This story right here just breaks my heart all to pieces: an Ohio couple who claims their 9-year-old adopted son threatened them with a knife, has been indicted on charges of abandonment after leaving their 9-year-old adopted son with child welfare officials.
A grand jury charged Cleveland and Lisa Cox, of Liberty Township, OH, with one count of nonsupport of dependents for “recklessly” abandoning their son in late October. The couple, who have cared for the child since he was three months old, faces up to six months in prison and a $1,000 fine if found guilty on the first-degree misdemeanor. The Coxes, who have two other children (both siblings to the little boy they allegedly abandoned), were on the run for several days, but turned themselves in Friday night.
Prosecutor Mike Gmoser acknowledged that, in the past, similar cases have been handled within the children’s services agencies and domestic courts, but clearly the Cox couple’s actions made him feel some kind of way.
“My position is children in general, not speaking to this specific case, do not have a ‘return to sender’ label on their forehead,” Gmoser told the Journal-News. “They are their children for always and they have that duty to support and they cannot abandon without consequences.”
Lisa Cox told sheriffs in August that her son threatened the rest of the family with a knife. She and her husband also told child welfare officials that the child has aggressive behaviors and would not agree to get help—a claim the boy’s guardian ad litem labelled “nonsense.”
“A parent is a parent and a 9-year-old is a 9-year-old,” said Adolfo Olivas, the child’s guardian ad litem. “If your 9-year-old needs help, you get him help. If is not a question of a -year-old wanting it or not.” The “adorable” boy, Olivas added, is very “hurt and confused and traumatized,” and doesn’t understand what his parents have done. His siblings, Olivas added, are probably traumatized, too.
“What does this do to these other kids? You have these siblings and one goes away and doesn’t ever come back because of some behavior issues,” he said. “Anytime you separate siblings in the blink of an eye like that, it’s got to have some bad effect on them.”
But what would you do? Where would you go? Who would you turn to if your child came at you and your family with a deadly weapon? We hear about these cases enough times to know that they can end in headline-grabbing tragedy—with a parent or sibling seriously harmed, or parents, exhausted and at their wit’s end, beating and mentally or emotionally abusing their kids.
But as parents, we know, too, that the prosecutor is right: you can’t send a kid back because you’re tired or don’t want to be bothered anymore or can’t figure out how to get a handle of your kid. Humans—especially little ones—are far from perfect, and as parents, we sign up for the awesomely monumental task of caring for them and teaching them and guiding them and doing what’s right for them and disciplining them and loving them—no… matter… what. This does not change because your child is not blood of your blood or because your kid has behavioral issues.
So I ask again: what would you do?
Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.