The sad case of Tom and Janice Colella {"Adoption Gone Awry: Psychotic Child Disrupts a Household," Jan. 5}, the California couple who waited four years to adopt a son who was, unbeknownst to them, a "dangerous sociopath," points out a reality that must be remembered in the field of adoption: some children are not adoptable. Sometimes, it seems, public agency adoption professionals forget this and, in their understandable desire to find a home for a child, misrepresent facts or otherwise mislead prospective adoptive parents regarding a child's history. Fortunately, this is far from the rule, but it does happen.

In 1986 the Ohio Supreme Court awarded $125,000 to a couple who adopted a baby boy who they believed to be healthy. It turned out, however, that the public agency had information suggesting the child was of low intelligence and at risk of disease, information that this agency failed to share with the adopting parents. In its decision the court wrote that "just as couples must weigh the risks of becoming natural parents, taking into consideration a host of factors, so too should adoptive parents be allowed to make their decision in an intelligent manner" (Burr v. Stark County Board of Commissioners, 491 NE2d 1101, 1986).

Hopefully the case of the Colellas will help adoption professionals and adoptive parents realize that some children aren't meant for some parents, some parents aren't meant for some children, and some children probably aren't meant to be adopted. Such a realization will help everyone in the adoption field appreciate the limits of the very good work going on around the country to find adoptive homes for special needs children.

Jeffrey Rosenberg

Director for Adoption Services

National Committee for Adoption


Gun Control (Cont'd)

Recently a reader wrote in stating that handgun control was unnecessary because there were "only 17,000" handgun fatalities during 1985.

Someone should inform him that this figure far exceeds that of Japan, Canada and Western Europe combined. This figure does not include thousands more who were robbed or wounded at gunpoint.

He also states that homicides are in a long-term decline. He should have read the Prince George's Journal headline on Nov. 24, which claims, "Latest Deaths Break Homicide Record."

I honestly believe strong handgun laws are a necessity.

Kay Beggs

Langley Park

When I began my work as a rape victim counselor back in 1972, the prevailing public attitude was that women should prefer death to being raped. Even the criminal laws reflected this attitude by requiring victims to resist to the point of injury or death. Fortunately, over the past 17 years both attitude and laws have changed. It now appears that the National Rifle Association is alone in its adherence to the "better dead than raped" mentality.

Mary Ann Largen


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In last week's story about football and intelligence, a play in the 1975 National Football Conference championship game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Minnesota Vikings was described incorrectly. It was Drew Pearson who caught the winning touchdown pass from Cowboy quarterback Roger Staubach.