The Arkansas Times has learned that Rep. Justin Harris and his wife Marsha began the process to adopt a third girl in addition to the two children who were the focus of this week’s cover story about rehoming — an older sister.
We’ve been told she was about
8 6 years old upon entering the Harris home in 2012 along with her younger siblings. Unlike the two girls in our previous story, she evidently left the Harris household long before the adoption was finalized.
Prior to our publishing the story, unofficial sources had mentioned the third girl to the Times but we were unable to substantiate the presence of the third girl in the household. Since the story broke, we’ve been contacted by multiple sources in Northwest Arkansas, some with knowledge of the adoption, who confirm that the Harrises did intend to permanently adopt the third sister as well.
The Harrises’ social media posts also indicate that originally the family contained three girls, not two. Delcie Kincaid, a journalism student in Rogers, has uncovered Facebook posts from Justin Harris that further confirm the third daughter’s presence in the household. In our original story, we said that the girls likely entered the Harris home in September 2012 at the earliest — and indeed on September 13, 2012, Justin Harris posted on Facebook “Marsha and I are now proud parents of 3 beautiful young girls.” See below for a screenshot.
Soon thereafter, though, references to the third girl disappear from Harris’s social media. Another reputable source says the third girl reentered DHS custody sometime later in 2012; the same source confirmed with the Times that the third sister (like the middle girl who was the focus of our cover story) had been subjected to sexual abuse in her original home prior to entering foster care, and that she had substantial behavioral problems associated with such a background. The source also tells us that the girl has since been adopted by another family and is now in good hands, although no other details were provided.
To be clear, this third girl was not rehomed with the Francises in October 2013. By that point, she was long gone from the Harris household — and it appears that her adoption was disrupted through formal DHS channels before it was ever legally finalized. That only adds to the question of why Justin and Marsha Harris rehomed their two remaining adopted daughters with another family rather than returning to DHS.