Childrearing

If You See Someone Trying To Rehome A 4-Year-Old On Facebook, Please Call The Police

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facebook login screenI am generally a super non-confrontational sort of person. I am totally the person who assumes everything is fine, or that if everything is not fine there is probably some more responsible adult taking care of it. But parenting gives a person a new perspective, ad it’s like, even if you are like 99 percent sure everything is OK and there’s nothing sketchy going on, it might not be a bad idea to make sure. Take, for example, the case of this Iowa woman who posted about rehoming a 4-year-old on Facebook recently. I would have absolutely thought it was a joke, but — spoiler alert — it was not.

According to KWWL, over the weekend an Iowa woman posted a message on Facebook about looking for someone to re-adopt a 4-year-old girl. I would absolutely have taken it for a joke, or a snarky, satirical parody of an ad for rehoming animals. There are a lot of animal rescue advocates on my Facebook page, and I regularly see people posting fake Craigslist ads about “My cat doesn’t like the new baby. Looking to rehome baby.” or responding to posts about boyfriends being allergic to cats by saying, “get rid of the boyfriend.” In my innocence, I would have thought this was the same sort of thing.

“I need some help. Does anyone know a family who would like to adopt a 4 year old girl,” the woman posted to a parenting group on Facebook. “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.”

It’s the “serious inquiries only” line that really makes it sound like a joke to me. But someone less naive than I am saw that post and called the police, and it turns out this woman really does have a 4-year-old adopted sister. She was apparently a bit miffed that people thought she was trying to sell the child and says it was all just a misunderstanding. She wasn’t trying to get rid of a small child, she was just exploring options … by posting a rehoming ad on Facebook.

“Let me rephrase,” she wrote later. “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.”

I disagree. Calling the police sounds like it was pretty much exactly the right thing to do in that case. Police investigated and said the 4-year-old is safe and there was no cause for any charges against anyone, but it’s better to have them check it out than to assume everything is fine and learn later that it wasn’t. Admittedly, it is very difficult these days to find the line between when one should butt out and when one should get involved, but it probably falls somewhere between “unsupervised 11-year-old playing ball in his own yard” and “advertising a 4-year-old on Facebook.”

Photo: Facebook