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Facebook Post Offering 4-Year-Old for Adoption Prompts Investigation

The Short of It

Police recently investigated a Dubuque, Iowa, family after one of its members offered a 4-year-old child for adoption in a Facebook post.

The Lowdown

"I need some help," began the note, posted over the weekend to a private local moms group on the social media network. "Does anyone know a family who would like to adopt a 4 year old girl. My parents adopted her but got new jobs and they have no time for her. I have 3 kids of my own and can not handle another. Serious inquiries only. [sic]" The name of the family member has been withheld from the news, and the post has since been removed by the Facebook group's administrators.

Dubuque Police Lt. Scott Baxter said his department got "several calls" about the post and sent an officer to investigate.

"We determined no criminal act had been committed, and there was not sufficient probable cause to warrant an arrest or charge," Baxter told Yahoo Parenting. "The welfare of the 4-year-old was checked and determined satisfactory. To my knowledge, the 4-year-old remained with the adopted parents referenced by the person who made the post."

Along with the original note, this later post was removed by DBQ Mamas administrators after law enforcement got involved, according to KWWL: "Let me rephrase, I'm not selling a kid, it was to help find adoption ideas. So calling the police to receive suggestions was ridiculous. She's safe and fine. So thank you for your help."

Responses to the story have ranged from outrage to empathy, with some in the adoption community ranting that children are not objects to discard when you don't have time, while others thought the post was sad but perhaps an attempt to give the child a better life. Lt. Baxter said the police department notified the Department of Human Services about the Facebook post offering the adoption.

The Upshot

Using the Internet or social media sites like Facebook to connect birth mothers and adoptive parents is legal and growing in popularity, as its a free tool that can help couples interested in adopting a child. This situation, however, seems odd, as the poster is not the child's parent, but the adoptive sister who is obviously an adult since she has three kids of her own. Whether misguided or malicious in her original intent, I'm glad police investigated, found the 4-year-old child was safe, and child services will likely follow up.

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