NOTE: Readers give the link below a moment to launch. It’s a bit slow. On Friday October 23rd ABC 20/20 aired an investigative piece about two Arkansas parents, Justin and Marsha Harris, who brought three sisters from foster care into their home of five (the Harrises and their three boys). It was a disaster that resulted in the sisters being split up and sent to other homes. Hopefully they will reunite, as well they should. The piece brought back memories of the 1990 20/20 piece on Romanian orphanages.
It would be easy to vilify the Harrises, but this story fits within my own narrative – an entire adoption system that wants nothing but the best for kids but fails them. At worst the Harrises were guilty of naiveté, perhaps over relying on their faith. But some of their statements were cringe worthy, adding to the continuing mystery around adoption. The Harrises three boys were clearly made to feel “grandfathered” into the family whereas the three girls – what? – had to prove themselves (I paraphrase). There was the state social worker that had doubts about the Harrises as a good fit. Then someone “diagnosed” RAD so that explained everything? Who did the diagnosis and how did they know that there weren’t other issues in play?
So many well-meaning people who completely fell down on a very, very difficult job.