Sunday, June 3, 2012

Murder & Adoption

This is an unusual story, with the relatives of the victim wanting to send a message that the murder ISN'T related to adoption -- not the usual meme when an adoptee kills an adoptive parent:
George Stevenson grew up in a family that cared for numerous foster children, and after mentoring and coaching boys in youth baseball for years, he decided to adopt a child of his own.

He became the father of an 8-year-old boy and named him Galen, after his brother. As the boy grew older, relatives say, it became apparent that he was troubled, and at one point he had to be sent away to a treatment facility.

Still, they say, none of that could have foretold what happened in late April, when police say Galen stabbed his 43-year-old father repeatedly inside their North Baltimore apartment. George Stevenson died of his injuries, including a punctured lung and severed kidney, this month, and the boy has been charged as an adult in the attack. Galen is 16 now.

George Stevenson's relatives continue to stress, even in the face of his death, that foster care and adoption are important and positive experiences, and they are speaking out to ensure that public perceptions of the institutions aren't tainted by this case. They also still want the best for Galen, calling the killing "an isolated incident."

"We don't want people to think it has anything to do with adoption or kids in the foster care system. That's not the case," said George Stevenson's sister, Rashelle Stevenson-Oliver, who has seven adopted children. "It's an isolated incident, and we hope things work out so that he can get the attention and the help that he needs."

Galen's defense attorney, Elizabeth Lopez, said the allegations were out of character for the teenager. Lopez said one of the boy's teachers told her that he played chess with her every day and was a "great student." Lopez declined to comment further.

Incidents of children killing their parents are rare, including those involving adopted children.


Real Daughter said...

Out of everything in the article, you know what really bothered me? (other than the murder) That the guy renamed an 8 year old. AN 8 YEAR OLD. Wrong on so many levels. said...

I am making some big assumptions but perhpas this child's life would have been different if he had been available for adoption at a much younger age. We allow too many children to linger in foster care and place the rights of the parents above the needs of a child for a safe, secure and loving home. (I saw many sad situtions working as a social worker.)

Anonymous said...

Linda took the words out of my keyboard ;-) ...though it could be a journalistic misunderstanding. It *was* the thing that stood out to me.

-J.D. Humenay said...

I agree with all previous commenters and then some!

If I were to adopt an older child, I would allow them to choose a new name or keep their birth name. At different points in my life, I've gone by different names or nicknames, and they've all ment something to me. (My adoptive parents rename me, so I associate that name with my childhood and my life with them, my nickname and married last name as my late teens/early 20s, and finally my married name - which will be changing shortly - as my current life.)