What Pro-Family Preservation Is And Is Not

I would NEVER advocate for ANY child to remain in an abusive or neglectful environment. That’s NOT what being pro-family preservation is about.

A family is a fundamental institution that provides a sense of identity and feelings of belonging. However, conflicts can affect the functioning of the family, which endangers a child’s development. In homes where there is a high level of conflict between parents, the children are at a greater risk of developing issues with concentration and managing their emotions.

A surprising 70% to 80% of Americans consider their families dysfunctional. While violence, abuse, and neglect are common forms of dysfunction, many families reported feelings of estrangement, emotional disconnection, and non-traditional family structures as well.

This has led to the development of family preservation services to strengthen the community and ensure safe environments for children. The aim is to create good quality parenting that advocates for emotional support and positive reinforcement within families to reduce conflicts.

Family preservation is a movement by state and child welfare agencies aimed at helping families cope with whatever stressors are affecting their ability to nurture children. This movement grew due to the recognition that family separation leaves some lasting adverse effects on the children. It’s possible to protect children from unwarranted traumas by offering information, guidance, and support to parents.

Millions of children worldwide live in care institutions worldwide, but a shocking 80% of kids living in children’s homes have at least one living parent. The increased number of orphanage-style institutions—coupled with an increase in people wanting to adopt babies—has motivated families in vulnerable situations to willingly take their children to the orphanage. Most of the parents who would do this are simply hoping this will give their children a better life.

Although these institutions offer refuge to such children, even the best caregivers can never replace biological families. The separation from family can harm the child emotionally and affect their cognitive behavior. The effects are worse the younger the child is and an infant is as much at risk of separation trauma as an older child. Do not think because they are preverbal that they don’t have an instinct for the mother who gestated and birthed them.

Family preservation services can benefit any parent who needs a non-judgmental environment to learn parenting strategies and other beneficial skills for their families. Typically, all families will face financial, employment, parenting, substance abuse, or illness cycles that affect the bond between members. In such challenging times, rather than giving up on your family, you need the proper support to help you safely stay together.

Much of the above (with some minor modifications from me) came from the source of my image – Camelot Care Center. There is more about their services at the link. I am not recommending them or do I have any complaint against what they do. I simply wanted to address that wishing to see fewer children adopted and more vulnerable families supported does not mean that I do not recognize that some families are in difficult straits for whatever reason. Some of those children will end up being removed. Some of those will be placed into foster care. Others may be adopted. If there is any good quality to their parents, that is where they need to grow up.

What Should Never Be

One might think this only happens in third world countries, children without a stable home being taken in for the free labor they can provide but it happens here in the US too and often through the foster care system.

Read an account this morning about a woman who wants to foster a teen in order to have a live-in babysitter for her younger biological children.   She also expects help with the housework, other chores, as well as help for her business that is baking and selling cookies.  Probably looks at it as another avenue of revenue (foster care stipends) as well.

She expects so much gratitude that the foster care teen now has a roof over their head that they will not require payment for all of the work she expects for free from the unfortunate teen.  And after the teen turns 18 and ages out of the foster care system ?  She’ll simply sign up for another one.

The woman was dumb enough to put her sister down for a reference.  Here’s why that part –

The reference sister is 8 years younger than this cold calculating woman described above.  For two years, the younger sister lived with her older sister and her husband and the two kids, a boy and a girl, who she does describe as typical siblings, mostly no trouble at all but squabble sometimes as siblings always do.

Living with her older sister permanently damaged their relationship.  She felt that her older sister only saw her as free labor, money (forced to hand over half her pay from a small, part time job) and babysitting.  She describes feeling taken advantage of and says those years were HELL.  And even so, she does still babysit for her sister sometimes but does control the amount of time she is willing to give now that she has moved out.

So, I know that children in third world countries are often exploited as domestic labor and I can even understand some expectations in a foster home of at least not contributing to extra household work for the family by keeping picked up after one’s self.  I have read about situations so bad, that the foster parents actually put a lock on the refrigerator and pantry shelves, severely controlling the amount of food a foster child is able to consumed.

Maybe the system is not always broken and there are genuinely caring people doing this for the right reasons but it does seem from all the stories I come across that there are a lot of opportunistic and exploitative people taking in youth with nowhere decent or safe to go and sometimes the unsafe and awful conditions are actually in that foster home.

The Better Option

There is such a thing as privilege.  It is a privilege to have enough wealth that if you can’t have a child naturally, you are able to adopt someone else’s.  Is wealth a better option than keeping a family intact ?  There are cases where a child is going to need a safer environment but no child needs to have their identity erased and cultural heritage hidden from them.

It is weird to grow up with all these relatives and then reach an age in advanced maturity when one knows who their true genetic relatives are.  Both of my parents were adopted.  That means the grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins were never really my relations.  It is a very weird feeling to know that with certainty now.

Of course, I acknowledge that there were these couples who provided for and raised my parents.  They were the people I knew as grandparents growing up and they were without a doubt influential in my life.  Now that I know who the real ones were, they are who I think of when I think of who my grandparents were, even though I never had the privilege of knowing them in life.

One of the expectations is that an adoptee is supposed to be grateful and acknowledge all the sacrifices their adoptive parents made to raise them.  On the adoptees part there is this lifelong requirement to live up to the expectations of the adoptive parent.  I know that my mom felt this and I know that she felt like she had failed to equal those expectations.

All parents expect something from their children but most children are quite free to ignore those parental expectations.  An adoptee often fears being returned to a no-family state if they don’t live up to the expectations of the people who purchased their very lives.

It may be hard to read but it is a real thing for those who’s roots have been cut off from underneath them.