Richard Rodriguez / REUTERS
Anna Barnes was adopted from Russia as a child and brought to the US then subsequently adopted by Lisa and Gary Barnes.
Editor's Note: Today's stories are the second installment in a series of online and broadcast reports on adoption by Reuters and NBC News.
A Texas teenager says that after her adoptive parents gave her away at age 13 to a couple they’d met over the Internet, her new “mom” made an unusual request.
“The first night I had to sleep with the woman, in the same bed with her,” recalled Anna Barnes, now 18. “That was weird, and she wasn’t clothed.”
Anna Barnes is one of the adopted children who was “re-homed” as part of America’s underground child exchange.An investigation by Reuters in partnership with NBC News has uncovered a vast network of adoptive parents who transfer unwanted children – often foreign adoptees – to virtual strangers they meet online in a range of chat rooms.
No law explicitly covers the practice of private “re-homing.” The primary safeguard that does exist is a feeble deterrent - an agreement between U.S. states called the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC).