
The commenters ranged from people telling the poster to call child protective services:
To people warning the original poster that the whole "re-homing" idea could be a scam:
More than 200 people weighed in on the situation and waited with bated breath to see what would happen. When wtfisthislegal returned to Reddit, she provided a detailed update that will make any decent person's stomach turn. After contacting the authorities, the original poster revealed that not only was the boy in question's adoption illegal, but it was likely that all of the children were adopted illegally and all of them were removed from the home. Not only that, but "Mary" had the nerve to show up to work the next day and ask for time off to fight to get her children back.
Let me start with saying a huge thank you to everyone in this subreddit that replied to my post. Now that the dust has settled a bit, I'm honestly kinda overwhelmed by the number of people that went to huge lengths to tell me about just how serious this situation was/is, deep dived on resources, ect. I got PM's from people that worked for local and state governments and private agencies that were outside of my state but offered their contacts. I had people that spoke Russian/Ukrainian offering to help contact the Ukrainan Embassy and offered me contact information for Embassy departments. People even contacted us offering money for Tony's immediate needs in the event we decided to take him in. I'm sincerely touched by the genuine concern all of you had for Tony and his siblings and I hope one day I can tell Tony that despite everything that's happened, there's people out there like you guys that care about him. The information you guys gave us helped us act fast and got the ball rolling on this situation faster than me and my boyfriend would've figured out alone.
I talked with the cops about the situation and honestly? They were just as confused as I was. The person I talked to on the phone was just as stumped but he agreed that at a minimum they did need to do a welfare check. I've had experiences with welfare checks before and I had the nagging feeling that something just wouldn't go right…and someone PM'd me the priority line for my state's child protective services hotline. I got someone on the phone right away, and as soon as I mentioned that trafficking could be going on and that she was advertising the kid on Facebook (it was a public post here too, people), they acted with a quickness. I gave them all the information I had on Mary and Tony and all the information I had from Mary about Tony's adoption. The person I spoke to right away said that she suspected that the adoption MIGHT NOT EVEN BE LEGAL. I was floored. I e-mailed all the screenshots I had to the person I spoke with and asked for a followup if that was at all possible. I said that myself and my boyfriend were willing to take Tony on a temporary basis if necessary, but the CPS representative said that likely wasn't possible. Then, the waiting game began. Last night was probably the most stressful night I've ever had- hell at one point, I was ready to drive out to Mary's house myself but was stopped by my boyfriend. It was tough.
The cops followed up with us at approximately 2:00AM. Note that I haven't heard from CPS. The officer I spoke with was very cautious and limited in what he said, but he told me that CPS arrived at the home shortly after he did. In not so many words, he implied that Mary had been talking to someone about meeting Tony the very next day and that CPS' suspicions were confirmed— Tony's adoption was not legal. Tony was rehomed to Mary and her husband from another state where placement needs to be approved by a judge. He didn't elaborate further except to say that other issues came to light and all of the children were removed from the home for their own safety by CPS. He didn't say how long they were there, but said it was "a long time". I was asked to drop off all e-mails and printouts to the station in the morning, and I agreed.
My boyfriend and I wanted to make doubly sure that all of our bases were checked, so I called our local FBI office who said they lacked jurisdiction in the matter but would be writing up a complaint and referring the issue to the State Department. We called the Ukrainian Embassy and made a detailed complaint and I included the contact information I had for the officer from the department.
The shit really hit the fan when I went into work to printout the e-mail. Our company is pretty small and the company owner, (I'll call her Big Ange because of her resemblance to the Mob Wives lady) had gotten wind of Mary's email. Big Ange was FURIOUS, and waiting at Mary's desk to see if she would show up for work. My friend reported that Big Ange waited from 7:15 - 9:30 AM, and that Mary CAME TO WORK WITH A SOB STORY ABOUT HOW HER KIDS WERE BEING UNFAIRLY TAKEN AWAY! Mary wanted time off from work to "clear her name" and "devote herself to re-claiming her family from this misunderstanding". I wasn't there to witness this, but Big Ange, who has six kids herself, apparently ripped Mary a new asshole. Mary has been dismissed and rumor has it that Big Ange may or may not allow her to claim unemployment.
My head is honestly still spinning from everything that has happened. The past 24 hours have been insanity. I'm so grateful that the system worked as quickly as it did. I only hope it works out a long term solution to this problem and that Mary doesn't get to reclaim her kids. My heart is breaking for Tony and the other kids right now…I don't know what the fuck was happening in Mary's house that made CPS remove them that night, but I'm going to sleep better knowing that they aren't with psycho ass Mary and her husband, at least for awhile. What the future holds for Tony and the other kids (especially because Tony's adoption was apparently illegal) makes me sick…but I'm going to wish for the best.
I need a damn drink.
tl;dr: CPS took the kids. They're safe. Mary has been fired from work. Redditors amaze me with their kindness and willingness to help in times of crisis.
The whole situation is disturbing and sad. Assuming that it is all true, the saving grace here is that the children have been removed from a seemingly unsafe home and will find families that truly deserve them thanks to the kindhearted Redditors who provided the original poster with so much advice.