Ethics: When The Lullaby Ends

Should adoptive parents be able to return unwanted children?

Most eleven-year-olds don't have a lawyer, but Tony is a special case. His adoptive parents decided five years after his adoption that Tony had not properly "bonded" with them, and returned him to the state in March. They kept Sam, Tony's natural younger brother. Patrick Murphy, the Chicago public guardian who was appointed to serve as Tony's attorney, says the youngster is an "absolute joy to be around." But there have been scars. Says Murphy: "One of the tragic things is that Tony blames himself."

Tony is one of at least 1,000 children adopted in the U.S. each year who will...

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