Tonight’s SVU did something only this show can: it entertained and riveted, while teaching about a horrific American problem. In this gut-wrenching episode, SVU cast a light on the real-life tragedy of “rehoming”: the practice of giving up adopted kids via Internet chat rooms, and the abuse that flourishes in this blackmarket of thrown-away children.
The SVU detectives are called into a home when it appears that a child has been abducted. In fact, the 7-year-old boy was given up by his mother, without the father’s knowledge. The couple had adopted him from former Soviet state of Georgia, only to learn that he had serious developmental and social problems.
Mom couldn’t take it, so she went to a chat room and met a well-meaning but ditzy middleman who took the child, then promptly gave him to a couple with a false address and a forged home-study. The new family turns out to be pornographers who took the boy to use in their child porn videos.
Olivia and her team eventually track them down to a cheap motel, where they save the boy and three little girls. In the motel room, they also find an infant baby. The infant is unclaimed and sent into the foster care system.
Olivia, who spent a large part of this episode in an exciting but ultimately anticlimactic pregnancy head-fake, looks longingly at the baby as her biological clock ticks ominously in the background.