Let’s talk about domestic abuse and child custody.
For everyone who is convinced that children only end up in foster care and/or adopted because the parents were abusive, guess what? Women in abusive relationships are especially vulnerable to losing custody of their children. Spouses/intimate partners use custody of children as an abuse tactic.
–If you leave me, you’ll never see your children again.
–Filing false/malicious child abuse reports if you succeed in leaving with your children
–Deliberately impoverishing you so you can’t afford to provide for your children to the standard required by social workers
–poisoning authorities against you by using things like depression, addiction, etc. to paint you as an unfit mother
–deliberately getting you pregnant to make you vulnerable and unable to leave the relationship
Domestic abuse services are notoriously underfunded and unsupervised. Unscrupulous providers can get away with neglectful or even downright harmful treatment of the vulnerable women in their care because it’s non-profit, charity funded, and people assume that they’re doing good things.
Someone in an abusive relationship is in the most danger when they try to leave the relationship.
A tactic abusers might use is to always keep one child with them (as a way to make sure you can’t leave without putting that child in danger).
Abusers might explicitly favor one child over another, creating a situation where one child contributes to the mistreatment of the other child.
An abuser might groom a child to make false accusations against you (projecting and protecting themselves, the real abuser).
Of course not all cases are the same, but there are too many situations in which the mom would be a perfectly fit parent, if she just had enough support. All the things that we talk about – help getting a job, affordable daycare with flexible hours, supplemental income for pregnancy and maternity leave periods, actual maternity leave, and in this particular example, trauma therapy/mentoring/emotional support.
Someone who has fled an abusive relationship often has to cut off contact with family and friends. If there are children involved, this might be a requirement from social services (such as: if you move back to that area, you will lose your child because you’re being a bad parent putting them at risk).
That means being especially isolated when you’re already vulnerable and unwell and stressed. If your case goes to court (and many don’t, due to lack of funds or resources or simply not being able to cope), this can trigger more danger for you and your children. Some women successfully flee an abusive relationship with their child(ren), only to have their children taken away later.
Now imagine that you’re a foster carer or adopter in this situation. You’ve been told by social workers that the child was removed from an abusive family and that you’re “rescuing” them. You’re told the parents are a danger to the children. You’re told about addiction and jail time and all kinds of fairy tale reasons why you now have custody of the perfect parentless child who is yours to shape as you will.
You then go onto social media and repost this false story everywhere. Launch fundraisers, complain that your stipend “isn’t that much,” and say that you need respite care because caregiver burnout is so awful and claim you have “Post adoption depression.”
The reality is that you have no idea what the hell these children have been through. You have no idea what their parents’ situation was like.
Case in point – “Most recently I’ve watched a young lady whose abuser isn’t the parent of her children. He manipulated, punished, and such – until he was able to get the two children to their biological father by feeding him false information. This caused the biological father to be able to gain emergency custody and a restraining order against the mother. All while this same abuser has promised he is “going to help her get her kids back so they can be a family.”