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Court papers: Adopted Ohio boy not told he'd be given up

By Lisa Cornwell

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 05:01 p.m. HST, Nov 27, 2013

HAMILTON, Ohio >> A couple accused of abandoning the adopted 9-year-old son they raised from infancy didn't tell him they were giving him to child welfare officials, according to documents filed by a prosecutor.

Court documents filed in Butler County Common Pleas Court in Hamilton say the boy's mother thought he was a threat to the family's safety.

Lisa Cox, 52, and her husband, Cleveland Cox, 49, pleaded not guilty today to misdemeanor charges of nonsupport of dependents.

Authorities allege the couple, from Butler County's Liberty Township, left the boy with children's services after saying he was displaying aggressive behavior and earlier threatened the family with a knife.

Documents filed by the prosecutor say the parents didn't tell the boy when they left him with children's services on Oct. 24 that he wouldn't be returning home. The boy believed he was going to a hospital to be "fixed," according to the documents.

The boy was left with a bag containing some clothes and a handwritten letter from Lisa Cox in which she said that she loved him and would never forget him.

"It breaks my heart that you can no longer be a part of our family," she wrote.

She also said she was praying that God would take care of the boy and would find the "perfect family" to love him.

County prosecutor Michael Gmoser declined to comment on Wednesday. The couple's attorney, Anthony VanNoy, said the case involves "very difficult issues."

The couple also had been scheduled for a hearing in juvenile court Wednesday on a civil complaint filed by the county's children's services agency. The magistrate granted VanNoy's request to delay that hearing until after the criminal case is concluded.

National adoption advocates say failed adoptions or dissolutions are rare in cases in which children were raised from infancy and such discord seems to occur more often with youths adopted at older ages.

People within the adoption community say they worry about emotional trauma to the boy. They say giving up a child after so much time is rare and undermines the stability and commitment that adopted children need.

Attorney Adolfo Olivas, appointed by the court to protect the boy's interests, declined to comment Wednesday. He has said the emotionally hurt and confused child is now receiving help that the parents should have gotten for him.

Each parent could face up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine if convicted. Trial is scheduled for Feb. 10.

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mikethenovice wrote:
Kid does not have a HI5 stamped on it. Life is precious.
on November 27,2013 | 07:01AM
ryan02 wrote:
Why, exactly, is this a "crime"? It's not like they abandoned the kid in the forest or something. It may be "uncaring" at most -- but if biological parents have the option of "abandoning" their kids to social services (i.e., putting the kid up for adoption in the first place), then why don't adoptive parents have the same option? If the states are going to prosecute adoptive parents who give up their adopted kids, the states better start prosecuting biological parents who give their kids up for adoption too. This will only discourage adoption in the first place (which is supposed to be an alternative to abortion -- and Ohio, of all places, have some of the strictest anti-abortion laws in the country). What a stupid prosecutor.
on November 27,2013 | 07:04AM
awahana wrote:
According to the law, once the court grants you adoption, its no different than abandoning your own flesh and blood. Please familiarize yourself with the law before posting your incorrect opinion.
on November 27,2013 | 07:37AM
ryan02 wrote:
Maybe you didn't read the article, where it said the kid was given to child welfare officials, and not abandoned in the woods? And people are allowed to put their flesh-and-blood kids up for adoption. After all, isn't that the preferred alternative to abortion? So it IS legal for biological parents to do just this very thing. Otherwise, please tell Ohio to inform pregnant women that if they choose adoption instead of abortion, they risk prosecution.
on November 27,2013 | 08:11AM
RetiredWorking wrote:
awahana, best you recheck which law you're referring to. Failed adoptions are not a crime in Hawaii. I know that for a fact, as I work in that field. FWIW, there's no such thing as an incorrect opinion. Everyone's opinion is real to them, even thoIt might be wrong according to others and the law.
on November 27,2013 | 09:22AM
kuniagirl wrote:
Adoptive parents don't get the support that foster parents do (which is not saying much, I know). If a child is in the system, there are mental health resources available, whereas for adoptive parents, you're like any other parents...you're on your own. I'm not commenting on this particular case, given that they had the boy since he was an infant. But I know that some foster kids have a lot of anger and trust issues (for good reasons) that still need to be dealt with after the adoption papers are done.
on November 27,2013 | 07:58AM
nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
Do these foster parents even have any kind of supervision? It seems like these parents did not just all of a sudden decide that it was not working out. I kind of wonder about some of these foster parents. It seems like they take in the kids just to receive another income. If there was supervision, something is wrong when all of a sudden these parents just dump the kid at their steps. If that's the case, they need to change their procedures because it ain't working.
on November 27,2013 | 09:27AM
RetiredWorking wrote:
nodaddy, please read the article. These were adoptive parents, NOT foster parents. Big difference. In Hawaii, child welfare laws are different. It is NOT a crime when the adoption fails. Of the thousands of cases I've read into, only a handful were failed adoptions. I've seen biological parents give up their 14yo child, for fear of what that violent son would do to his 3yo and 5yo siblings. Go ahead, you be the judge. And taking in a dangerous kid? Would you jeopardize your family for $529 a month?
on November 27,2013 | 04:17PM
Anonymous wrote:
nodaddy, foster parents do have accountability, and social workers are mandated to visit each foster child at least once a month.
on November 27,2013 | 05:12PM
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