Adoptive parents open up after reports expose dark side of adoption

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Reporter - Jason Hibbs
Photojournalist - Randall Barnes

MCCRACKEN COUNTY, Ky. - Loving home or another fleeting family?  Far too many foster children ask that question every day.

Recently, NBC News highlighted adoptions gone wrong and parents who permanently passed their adopted child along to another family.  Local adoptive parents who've experienced trouble after adopting, have something to say.

They say the secret to success is knowing you are not alone and not giving up.  Many people who set out to adopt don't realize how hard it can be until after the fact.

A local family hopes their difficult experiences will help others.

It's supper time for the Choate family.

Dawn Choate is doing more than teaching her three adopted kids how to cook, she's teaching them how to love and be loved.

6-year-old Isaac from Guatemala, 10 year old Maggie and 9 year old Hannah both from China have taught mom a lot, too.

"You don't pick them up and they suddenly say 'oh mom and dad now my problems are all fixed,' it's just not that simple," Choate said.

She was caught off guard years ago when one of her daughters started showing extreme signs of severe neglect that happened before the adoption. Neglect she wasn't aware of until the little girl was old enough to talk.

"In the early stages of our adoptions there were months I didn't think I could get through," Choate admits.

Kelly Kelley is a therapist at NECCO Foster and Adoption Services.

"The children we get are behaviorally challenged because of what has happened to them," Kelley said.

She said what parents need is patience. Something Choate has gained over time.

Kelley encourages adoptive parents to reach out to counselors, support groups, and their adoption agency for help.  She said there's no reason to do it alone.

Choate blogs about her experiences with adoption and recently talked about 'disruptions and re-homing.  If you'd like to read her blog, or to learn more about how to adopt, click here.

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