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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Vulnerable Among Us

This subject has been weighing heavy on my heart, before the latest fiasco in Haiti came about, with the supposed "missionaries", taking advantage of a terrible situation.

Children are our most precious gift from the Lord. Children are not given to us by accident. No life, NOT ONE is ever a mistake.
Children are also totally vulnerable to those who have been entrusted with their care.

But there is another vulnerable group. We don't often look at them.
They are the parents. They are the frightened teenager who just found out she was pregnant.
They are the poor parent, as in Haiti, who's home has fallen down. They are the poor peasant in Russia who's life is hard, and they have little money. They are the parents who's child will be born with a disability.

There are many vulnerable times in the life time of a parent, where in the timing of a tragedy, or perceived tragedy, a coerced decision is made under pressure. Everybody knows, you shouldn't make a financial decision under pressure, with the smiling salesman wanting you to sign on the dotted line so you can drive home in a dream car.
The same should be for the parent who is pressured to make lifelong decisions, not only for their own life, but for the life of their child.

Why is it automatically assumed or accepted that a young mother, if she is single, should just give her baby away? In a perfect world, it is of course a best situation for a baby to have a mother and a father.... but we don't live in that world.
In a perfect world, it would also be nice to buy your baby designer clothes and make sure a swimming pool and horseback riding lessons were are on the future agenda, but for 99% of the world, that just isnt' the case.

So does that mean that 99% of the world, isn't fit to parent and only the richest that live among us should be allowed to raise children?

That seems to be the attitude of the "missionaries" who took children in Haiti. They actually approached parents who had children and told them that THEY would give them a better life, promising education, housing and even a swimming pool! (according to Wall St. Journal Article) Tragically, parents who were already
traumatized from the last couple of weeks, gave their children to this group, with the understanding they would probably never see them again. The children were sad and crying and didn't want to be away from their parents.
Could you imagine strangers coming up to your parents and doing this, and being handed over to a stranger to go to another country?

Children are not THINGS. They are connected to their parents. They LOVE their parents.
If these people were really "missionaries", why didn't they go to Haiti and offer to help the parents with food and shelter so that they could rebuild their lives? Why did they not preach the gospel to the parents?

What about the teenage mother? If she wants to keep her baby, which many DO; why do we not help the family? Why do we not help her to stay in school, finish her education and give her aide in taking care of her baby, until she can get on her own two feet? There are many wonderful young mothers who have raised their children well. Not every teenager who gets pregnant is a party queen. One such young lady I know of just got married to a wonderful man. Her daughter was in the wedding and was so excited to be getting a daddy.

I am bothered by the agencies who cater to richer couples who cannot have children, that seem to have a steady stream of young girls who give their babies for adoption. I saw a documentary on this, and I was apauled at the "counseling" given. It was more like a pressure session to convince a girl for 7 months that she would not be able to parent this baby and give the baby all it deserved, making her feel selfish for wanting to keep the baby.
It is NOT SELFISH to want to keep your own baby. It just isn't.
It would be selfish to not take care of your baby. But if you want to parent your own child, that is not a selfish act. It is a sacrificial act.

I am disheartened to find out that there are unscrupulous agencies working world wide to get parents to give children up for adoption, and this is really bothersome. We have enough REAL orphans in the world, without creating an "orphan industry".

How pompous of us to tell somebody they are selfish to keep their own baby if they are poor.
I was in that very position many years ago. My family stepped up and helped me through a very difficult period of time. But what if instead, somebody had told me I was selfish for keeping my children? How horrible to do to somebody!
Adoption is a WONDERFUL thing under the right conditions. Of course we have been blessed by adoption. But I would be horrified if I felt my girls had been sent to an orphanage out of coerscion.
And what about the guilt of the birth mother who is pressured to the breaking point? What about the child who has all the questions about why?
Adoption has more than one face. It is about LOSS AND GAIN. Because of somebody else's loss, we have gain, yet our children always have that loss in their history.

If we REALLY want to help families.... then help them stay intact FIRST.
Then the children who really need adoption services can be helped and we won't be creating a business built upon greed, heartache and disaster.


Diana said...

I'm so with you on this. Our first encounter with the dark side of adoption was from a guy who blatently admitted he was in the adoption business FOR PROFIT. Translation: He was preying on vulerable couples who couldn't have children (he tried to prey on us) promising couples the wind, and then selling those children to the highest bidders.

I can't even go there on the lifestyle these girls were treated to in exchange for placing their babies. Long story short, it's a lifestyle I couldn't afford for myself and there was no room to change their minds - for if they did, they had to repay the adoptive families for the lavishness of the lifestyle they'd just lived. Most of these girls didn't have $5.00 to their names...let alone the $15,000 it would take to repay.

I'd like to take the issue of single mothers one step further, though. Let's first of all teach abstinance in our schools, in our churches, and most importantly, in our homes! Teach about the emotional, psychological, and physiological consequences of sex. In a nutshell, let's teach kids how NOT to get pregnant in the first place and that there is wisdom in waiting for the right time, the right person, and the right place.

And should they still choose otherwise and find themselves pregnant, then counseling needs to includ ALL their viable options. I don't believe abortion is a viable option...and nor are it's consequences well published or discussed. That's a topic for another day, though. But young girls do need to be lovingly taught about the realities of raising a child, they need to be taught HOW to parent their children, the possibility of marriage to the baby daddy (along with it's realities) needs to be explored, and adoption needs to be taught as the sacred and beautiful option that it is.

Claire said...

I agree with you,families should be helped to keep there children if they possibly can, but adoption is wonderful too.

I thought you might to hear about a scheme in the UK which keep both of these in mind. I know that Social services here are by no means perfect but this are a step in the right direction.

Special guardianship enables looked after children to have many parents and more people who love them and are involved in their up bringing. The foster parents gain parental rights, but the biological parents retain their's as well.

Tim said...

Not that its directly related, but have you seen the movie "Born Into Brothels"? It came out in 2004 and won the Academy Award for Best Documentary. I think that it is one of the best documentary features ever made and I strongly recommend it. Its rated R (nothing terrible considering the subject, but not for children), and if you decide to rent it, be sure to watch the special features as the follow up footage is powerful.

:)De said...

Well said! Our vision has to be wider that just seeing the "poor little child", but to see a person that has roots.

Ivy said...

I totally agree with you! My counsel concerning single mothers is always the same, "STEP UP TO THE RESPONSIBILITY! ...and enjoy the blessing!" Voluntarily abdicating ones God-given role as parent I just don't think can be honoring.

Christie M said...

I have seen that documentary. In fact, we own it. :)

Christie M said...

I agree that more needs to be done on empahasizing abstinence until marriage. There was a study that came out today that was surprisingly in favor of abstinence based education. The stats for Jr. High kids were astoundingly favorable, in comparison to giving birth control info. And, the study didn't even say, "wait till you are married, but wait till you are ready, and they still had great results.

Within the Christian community however, we need to really re think what we are doing when we condemn abortion, yet don't support and encourage a young mother to care for her baby. We are a "get rid of the evidence" society, and it is just wrong.
When I was young and pregnant, I went to a family planning place because I thought they helped you "plan your family". I was married, and thought, great, they'll help.... LOL
I was soooo Naive! They chastized me for wanting to keep my baby as a MARRIED WOMAN!
When I was pregnant with our youngest son, I went to a Catholic Charities place for a pregnancy test. The difference was astounding. I had 3 little boys with me, and they were so nice. They told me, whatever you need, formula,diapers, clothing, crib, we have it, and we will help you to raise your baby. I didn't use their help really , but it sure felt good to be accepted and not thought of as crazy for loving your babies.

Unknown said...

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Susan a.k.a Lucy said...

Well done, sister of my heart (-:

The largest(and Christian) agency in the USA (possibly the world)used to pride itself on how it "provided" at "no cost" the the unwed mother, fostering for her child for the first 6 weeks. That sounds on the surface to "generous" of them. You and I both know, that bonding with a baby is important. The agency doesn't encourage "bonding" because bonding might result in the "couple" not getting "their" baby. Of course they would not cop to this as the motive, but it is the reality regardless.

This of course, breaks my heart, this is not giving girls a fair shot at knowing what they are missing, what they should be by natural inclination, desiring. Of course the girl/mother is a by product, it is the baby, the commodity that is most important.

Many have said and said well, that it is no longer about finding homes for orphans but rather finding babies for infertile couples. (and I feel for the infertile couples, they have real grieving and pain)

On another note, many folk seem thrilled with these programs in the schools where the young folk have to take care of a "fake" baby, who cries for hours, who is a "hassle" and who cramps the teens lifestyle as a way to show them they are not ready to parent. This bothers me. What are we saying about parenting, about children? What a pain they are, how difficult they are. These plastic babies (or raw eggs in some programs) don't have any reward to the kids, they only present annoyance. Are these young folk going to just turn around this view and experience once they are out of high school? will the lesson be forgotten and now automatically children are a good thing? How many might it help to decide for abortion because they don't want the hassle OR the "ruined" figure?

We as believers need to think really THINK about these things and challenge others to do so as you Christie are doing so wonderfully! Love you lady.

The Next Page said...

Good blog. The mess in Haiti is a good example of finding kids for infertile couples.

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