How could a nation that has so much, so very much, end up with the problem of neglect? It isn’t that we have too little; we have an overabundance of excess. Some of our children are gifted beyond their years in terms of electronics, clothing, and materialism while others don’t know what care and stability are.
As an overwhelmed child protective system worker packs a child’s life up in a pillowcase, readying them for a move to an alternative placement, protesters march against an abortion clinic damning workers and clients to a fiery death. Finding a home for a healthy, newborn is easy. Finding a home for a child with a disability is not. Every delayed adoption of a child prolongs their chaos and uncertainty, delaying their right to stability and peace; all to honor the rights of their unfit, unstable, or uninterested “birth” parents. And the overwhelmed, unproductive children’s protective system continues in another cycle of confusing child-parental visits that ignore the needs of the child and potential adoptive parents. We cannot continue to “attach and rip” connections from a child and expect them to bond with fellow adults later in their lives. How many times should anyone grow in an environment, be removed, become comfortable in an environment, be removed and placed somewhere different, and expected to settle in again?
Our system does this to children again and again while they are growing; all in the name of family reunification. It doesn’t matter if the child is moving into Grandma’s home; it is still a loss of his home surroundings and a readjustment he must experience. Now, place mom or dad in and out of the picture numerous times and let’s see how well this child can do in school? How is it that with so many collective resources, we can get this so wrong? Petitions fill courtrooms asking for consideration as adoptive parents, but overworked childcare workers are unable to complete home studies, preventing adoptions from occurring and leaving children stuck in revolving placements.
Why are we not holding our legislature and judges accountable for our child welfare system today? Why are we willing to let children languish in foster care systems for years? Part of the problem is that the child welfare system is completely unworkable; children are in the system for too long. We are raising a generation of children who are unable to attach; they have stopped loving people to protect themselves. And can you blame them? A lifetime of bad parenting and even worse foster care homes has taught them that they cannot allow themselves to love people. So we have children that don’t longer understand love and care, don’t understand hugs and comforting touch, children that have been sexualized and victimized instead of raised, supported, and disciplined.
Celebrities parade to foreign countries working to provide better schools, homes, food and water supplies while inner city children live in fear, unable to go to playgrounds. People read news stories about hurt or injured animals and a list immediately forms of available adoptive families; a child killed by abuse receives a small mention on page 7. How can we not react to a child in need? Are all children in the foster care system today unlovable? NO. But we need to get to them before they become a victim of the system and remain there too long. Before their birth parents’ needs become more important than their own. Before they lose the ability to laugh, cuddle, look at life with interest, want to become a part of something. Pray for them. And pray for the system that something happens soon.
Then vote. Look at who is not doing their job. And hold them accountable. Someone has to take care of our children before it is too late, for all of us. We will pay the price of not loving our children.