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Woman offers 4-year-old up for adoption on Facebook

Rebecca Bracken is a news and views writer.






Woman who offered 4-year-old sister for adoption on Facebook provides powerful lesson for mama bears

Adoption is a magical and wonderful thing. It puts the broken pieces back together and makes families. But the most important thing to remember is that in adoption there are no backsies. Someone might have neglected to fill in 24-year-old Mallory Donath on that sticky detail before she took to a Facebook "mamas" group last Saturday night to ask if anyone might be interested in taking her adopted 4-year-old sister off her hands... permanently.

“I need help,” Donath, who reportedly lives in Dubuque, Iowa, posted to the “DBQ Mamas” group. “Does anyone know a family who would like to adopt a 4-year-old girl. My parents adopted her but got new jobs and then have no time for her. I have 3 kids of my own and can not (sic) handle another. Serious inquiries only.”

The post has since been taken down. And yikes!

MORE: Heartwarming adoption photo goes viral

Now obviously this post offering to unload the pesky child didn’t go over so well with the group’s “mamas.” They promptly called the cops and Mallory chalked the whole messiness up to a misunderstanding.

“Let me rephrase,” she posted later, presumably after a visit with authorities. “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.”

Mallory clearly underestimated the mamas’ reaction to her soliciting inquires to rehome a child, as they call it in adoption agencies. But what might have been more helpful would have been if one of the mamas would have offered a little kindness or help instead of trying to teach Mallory some lesson.

Let me explain.

I’m a licensed foster mother and I can tell you from experience that kids who have been separated from their birth families — even under the “best” of circumstances, whatever that means — have suffered tremendous trauma and have needs. Needs for attention and reassurance. These kids are usually high-maintenance kids who require caregivers who are in a position to meet those needs. Mallory sounds a little like a creep in this instance, but with four kids at home, one of which, her adopted 4-year-old sister, probably required a lot of attention, you can grant her a moment or 20 of insanity.

I’m also inclined to give Mallory a bit of slack based on her age — 24. She was a girl with her hands full, that’s all I’m saying. And we've all been there.

Make no mistake, when and if you ever see any hint of child abuse there is no alternative but to report it immediately. But take it from me, cops and government agencies are horrible at helping kids beyond getting them out of immediate harm's way. You know who is really good at helping kids? A bunch of badass mama bears.

Mama bears who whip up casseroles like Minions and load up minivans full of kids for a day at the park like ninjas. Mama bears who show up when their homegirls are getting overwhelmed and take the kids of their hands for the afternoon so they can get a desperately needed mani-pedi. Mama bears who see a kid misbehaving in the store and go ahead and give them the stink eye because, I’m sorry for the corny expression, but it really does take a village.

MORE: Why we adopted children with special needs

I’m not defending Mallory. That baby deserves better and I hope that the mama bears around her will take an interest in what’s going on at her house. Maybe they’ll volunteer to drive her to school next fall and have her favorite granola bars on hand every morning. Maybe they’ll talk to her about what it’s like at home or just give her a quiet place to hang out when she needs it. Or how about a hug and a kiss on the head? Every little girl needs that at least twice a day.

And so I challenge every mama bear out there to look around wherever you are and find the babies that might need a little extra attention and love and be there for them. Sure they’re not yours, yours. But they’re ours. And that’s what we do. And you better believe we make it look good.

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