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Ohio parents charged after giving up adopted son

  • Cleveland and Lisa Cox, talk to their attorney, as they turn themselves in to the Butler County Jail in Hamilton, Ohio, Friday, Nov. 15, 2013. Authorities say the couple returned their 9-year-old adopted son to the county after raising him since infancy. Both been charged with abandoning the child. (AP Photo/The Dayton Daily News, Ty Greenlees)

CINCINNATI — When an Ohio couple recently gave child welfare officials a 9-year-old boy they raised from infancy, prosecutors said they committed a crime. People within the adoption community say giving up a child after so much time is rare and undermines the lifelong commitment that adopted children require.

"Parenthood is supposed to be forever — not until there are issues," said Sixto Cancel, a 21-year-old Virginia Commonwealth University junior who is also an advocate for adopted and fostered children.

The suburban Cincinnati parents indicted on misdemeanor counts of nonsupport allegedly left the boy with children's services after saying he was displaying aggressive behavior and earlier threatened the family with a knife. Cleveland Cox, 49, and his 52-year-old wife, Lisa, are due in court Wednesday. Neither they nor their attorney, Anthony Vannoy, immediately returned calls for comment.

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

Cancel believes it was up to the parents to get help for their son, even if he didn't want it.

Cancel, of Richmond, Va., said he experienced abuse and never found a good fit, moving from a troubled adoptive home to foster care homes.

As an adoptee, "you need reassurance that you are not alone," he said.

Christopher Hehn, of Greenwood, Ind., said adoptees crave stability. Hehn, 27, was shuffled from foster home to foster home before a social worker adopted him at age 12.

"When the going got tough, it was out the door for me," Hehn said. "But when I was adopted, my mother said it was forever, no matter what. She stuck it out, and I was finally able to trust again."

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