In 1975, Genie was returned to the custody of her mother, who wished to care for her daughter. After a few months, the mother found that taking care of Genie was too difficult, and Genie was transferred to a succession of six more foster homes.
In some of the homes she was physically abused and harassed, and her development regressed severely. She returned to her coping mechanism of silence and gained a new fear of opening her mouth. This new fear developed after she was severely punished for vomiting in one of her foster homes; she didn't want to open her mouth, even to speak, for fear of vomiting and facing punishment again.
Genie now lives in a sheltered accommodation in an undisclosed location in Southern California; it is at least her sixth adult foster home. Her mother died in 2003.