Parents face charges for abandoning adopted boy

An Ohio couple that returned their 9-year-old adopted boy to child services because of his 'aggressive behavior' pleaded not guilty to charges of nonsupport of dependents today.

Ty Greenlees/The Dayton Daily News/AP
Cleveland and Lisa Cox talk to their attorney, as they turn themselves in to the Butler County Jail in Hamilton, Ohio, Nov. 15. Authorities say the couple returned their 9-year-old adopted son to the county after raising him since infancy.

A U.S. couple accused of abandoning the adopted 9-year-old son they raised from infancy by giving him to child welfare officials pleaded not guilty today.

Cleveland Cox and Lisa Cox, are charged with nonsupport of dependents. Authorities allege the Ohio couple left the boy with children's services after saying he was displaying aggressive behavior and earlier threatened the family with a knife. Trial is scheduled for Feb. 10.

A defense attorney and prosecutor declined to comment after the hearing. The couple was scheduled to be in juvenile court later today for a pretrial hearing regarding custody of the child.

Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser has said there are legal consequences to what he called "reckless" abandonment.

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.

The executive director of the Washington-based Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, Kathleen Strottman, said she is concerned about the boy's wellbeing but also worries the threat of criminal prosecution could discourage adoptive parents from seeking help.

"I'm hoping that ultimately there was a good cause for this prosecution," she said. "What everyone wants is a child protection system that first and always stays focused on the needs of the child."

National adoption advocates say failed adoptions or dissolutions are rare in cases where the child was raised from infancy, and such discord seems to occur more often with youths adopted at an older age.

There seems to be less trauma in children placed with adoptive parents as infants, but emotional and behavioral issues can surface long after adoption, Strottman said.

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.

As an adoptee, "you need reassurance that you are not alone," said Sixto Cancel, a junior at Virginia Commonwealth University who said he said he experienced abuse and never found a good fit in foster homes. Cancel now advocates for adopted and fostered children.

Greg and Robin Smith, another Ohio couple, last week adopted four siblings – ages 5 to 12 – who they cared for as foster children for several years.

Ms. Smith acknowledged some anger and other issues among the children stemming from earlier experiences.

"But you just can't give up on children, not matter how hard the situation is," she said.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to Parents face charges for abandoning adopted boy
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today