Re-homing the suburban code for Human Trafficking by Rachel Dueker

Justin Harris…in case you missed this bit of news; The Arkansas House of Representatives is barely rocking with news that one of their own rehomed a sexually abused child that he adopted from DHS because she was having violent outburst in the home. Harris and his wife gave this child and her sibling to a man who worked for and was fired from their daycare. This child placed in the new home bestowed to her by the Harris clan was then raped by her new parent. The children were then again rehomed to a family who is adopting and loving them. Harris in what little quotes he has made said he is “saddened but would have never put a child in harm’s way.” Also he noted that he turned all his subsidy’s over to the rapist for the child’s care…how fucking nice.

Lots of words come to mind in this: Hypocrites, Rage, Disgust, Sadness. Lots of feeling about the Harris’s also come to mind: scum of the earth, assholes, dregs, the worst humanity can be. Of all the words I use, take notice of the words I do not say: illegal and accountable.

That’s right. By all accounts rehoming a child, while cowardly, despicable, vile, and inhumane does not have any legal ramifications. This proclaimed Christian will face no legal charges for giving away a child to a sexual predator because she did not fit the mold of what they wanted. She made waves and with all their money and education, they did not understand that 6 months of therapy is not a quick fix for the traumas of rape and emotional violation.

Accountable, nope, they are not. House Speaker, Rep. Jeremy Gillam, R-Judsonia, said “there would be no sanctions or repercussions from the legislative body in this case.”

“At this time, that situation, as far as we’re concerned from the House perspective, is past tense, and we’re moving forward and looking at the remainder of our calendar and finishing the month strong,” Gillam said.

Past tense. A child is causing us problems; past tense. That child is raped, past tense. Life as usual goes on for us the adults. But for this child, this is anything but past tense.

My son came to us from care. He was not a saint. He had a history of violent outbursts, PTSD and some odd reasoning skills. We came into this prepared that he may freak out on us, possibly violently. We knew what we could be as parents. There were times in his transition that were painful and long and so very, very hard.

Never ever for one moment did we think to give him away! He was and is and always will be my child. You love your children unconditionally. We did not adopt Mike as an accessory, to further status or our careers. We did not adopt him to prove our godliness or “save” a child. We adopted him wanting to be parents, knowing we were getting a child with his own personality and opinions. If you are trying to make a child fit your family-stop. The family has to fit the child. We adopted Mike because we are selfish and crazy and wanted to love a child and grow our family.

There is a vast underground out there of human trafficking. Mainly woman and children are forced into forced work and sexually slavery. This network is reviled by all who hear of it. UN commissions study it, the world rejects…it but it still happens.

Why? Well, lots of reasons by my two cents are that we do not see the deep need to protect other children as our own. Rehoming is also underground, seedy and cloaked in shadows. It is a place where people who cannot pass background checks for adoption or are sexual predators can easily gain access to a child when the pseudo adults pass them on like a used couch on craigslist. And no one is screaming, and this is not illegal. Children who should be protected by their “parents” are written off and go into this underground web not tracked by any state or local oversight. How is this different than trafficking? To me, it’s not. It is merely just semantics to make these people who call themselves parents relieve themselves of guilt by what they must know deep down inside is wrong .

Rachel, let’s pretend you say, Mike transitioned. He is a success story; maybe you do not know how hard it was for the Harris’s to make this choice. Well we do. A year after Mike was with us we began to look at adopting a second child. This child had past issues similar to Mikes’ we were told. Unlike Mike, we were not given access to this child full file, just bits and pieces. The child’s team never fully answered our questions and tried to cut our adoption agency out of the process. As we began to meet this child, as sweet as she is, big red flags started jumping out at us about mental health issues. When push came to shove on full disclosure before we discussed even placement in our home, this child had significant mental health issues that Kim and I were not equipped to deal; with to be successful for this child and us. We could not become a 1 income family to provide the stability this child needed and we could not have overnight staff and treatment staff in our home, turning it into a group home and putting Mike’s hard won emotional health at stake. In talking with ourselves, therapists and teams, we realized we could not provide the parenting for this child. This is a decision that eats at your soul, keeps you up at night and makes you just sob; wanting to give the child love and home and not being able to. I still worry about this child and thank God every day that a family equipped to work with the mental health challenges has been found and this child has a forever home.

So yes I understand but I also know you don’t have a child dropped on your door, this is a process. In the months before adoption is finalized, it could have been ended. To pick basically a stranger to take this child is inconceivable me. It says to me you were more worried about your ego, admitting to the people who can help that you were unable to provide, you were more afraid of judgment from peers than the only needs that really matter, the child’s. This child we did not adopt had issues bigger then we could handle and that is hard to say and it is not something we are proud of but a reality of our limitations. We did not adopt not because it would have caused stress for us in the home but because we could not give the child what they needed which is true safety. It was not about us, it is not about the Harris’s. It is about these children and to give them away like they are less than human is repulsive. This Harris failure is all our failures, even more so if we let this issue die into the good night.

So in case folks are outraged and want action

Do one thing-

Here are some suggestions

Contact your governor’s office and in light of the media attention ask your office to push for rehoming of adopted children to be illegal.

If you would like to share with the Governor of Arkansas’s office outrage that Justin Harris faces no House sanctions for rehoming children the link is

If you would like to contact Justin Harris’s office and share your feelings about the practice of rehoming adopted children with him

If you would like to join the KINDRED conversation, please join us at There you can see our trailer, read more blogs by both authors and contribute by hitting the FUNDING button. We are actively raising funds for an upcoming trip and need all the support we can get.

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