When a disabled Chinese girl was adopted by an American couple, she thought she had gotten lucky. But then that couple “re-homed” Nora Gately to a new family, who made their 17 adopted children clean the bathroom with toothbrushes and dig their own graves in the backyard.
Gately, now 26, was adopted from a Chinese orphanage just before her 13th birthday. But after a few years, her adoptive father took her on a road trip which ended in a “re-homing,” this time with a family in Tennessee. Gately, who has polio, says her new mother often took away her leg brace as punishment for small infractions.
It’s a horrifying incident, but it’s not an isolated one: An investigation by Reuters and NBC news has uncovered an underground “child-swapping” network, where adoptive parents can offload their unwanted children to other families through Internet chat rooms hosted by Yahoo and Facebook. In one November 2012 post, a Nebraska woman advertised an 11-year old boy she had adopted from Guatemala: “I am totally ashamed to say it but we do truly hate this boy!”
So far Yahoo has removed the chat room following the investigation. Facebook has not yet taken action, according to the report.