What happens when kids deserve better, but the adults they’re relying on can’t– or won’t– make it happen for them?
How long should babies and toddlers have to wait on parents to provide them with the stable and safe homes and nurture they deserve?
Kinship adoption and the family reunification movement seek to prevent children from being separated from their families of origin– a worthy goal when optimal. But what about the kids who don’t have healthy families to return to, or for whom staying with relatives is not in their best interests?
Sadly, the American foster care system is littered with thousands of children who were abused or neglected; whose parents did not get them back; and whose caseworkers were unable to secure permanent adoptive homes for them, for whatever reasons. (Need proof? Visit the http://heartgalleryofamerica.org to see photolistings of waiting kids free to be adopted all across America.)
But what about the children whom we all fail to save? Whatever becomes of them?
Harmony Montgomery Deserved More
The murder of little Harmony Montgomery reminds us what can happen when kids deserve better yet never get it. In June of 2014, Harmony was born to to unmarried parents Crystal Sorey and a felon named Adam Montgomery. The child was blind in her right eye, and within 8 weeks, she’d been removed from her mother and placed in state foster care. Both Crystal and bio-dad Adam Montgomery had been drug addicts. Adam also had a long history of criminal charges that included a violent assault with a firearm. (Harmony first met him in prison more than six months after her birth.) The state still gave both her parents multiple chances to seek custody, which would prove both futile and fatal.
Crystal then had a son, Jamison, by a different father, so Jamison and Harmony were in foster care together at various points before a Massachusetts judge terminated their mother’s rights to both children. Jamison was adopted through the foster care system by a gay couple with two other children. The adoptive fathers inquired about adopting Harmony, also, but learned the courts had returned her to Adam Montgomery and his new wife, Kayla, who then lived in New Hampshire. No homestudy nor interstate (ICPC) supervision was ordered by the court, in an act of shocking judicial oversight.
Harmony’s birthmother last had contact with her daughter via Facetime during Easter weekend of April 2019. In July of 2019, Harmony’s father was arrested for child abuse after hitting her. Jamison’s dads built an open adoption relationship with Crystal, and it was their concern for her lack of access to Harmony that ultimately led to Crystal filing a missing child report in November of 2021. Sadly, by then, nobody could recall having seen Harmony alive since Thanksgiving of 2019. Adam Montgomery has subsequently been indicted for second-degree murder and his wife Kayla was also convicted of welfare fraud and perjury in conjunction with Harmony’s disappearance.
Meanwhile, Jamison and his dads are left to mourn Harmony’s death with her birthmom, knowing it could’ve (and should’ve) been a preventable tragedy.
When Kids Deserve Better, Make It Happen!
Unlike too many adoption agencies who only seek to help parents place newborns, since that’s where consumer demand is most profitable, Abrazo has always remained committed to helping find loving homes for any child in need, whatever their age, race or diagnosis. A visually-impaired five-year-old who’d been exposed to prenatal drug exposure and parental abuse or neglect could easily found a loving adoptive home here. It breaks our hearts anytime we hear of children denied that opportunity.
A scathing blog about the Montgomery murder by the Child Welfare Monitor called for strengthening the federal permanency timeline, rather than repealing it. “Infants and young children placed in foster care should not spend their most crucial developmental period in limbo awaiting a parent’s eventual cure.”
Abrazo respects and supports any loving parent who opts to make a voluntary adoption plan when they know their kids deserve better. Our adoption services are free and confidential for placing parents, and our staff is available around the clock, so call the agency anytime if you or someone you know needs our help.
Because when kids deserve better, it’s up to all of us to help make it happen for them.