Post Adoption Child Abuse

It is often quicker and easier to associate neglect and abuse of children with orphaned children and those who are victims of the societal menace of child trafficking for sexual and commercial gains. The case remains however that an aspect of child abuse not seen, rarely heard, and scarcely discussed is the issue of the Neglect and Abuse of an Adopted Child. 

It would be wrong and bearing the fallacy of hasty generalization to assume that all adoptive parents maltreat their adopted children, in actual fact, more than half of adoptive parents provide decent homes and families for the adopted children. However, the minimal rate of occurrences of the neglect of an adopted child should not remove it from the need for discussion. 

In a report prepared by the Office of the Family and Children’s Ombudsman, the story was told of two siblings; one a teenager, the other below the age of 10 who were adopted by a family which already had 7 biological children. After a short while, one of the kids lost her life due to hypothermia from abuse, maltreatment and neglect. Further investigations revealed that the kid who died was incessantly beaten, deprived of basic amenities, dehumanized amongst others. In response the parents were brought to court on the charges of homicide by abuse and assault of a child, but sadly the child had died. 

The above story which is one amongst many calls into question the effectiveness of the child welfare bureau in providing a safe and appropriate home for adopted kids, this is because these adopted kids are placed in homes purportedly examined and approved by this child welfare services.  The kids are often abused physically, emotionally, psychologically, and sexually and the effect of these abuses on the children is the fact that it silences them because of the fear that they will become even more maltreated and manhandled.However there are practical ways to know if a child is being abused.

How to Spot an Abused Child?

There are some tell-tale signs that are common amongst children who have been abused and such signs are the reactions that a child unconsciously exhibits towards unthreatening situations they include:

  • Being scared of grown-ups
  • Strange bruises, cuts, and injuries on the body of a child
  • Steering clear of eye contact
  • Extreme and constant silence
  • Unwarranted shedding of tears
  • Deficient academic performances
  • Low self esteem
  • Aggressive and violent conducts
  • Incessant mood swings
  • Information about sexual activities
  • Having trouble when walking or sitting 
  • Discomfort in their private areas
  • Frequent need for food as a result of hunger
  • Physical reduction in weight
  • Offensive body odour
  • Poor physical hygiene

The above signs may be initial evidence of the abusive conditions of a child. Teachers, neighbors and well-meaning citizens may look out for these signs in children to ensure that the issue of neglect and abuse of adopted children is adequately reduced.

How to Tackle Post Adoption Child Abuse

To tackle post adoption child abuse issues, the following measures should be taken:

  • The provision of a clear course of action to enable adequate tracing of adoption, disruption and dissolution
  • Areas of concern and red lights characterizing adoption abuse should be developed for the purpose of distributions to persons in contact with the children 
  • Adequate supervision of child welfare and placing agencies
  • Increasing requirements for personnel in charge of the adoption and reporting process
  • Increasing the least requirements to be attained before requesting an adoption placement 
  • Provision of support for families adopting any child
  • Adequate training for staff involved in the adoption process
  • Adoptive parents should be adequately informed of the child’s history
  • Adequate supervision and overseeing of adopted kids in their adopted homes to ensure the kids are being taken care of