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What is rehoming?

28 Mar, 2017

by ChristianWorks

Rehoming is a term that you may have heard in the news. But what exactly is it? It’s not the same as adoption dissolution or adoption disruption.

Adoption dissolution

The legal termination of parental rights AFTER adoption finalization. Yes, there are cases in which adoptive parents have terminated their legal rights to adoptees. While we believe that the best scenario is for families is to stay together, every case is unique as is every family, and these parents have sought legal assistance to ensure the safety and best fit for their child.

Adoption disruption

The legal termination of placement BEFORE an adoption finalization. Every adoptee and adoptive family typically have six months prior to finalization. Disruption is when the adoption (and the child) are moved from their adoptive placement before the court finalization.


The underground, unregulated practice of transferring children from home to home without any oversight, vetting (such as background checks or home studies), or regulation. This is happening more and more within the adoption community, but it is also happening within the general population through pseudo/fictive kinship care. There are legal, moral, and ethical implications. This is not respite care, in fact, the parents have no intent of return and may be listed under the moniker of “respite care,” which under the legal foster definition is up to 2-4 weeks with the intent to return. If the placement ‘breaks down’, the child can be moved at a whim.

Essentially, these children are moved arbitrarily without any oversight, permanency, or consistent supports. Most of the time these children do not know the caregivers prior; the new caregivers are strangers or vague acquaintances. This is a violation of ICPC (Interstate Compact Placement Contracts) and can be considered trafficking by some, if there is a proof of exploitation or monetary exchange. There are significant concerns regarding their safety and well-being for the children moved and the children in the homes of those rehomed. This can open up an already vulnerable child to abuse, neglect, or exploitation. Many of the children rehomed are international adoptees and/or former foster children, particularly children of color.

Surprisingly, this practice is not considered illegal in Texas. The U.S. State Department has taken this seriously, and is working alongside others throughout the U.S. to push federal guidelines and legislation forward on this issue.

ChristianWorks is dedicated to helping prevent this practice as well as serve the children and families already impacted. ChristianWorks does not support, condone, or desire to be complicit in rehoming of any kind. We will walk with families who are brave enough to come to us for help regarding an adoptive placement in jeopardy or even considering disruption or dissolution, so we can sit down and give informed consent to prevent rehoming.

ChristianWorks provides post-adoption counseling services on an affordable sliding fee scale. For more information, visit our CounselingWorks web page or contact us to talk with a post-adoption specialist.

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