Child-Abandoning Justin Harris Explains Why He Regifted Unwanted Children
The saga of Arkansas state Rep. Justin Harris keeps getting ... we were going to say "stranger," but no, it started out at Maximum Strange, and everything since then has simply been an accretion of new details.
In a phone interview with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Thursday, Harris explained why he and his wife, Marsha, decided to "re-home" the 3- and 6-year-old girls they had adopted out of foster care with Eric and Stacey Francis, just a few months after the adoption was finalized. Eric Francis is now serving a 40-year sentence after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting the 6-year-old while his wife was out of town.
Like just about anyone who's ever dropped off a dog at the pound because they didn't need it anymore, Harris explained that he had a very good reason for dumping the two girls with the Francis family:
The girls were sent to the Francis home because they had become a danger to themselves and others in the Harris home, Harris said.
"When our adoption became final, we went to the court, the whole family, exchanged teddy bears and everything -- and it was like a light bulb suddenly flipped on for the girls. They knew, suddenly knew, that this was their forever home, and they were no longer ever going back to Mom's house," Harris said. "There was anger and an instant behavior change."
Harris said he sought help for the girls and took them to counseling, but their behavior did not improve.
Well heck, all is forgiven, then! You gave your deeply troubled adopted 6-year-old, who you had been informed had been sexually abused by a member of her birth family, six whole months to get her act together, and she just didn't straighten up and fly right.
Obviously, the Harrises should have paid attention to Pat Robertson, who advised against adopting strange children, because you have no idea where the filthy things have been before they got to you.
Harris didn't explain exactly why he "re-homed" the girls with Francis instead of attempting to place them back with the state Department of Human Services (DHS), which would have been a possible option, according to the investigation by the Arkansas Times. While DHS spokeswoman Amy Webb said the department sees dissolution of an adoption as a last resort, it's also something that adoptive parents are informed of:
"Families who adopted from us would know that if they were having troubles, we want them to contact us. ... It's clear that they know there are options."
Or, on the other hand, you could just go ahead and get rid of the girls with a nice family that has other adopted children and knows how to handle the unruly little beasts, as Harris explained to the Democrat-Gazette:
The Francis family had three children, all by adoption, he said. The Francis family had passed background checks for international adoptions, which are more stringent than those in-state, Harris said.
Francis had also worked for Harris' family-owned preschool, Growing God's Kingdom, for three months and had a clean criminal background check there, Harris said.
This may be the merest nit-picking, and it could be the Democrat-Gazette reporter's error, but it would be truly weird if Harris were citing Francis's three months of employment at Growing God's Kingdom Preschool as a qualification for placing the girls with Francis. The girls went to the Francis home in October 2013, but at the time of Francis's arrest, Harris said that Francis had only worked at the preschool from November 2013 to January 28, 2014, and he had been fired for excessive absenteeism.
Harris insists that he and his family stayed in touch with the girls and also sent any money received from DHS to the Francises to help support them. "We would have never knowingly put a child in harm's way, and anyone who knows us knows that," Harris said.
Of course, the tiny matter of why Harris never mentioned a bit of this a year ago still defies explanation. Nor has Harris bothered to answer any questions from Benjamin Hardy of the Arkansas Times, who broke the story -- perhaps he assumed the Democrat-Gazette reporter hadn't read the Times story? He's scheduled to talk to a local teevee station Thursday night, and we'll stay on top of this guy, for whom Yr Wonkette needs a whole new award that goes well beyond Legislative Shitmuffin of the Year.
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