Adoption is a rewarding experience that gives children and their adoptive families the opportunity to build loving new homes. In some cases, however, children are victims of abuse and negligence by their adoptive parents. They don’t deserve to be treated this way, but fortunately, the legal system affords them options to hold their adoptive families and adoption agencies accountable. If you were abused or neglected as an adopted child, or you know someone who was, the adoption abuse and negligence attorneys of Hale & Monico can go to work and bring the responsible parties to justice. We represent adopted children and demand fair and reasonable compensation for their injuries.
Abuse And Neglect In The Adoption System
Most cases of abuse are physical, emotional, or sexual. If you’re an adopted child who was subjected to abuse or neglect, you will need evidence to support your claims about what happened. On the other hand, if you know a child who is being abused or neglected by his or her adoptive parents, there are certain things to look out for. Either way, knowing the signs of abuse and neglect will help substantiate your claims.
Intentionally inflicting physical harm on a child takes many forms. Beating, choking, burning, kicking, punching, and striking are all forms of physical abuse. This may result in cuts, bruises, burns, black eyes, and more. Some physical abuse is so bad that it leaves scars. Although many signs of abuse, such as cuts, can heal, they often leave the victim with psychological effects. That leads to the next type of abuse.
Anything that damages an adopted child’s self-esteem or self-confidence, or causes stunted emotional development, can be considered emotional abuse. Not only does this include behaviors like constantly belittling or berating a child. Physical abuse can leave emotional scars that may take years to heal, if at all. The same is true where adoptive parents intentionally and repeatedly withhold support from a child or unduly criticize the child.
One of the most heinous types of abuse is sexual. Rape, sodomy, child molestation, and exposing or involving a child in pornography are examples of sexual abuse. So is inappropriate discussion of sexual topics with a child. The signs of sexual abuse are many, and include dirty or torn undergarments, development of a sexually transmitted disease, child pregnancy, and more.
A parent who fails to provide for an adopted child’s basic needs is being neglectful. Poor hygiene, inadequate food, and inappropriate clothing are all indicators of neglect. Some children are excessively late to or absent from school. Others are not properly supervised and may get into trouble or expose themselves to drugs or alcohol.
Proving Abuse and Negligence
Proving that you or another adopted child were abused or neglected may require creative thinking. For instance, it seems difficult to show that you were bruised or cut long after the marks have healed. But there may be scars from your injury – physical and emotional – that will last a lifetime. Abuse and neglect have a tendency to cause their victims to suffer for years after they have ended. You may have had to undergo therapy or counseling because of the emotional or sexual abuse you suffered. The neglect you endured may have caused you to develop a disease or other condition that you still have.
Demonstrating the nature of your abuse or neglect is essential to holding the wrongful party responsible and to demanding damages. Abuse and neglect victims may be forced to confront the financial burden of a lifetime of treatment for what they endured. They should not have to shoulder this responsibility on their own.
You can also help if you are the relative or friend of an adopted child who has been abused or neglected. In consultation with an experienced attorney, you can obtain witness statements, video and photographic evidence, and other forms of proof. If the abuse or neglect is ongoing or presents an emergency situation, reach out to law enforcement.
Hiring The Right Adoption Abuse and Negligence Attorney
The attorney you hire in your case will make a difference. Your attorney should have familiarity with the relevant statutes and regulations in Illinois that govern the situation, and should understand the rules of evidence and civil procedure. The right attorney will also identify the potential defendants in a lawsuit. These could include the child’s adoptive parents, the adoption agency that placed the child, and others.
The attorney you hire should also be experienced specifically with adoption abuse and neglect cases. There are numerous steps that are supposed to be followed when a child is placed for adoption. It is likely that the abuse or neglect happened because these steps were disregarded. An attorney will know what to look for in your adoption history and what sort of evidence is required to demonstrate negligence.
Finally, it is imperative that you reach out to a qualified adoption abuse and neglect attorney at your earliest convenience. Statutes of limitation may impose filing deadlines in your case. If the abuse or neglect happened while you were a minor, the statute of limitation could be tolled (delayed). But it’s always best to take swift action, and we will work with you to do so.
Trust Our Adoption Abuse and Negligence Attorney To Fight For The Justice You Deserve
Abuse and neglect are unfortunate realities of the adoption system. Confronting those who have hurt you can be daunting, and only adds stress to your experience. However, you don’t have to take on your abusers alone. Turn to our adoption abuse and negligence attorneys at Hale & Monico. We’ve built a practice around defending the rights of victims, and we can help you seek justice and compensation for your injuries. Give us a call today to speak with our compassionate team.