Child Collecting Foster Adopters Sentenced To Prison
February 16, 2007 11:43 AM EST (Updated: February 16, 2007 12:24 PM EST)
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Some might think a couple who adopted eleven children out of foster care were philanthropists, but when you realize they got adoption subsidy payments of $4256 per month, it is hard to see mere kindness as a motive. And with so many children, a Norwalk, Ohio couple apparently didn’t know what to do, like the old lady in the shoe. So they kept some of the kids in cages made of wire and wood.
Last March a judge decided to terminate their rights to all eleven children, ages 2 to 15, after he determined that at least eight of them had been abused in the Gravelle home.
According to an Associated Press article dated February 15, 2007, Michael Gravelle said, “What do you do with these kids?” He said he prayed for an answer and built cages at the suggestion of social workers. His wife, Susan Gravelle, said the children were never confined as punishment. She claimed the cages were there to protect them. She said one of the children wanted to jump from a second-story window.
Two of the eleven children wrote statements that were read in court. A boy wrote about how grateful he was for his new fosterers. “Because of them I don’t have to steal food,” he said. “I can use the bathroom whenever I want. Never again will I have to sleep in a box.”
A girl’s statement read, “Mom, you walked around like you were God, then whenever you did go places you were Mother Teresa taking in the poor black kids that no one wanted.” She also said that the Gravelles “are grown adults who know the difference between right and wrong. So I ask that they get as much time in jail for as long as my siblings had to be in cages.”
A social worker and others testifying for the Gravelles said the children’s behavior improved because of the cages, which were painted bright red and blue, but the sheriff said the cages were urine stained and lacked pillows and mattresses. One boy claimed to have lived confined to a bathroom for 81 days, and an expert for the defense claimed this imprisonment helped the child.
In any case, the decision has been made as of February 15, 2007. The Gravelles have been sentenced to two years in prison because they adopted so many “special needs” children, that even with $4256 in adoption subsidy payments every month, they didn’t know what to do. Michael Gravelle said when they got into foster-adopting they felt “led by the Lord”. Perhaps if they hadn’t adopted so many kids, it wouldn’t have led to this.