Family separation has taken on a new meaning in the current government administration. Many of my friends and myself included are horrified at the barbaric and cruel images of what is being done as we witness these.
Rainer Maria Rilke wrote – “Every happiness is the child of a separation, it did not think it could survive.” I think in the context I am considering, one could not equate happiness with separation.
Family separation means something different in my life. It means my parents being taken away from their mothers. It means families so broken they cannot be put back together again. There is so much damage done when any baby is taken away from the mother who’s womb that child developed within.
Activists and reformers within the adoption world are hoping to see the common place separations end. We seek stronger safety nets for mothers with children with no judgement applied. It is not about how hard the mother works or how well she does trying to provide for her children but about the children themselves. Seeing that children grow up in safe spaces with loving relatives with enough to eat and enough usable clothing to wear. With a roof over their heads to protect them from the environment.
This is really not so much to ask of society and especially the wealthier members of our society – that we each accept a responsibility to the future generations of human beings on this planet.
Recent advances in the science of brain development offer us an unprecedented opportunity to solve some of society’s most challenging problems, from widening disparities in school achievement and economic productivity to costly health problems across the lifespan. Understanding how the experiences children have starting at birth, even prenatally, affect lifelong outcomes—combined with new knowledge about the core capabilities adults need to thrive as parents and in the workplace—provides a strong foundation upon which reforms can be created.
Not all stress is bad, but the unremitting, severe stress that is a defining feature of life for millions of children and families experiencing deep poverty, community violence, substance abuse, and/or mental illness can cause long-lasting problems for children and the adults who care for them. Reducing the pile-up of potential sources of stress will protect children directly (i.e., their stress response is triggered less frequently and powerfully) and indirectly (i.e., the adults they depend upon are better able to protect and support them, thereby preventing lasting harm). When parents can meet their families’ essential needs stress can be reduced rather than amplified. Families are better able to support a healthy development in their children.