When a parent’s not a parent

There may be some doubt as to who are the best people to have charge of children, but there can be no doubt that parents are the worst. ~George Bernard Shaw

This month I’ve got a whole run of cases where a parent’s rights may be involuntarily terminated. The purpose of the termination is to free up the children for adoption, some by stepparents, some by foster parents. It’s given me some thought about the nature of parenting, and the needs of children.

What society pictures as the perfect upbringing, I suppose, is that “Leave-it-to-Beaver” family, one mother, one father, 2.4 kids, and they stay together. I sure didn’t have that, and I imagine most people don’t. I lived with my parents till I was 7, my mother till I was 9, then my father and a ragged series of stepmothers. My girls lived with me all along, but experienced a couple of stepfathers and stepmothers over the years. Of course, that creates a whole passel of stepcousins and stepgrandparents and stepsiblings and…

Are more people in children’s lives a better way to go? In my foster care cases, parents were in some way considered inadequate to raise these children now living in foster homes. (For the most part these are not cases of physical abuse.) The foster parents want to adopt and keep the children. So the real parents will be legally excised and tossed aside. While I understand the children are “entitled to permanency,” as the law says, I’m not convinced that throwing their genetic heritage and families away is necessarily the way.

Same with the cases where a parent has really not stepped up to the plate, and a new spouse fills the bill much better.  I’ve done several of these recently. Most of them the child is old enough to voice an opinion and is firmly bonded to the stepparent. So maybe it works out. But it’s still pretty sad.

On the other hand, maybe Hillary Clinton is right. It does take a village to raise a child. We each have a role to play in making sure every child has the best shot at becoming a successful adult in the next generation. Those who are willing to pick up the load and carry it further should be encouraged. Those who have done all they can should be acknowledged. The collective eye should be on the ultimate goal.

The same is true of parenting our special needs children. Certainly we cannot do everything ourselves. Overreaching leads to debilitation of the parent’s ability to care for the child. We need to learn to let others in, to take respites, to share the load and seek out the help that will improve our children’s abilities to cope and learn. For some, that may mean passing the care of the children on to others who are better equipped to handle it. This shouldn’t be a shameful thing, but an honest acknowledgement, as I said earlier, that the parent has given their all. Surely a child can ask no more of a parent than the selfless choice of their child’s benefit over their own.

These are hard cases. The parent and child bond is one created by the fates, and a court seems a cold place to break that bond. Finding a way to create that village, where everyone could pull together and give what they could to support each child… maybe that would be the better way.

15 thoughts on “When a parent’s not a parent

  1. So, are you for terminating parental rights or are you for foster homes? No government agency should be allowed to tell a parent that they’re unfit to raise their child except in extreme cases of neglect and abuse. Sure, all families have problems but the rich are much, much better at keeping those a secret. It’s the poor families who are targeted. CPS is out of control. GAL/CASA workers, judges, court appointed defense attorneys, state attorneys, and every other FOC is just as corrupt, just as out of control as CPS is. They’re all in on it together. CPS fails children on every level. They leave children in filthy, unsafe homes and take children away from safe, loving homes. It’s all for federal money. Anyone involved in the legal kidnapping and selling of our children to foster parents are nothing short of morally bankrupt, criminal and disgusting. God cannot be happy with what CPS and the family court system is doing to families. How many children do you estimate are stolen all because a foster parent put in a special order for them? I imagine the nation would be shocked at the answer to that one.

    • Brenda, I agree that children’s services can be very capricious about interfering in family life. We had a similar situation in our own family where they ignored a situation that was very life-threatening, but I’ve seen them then take kids in far less serious circumstances. I’m not “for” foster homes or “for” terminating parental rights. I often represent parents trying to get their kids out of the system. And I really resent being called a “baby-stealer.” Not my job at all.

    • Where did I call you a baby stealer? I said anyone involved in the legal kidnapping of our children are morally bankrupt. I’m not accusing you of anything, just telling you how I feel. CPS and the family court system is way out of control and those who work FOR them are just as corrupt. That is MY personal opinion. I am not stupid or naive enough to think that real abuse and neglect doesn’t happen. It does and it makes me sick. However, usually CPS has been involved for a long, long time and does nothing. The kids are too damaged to bring in much money on the adoption market.

      Again, where did I call you that name? I reread it 2 or 3 times and cannot find it. You must have me confused with someone else.

      • No, no, my mistake. The first commenter announced that on her site…and many of my recent visitors are coming from there. I understand and often agree with how you feel about children’s services. Thanks for your comments.

  2. “God cannot be happy with what CPS and the family court system is doing to families.”

    Ok, so why hasn’t he fixed it?
    I mean really. If he’s so OP and uber why can’t he fix something , for him, so minor as a legal system that makes him unhappy. And if he can but doesn’t.. well doesn’t say much for him does it?

    • He is fixing it. That’s what we are here for. God is working through all these parental rights activist groups to CHANGE this corrupt, broken system. He gives us the strength to fight another day because without Him to support us, we’d all have given up a long, long time ago. So yeah, God is fixing it by using those who want to bring about change. If He was happy with it, He wouldn’t be using us. Rosa Parks was just one person but look at the impact she made on the civil rights movement. God used her to effect change, just as He is using us.

      The problem we encounter is the pure vileness and evilness of a corrupt, broken down governmental agency that steals kids and sells them out to foster/adopt homes. We aren’t evil and unless you fight fire with fire, you’re doing nothing more than beating your head up against a wall. Change is coming though and it won’t be long either.

  3. Really can’t argue with that… Well no.. I could but that would be a blog in and of its self. You go for it and more power to you. Just watch out for that fire, it can burn you. Just ask those poor little old ladies in Salem Mass.

    • No no. Not arguing. Happens I agree with your mission if not your banner. And I wasn’t calling you a witch. God is always on the side of the ones holding the torch not the ones receiving it.

  4. Oh, okay. I misread it then and I apologize. I’m just so anti-CPS because they fail children on ALL levels. They leave the abused ones in their homes and remove them unjustly from others, all for federal money. It happened to me and it happened to my friends. I do not want to see another family have to suffer the way we have. This is something no parent should ever have to go through. I am not talking about the truly abused and neglected children either. I’m not naive or stupid enough to believe that true abuse doesn’t happen. It does and it infuriates me. I’m just sick and tired of reading in the news every single day about another child’s death at the hands of bio parents and foster parents where CPS was involved and did nothing. Someone has to speak for them and that’s my mission. I want CPS to do its job correctly and there should be no financial incentives to TPR a parent just so the foster care provider can adopt.

  5. Pingback: Be your kids rock | Parenting Help in Massachusetts

Comments are closed.