ORLANDO, Fla. – An Orlando-area family claims the Florida Department of Children and Families broke the law when a child was not placed in their home with his biological brothers.
Brandon and Thomas Feinsod said they adopted their sons Gio and Benny — biological brothers — five years ago.
“My kids are the most important thing in the world,” Brandon Feinsod said. “Literally, when I kiss my kids good night I say, ‘I love you more than anything in the whole world.’”
The couple said they found out that the boys’ biological mother gave birth to another child and decided to find a new home for him.
They said they jumped at the chance to keep the biological brothers together.
“One thing that they had was each other. They were siblings. They’ve had each other since the beginning,” Brandon Feinsod said. “So, when the opportunity for their younger brother to come and live with them and be raised with them, we felt like that had to happen.”
They said they applied to adopt the child, and they also began a plan to transition the child to live with them permanently.
That plan resulted in the child spending nights at their home, they said, and his older brothers bonding with him.
Then, the couple said they hit delays.
Soon after the Florida Children’s Home Society in Orlando took over managing the adoption last year, the Feinsods said they got a call telling them the child was being adopted by a foster family, and not them.
“It crushed us. It was awful,” Thomas Feinsod said.
“We already met him. We already spent time with this boy. He had already spent the night in our home,” Brandon Feinsod said. “He had already met his siblings, and we were all falling in love.”
On Monday, the Feinsods filed complaints with DCF’s Inspector General, where they claimed workers with the agency broke the law.
According to their complaint, they said workers failed to abide by Chapter 39 of the Florida Statute.
“DCF must make all efforts to keep siblings together in accordance with Florida statue,” the complaint reads.
“There were never any motions, status updates or oral positioning from the DCF attorney regarding attempts to place the minor child with his siblings,” it reads. “DCF never objected, at any point, for the minor child to be adopted out to another family outside of his five other siblings.”
The Florida Children’s Home Society told News 6 they take all allegations seriously, although they had not seen the Feinsods’ complaints.
“It’s important to remember that there are many entities and complex factors involved in every case,” a spokeswoman said.
The Feinsods said they now use the garage to store all the things they had hoped to use in the child’s new bedroom.
“We don’t have any hope left of this working out for us,” Brandon Feinsod said. “At this point, it’s really just all about making sure — if we can do anything to make sure — that nothing like this ever happens to another family ever again.”
DCF has not yet responded to repeated attempts by News 6 to get an explanation for what is alleged to have happened.
The Feinsods said they plan to put pressure on lawmakers in Tallahassee to get new procedures in place.
They said they want social workers to be required to prove to judges that sibling groups have been contacted before adoptions are finalized.
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