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  Home :: 2006 October :: US parents try to 'unadopt' son
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/6035447.stm 
 
US parents try to 'unadopt' son
An American couple are reportedly trying to "unadopt" their16-year-old son, saying the state did not tell them of his disturbinghistory of abuse.

According to the Washington Post, Helen and James Briggsadopted the boy six years ago, after Mrs Briggs - a foster mother -fell in love with him.

But in 2003 the boy, who cannot be named, sexually abused a six-year-old boy and a two-year-old girl.

Mrs Briggs said it was only then that she discovered his troubled past.

The newspaper said confidential files revealed that theboy's biological parents, who were alcohol and drug addicts, hadphysically abused him to the extent that his brain stem was damaged -hindering his ability to gauge the passage of time.

The files also suggested that he had been sexually abused.

The boy had been in and out of five foster homes sincehe was 16 months old, in psychiatric institutions seven times anddiagnosed as possibly psychotically bipolar.

'Wrongful adoption'

Mrs Briggs said she had not been told any of thosedetails before she adopted him. "They just told me he was hyperactive,"she told the Washington Post.

Under Virginia policy, caseworkers must provide the full facts about a child to adoptive parents.

She never would have adopted the boy and put other children in danger if she had had the information that was withheld from her
David Albo
Virginia politician

State child welfare officials have not commented on the case, due to confidentiality.

But the newspaper claims some caseworkers do not believe that Mrs Briggs was uninformed.

A Fairfax County court has allowed Mrs Briggs torelinquish custody of the boy, but she is still bound to pay $427 amonth in child support and cover the court costs when a judge makes adecision on his future.

Mrs Briggs, 57, could have filed a "wrongful adoption"lawsuit within two years of discovering the boy's true history, butfailed to.

'Sexual predator'

She had wanted to bring the boy home after his sex offender treatment, following the case in 2003.

But then psychologists labelled him a sexual predator,meaning she would have to give up being a foster parent, which she seesas her livelihood, and would no longer be able to allow her threegrandchildren in the house or keep a young girl she had fostered frombirth.

Mrs Briggs decided to dissolve the adoption, whichrequires the consent of the boy, who is now back in foster care. But sofar he has refused.

She is said to be asking politicians to help her find a way out.

"At first blush, you think 'What, you're trying to give up your kid?'", Virginia politician David Albo told the Washington Post.

"Then you find out this lady has received awards for allthe foster work she's done. And that she never would have adopted theboy and put other children in danger if she had had the informationthat was withheld from her."
 


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Pedophilia and sexual abuse of children in Australia