This is the topic my heart wanted to write about yesterday but I just didn’t have time to do it justice. Then, today I saw a post by a FB adoptee friend on the topic and thought I really need to address this today. These kinds of coincidences always have an impact on me.
After sharing that she still struggles to heal the deep seated abandonment wound within her. She ends her story with “Family preservation. Even if that family is just a mother and her baby. These are the seeds we should be planting today if we want a better future for our children and grandchildren. We can find a better way to care for children whose family won’t or can’t.”
In googling around on the topic, yesterday, I found what is usually the argument against LINK>Fatal Preservation in something called the City Journal. The author, Dennis Saffran is a Queens-based appellate attorney, writer, and former GOP candidate for the New York City Council. Okay, I know. There are situations where the parents are so damaged themselves that they are not good for their own children. No one who cares about kids would suggest that there are not some situations where the children do need to be removed for their own safety. It is true that any good thing can be taken to extremes.
Dennis notes – “It is hard to imagine a more conservative-sounding name for a social policy than family preservation. But in fact, those on the Left who are usually the most hostile to ‘family values’ and parental rights have shaped the policy into its present form and are its most vehement and dogmatic advocates. Family preservation is a classic example of a seemingly sensible and humane liberal reform gone awry because of the ideological single-mindedness of its supporters. The policy now badly hurts those it was meant to help.”
Even so, a rational application of family preservation and reunification efforts by the child welfare agencies in our states has merit. It is true, sometimes parents are not given the time they truly need to address their various issues. A rush to move cases through the courts does cause a miscarriage of what really does need to happen to keep families together.
As a movement, LINK>Family Preservation is actually fairly old (dating back to the 1890s) but has been poorly and improperly applied at times. Family preservation was the movement to help keep children at home with their families rather than in foster homes or institutions. This movement was a reaction to the earlier policy of family breakup, which pulled children out of unfit homes. Extreme poverty alone was seen as a justified reason to remove children.
And that still happens today – poverty is often the main reason that children are removed from their biological, genetic parents. I did like this article in Huffington Post on the topic – LINK>Lifting Families Out of Poverty, One Crib at a Time by Katherine Snider.
She notes – “There are too many stories of need in this country. And nearly all of them start the same way — with the unspeakable stress endured by families in poverty. They tell of parents who reuse disposable diapers; children who are sent home from school for hygiene issues because shampoo and soap are luxury items for a poor family; parents who can’t afford a crib so they put their newborn babies to sleep in a dresser drawer, a hamper, or in a cardboard box. These are the everyday, constant challenges for families in poverty.” Blogger’s note – I was originally put to sleep in a dresser drawer after I was born. That is not abuse, just necessity. I will also note, that although we did use a bassinette, my children never slept in a crib but that is another story for some other day.
One final observation – this country really does not care about families as much as it pretends to. There is a severe lack of resources and the will to supply them does not exist. Money still talks, profit in the adoption industry motivates and adoptive parents still rule over the lives of many children, especially babies, that could have been raised, given adequate supports, by the mothers who gave birth to them (with or without a father present in that household).