Jacksonville, Florida -- Thousands of children are adopted from foster care every year, but what happens when something goes wrong?
One family,just a year into their foster adoption, is now living apart because it's not safe forthemto live together.
The McCabes thought they were starting a family when they adopted two young boys from foster care, instead they say theirs was torn apart.
The mother says one of her adopted sons was sexually abusing the other for a year and it could have been prevented.
SheKelly McCabe never expected her family to be perfect... she just wanted it to be forever. Unable to have biological children, she and her husband decided to adopt from the foster care system.
Sure it was different, but she thought it would work for them.
But just months after adopting her two boys in Tampa, that picture perfect image was shattered.
"Shocking. And I just felt very let down... and how are we going to get through this?" she said.
Just 4 and 11 when she adopted them, her sons lived together in a foster care before they came in to her forever family.
She calls them B-Man and J-Man for short. The two seemed to be close, until one day in the bath when her 4-year-old wouldn't stop crying.
He finally confided in her that J-Man, his 11-year-old brother, had been sexually assaulting him since the day they moved in.
"In the beginning, it was hard to just get out of bed some days. But you have to, you have two kids who are depending on you, whose entire lives have been chaos," she said.
She and her husband wanted to lift them out of that chaos. But as a victim of sexual assault in college, she made it clear to the adoptionagency that she could not adopt any kids with deviant sexual behaviors.
She was repeatedly assured that J-Man had no problems, had never in trouble, and would be a perfect sibling for her 4-year-old.
Turns out, that couldn't have been further from the truth.
"They took B-man, who has never been victimized in that way, at all, and put him in a room with a sex offender... who is my other son," she said.
Kelly's lawyer, Richard Filson, started petitioning the adoptionagency for records, as J-Man continued to act out.
In Florida, foster care adoptions are handled through community based partners that contract with the department of children and families.
There's a different agency for each county.
In Jacksonville, it's Family Support Services. In Tampa, where Kelly filed her lawsuit, it's Camelot Community Care.
He says what he found what shocking.
"Record after record after record on J-Man, acting sexually inappropriately with kids, sexual abuse. And it goes on from '05, month after month in '06," said Filson.
Kelly and her lawyer say they never saw one piece of paper that detailed the sexually explicit behavior he acted out on other kids at school and in his foster home until they threatened a lawsuit.
"They didn't give in our disclosure packet, the safety plan, from the Sheriff's Office saying that he could never be left alone with a child in a bedroom, or any room unsupervised. He never should have been adopted by us, we had one bedroom for the boys," she said.
Since they boys are not safe together, Kelly and her husband now live apart.
She lives with B-Man almost an hour away, while her husband lives with J-Man and has him under constant supervision.
She understands that most people can't imagine their decision to keep both of their sons.
"What are we supposed to do? Just cut him out of it? Am I supposed to just not love him anymore?" she said.
Not everyone makes Kelly's decision. Over the pastfive years, 268 children have been returned to foster care after permanent adoptions in Florida.
While it's a very small percentage of the total number of adoptions that stick each year, for the kids and parents, that number is everything.
"It's torn our marriage apart," said McCabe.
No matter the consequence, Kelly says she's committed to keeping both of her boys, to always being their mother.
"If they were my biological kids, I couldn't send them anywhere. And that's the promise I made when I adopted them, for better or worse, that's the promise I made," she said.
The McCabes now have their oldest son in intensive therapy, and while they've made small strides, she says her entire definition of family has changed.
The adoption agency they used contracts with the Department of Children and Families, who stress that dissolved adoptions are a very small percentage of the total number that go through each year.
"The policy of DCF and the agencies that we contract with is to offer full disclosure of information about children to the parents who will be adopting them. However, in many cases, children may not disclose information about any sexual abuse they may have suffered until several years later. Additionally, children may not show signs of mental health issues for several years," said DCF Spokesman John Harrell.
The State Department of Children and Families checks in with the agencies they contract with regularly to ensure compliance.
"We emphasize that no adoption dissolution occurs the same year as the finalized adoption. These dissolutions took place several years after the first adoption, in many cases when the children hit puberty and teenage years," said Harrell.