The System and Society That is Failing Our Most Vulnerable

I am a Christian. I am pro-life. I believe in the right of every child to have the kind of start in life where they are wanted, loved, and treated as the precious commodities they are.

As a Guardian ad Litem volunteer, however, I’ve seen what happens when a child is born to someone who doesn’t care. I’ve seen the heartbreaking result of children that are not conceived in love, but rather, serve as reminders of the biological aftermath of unprotected sexual activity.

I have far too many examples, and they extend beyond the sometimes complicated, but sympathetic cases of parents that became overwhelmed, or made mistakes.

I’ve seen parents go to great lengths to correct mistakes, enroll in parenting classes, whatever is required to get their children back in the home.

Then I’ve seen cases like that of Baby “B.”

Baby “B” came into the world, not swaddled in the joy and love that newborns deserve, but addicted to the crack cocaine his mother had bombarded his system with for the entirety of his development in the womb.

A year earlier, his brother, Baby “G” was born the exact same way.

For that matter, all of his siblings shared the same early affliction. Baby “B” was the fifth child born to an addict. Each one born addicted. All five siblings are flung to the wind, tucked away with whomever would have them.

While Baby “B” languished in the NICU of the local hospital, tiny body in the grips of withdrawal from the drugs the medical staff were working to rid his system of, his mother abandoned him, leaving the hospital against the recommendations of the medical staff, and not even taking time to finish her newborn son’s birth certificate.

Subsequent attempts to reach the mother or father, in order to get them to take responsibility have been met with what can only be described as complete resistance. They eventually became unreachable.

They just didn’t care.

Meanwhile, Baby “B” continued on in the NICU, for days, weeks, and there was no one to hold him but nurses and the occasional social worker. He had no home.

Every child should be wanted. This is no way to begin life.

Indeed, to start off in life addicted, desolate, and alone does not make for the kind of nurturing environment a child needs to go on and become a successful, productive member of society.
The pro-abortion crowd would jump all over this as proof that abortion is necessary to assure there are no unwanted children.

A macabre conclusion, but there it is.

The pro-life movement, however, tells us that each life is special, priceless, and worth saving. The worth of life is not in how it begins, but simply because it is.

So what do we do? The story of Baby “B” is not an anomaly. Sadly, it is going on every day, somewhere in this nation.

Barring some draconian system where “undesirables” are sterilized by the state, it would seem a change in the system of child welfare is in order.

As it now stands, the system will take a year to allow for respondent parents to fall in line with a mandated parenting plan, the top goal being reunification.

Having been involved in the system for several years now, I can see the wisdom in giving parents a chance to take classes and clean up their act, in order to bring their kids back into the home.

When the children are old enough to grasp that their living situation has changed, the emotional upset of being pulled from the only life they’ve known – even if it’s in their best interest – can be immeasurable. While the department works with the parents to create a safer, healthier environment in the home, too often the children don’t understand.

Creating channels that allow for parents to fast track their progress and cutting through the red tape of the family court system would benefit all involved.

How does that happen?

Set up a system of separating the less severe cases from those more complicated cases, pushing through those that can be taken care of more quickly, and freeing up court time to tackle those that raise more serious concerns about child welfare.

I’ve seen cases on the verge of completion be postponed and pushed back on court dockets for months, simply because they were so close to being finished, in order that the court could make room for the more complicated cases.

Maddening.

And while families and children are suspended in limbo, the system buckles under the weight of the backlog.

In the case of Baby “B” and his older brother, Baby “G,” the respondent parents simply didn’t want the responsibility. They refused to cooperate, and even disappeared, to avoid dealing with caseworkers who think one more home visit, one more call will turn a light on inside them.

If someone is telling you they do not want their child – believe them!

If someone has a long and twisted history of drug addiction, to go along with a thick criminal record, you’re not going to turn them into a model family.

I do believe some time should be taken in finding adequate, safe placement for the children, but the idea that a year’s worth of time and resources should be spent on trying to get uncooperative parents to fall in line is ludicrous. It also denies the children an opportunity to settle into a place to finally call “home.”

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve seen miracles. I believe that people in the throes of addiction can rehabilitate. They can recover their lives and go on to be good parents. It’s not impossible, but they have to want it. They have to be willing to put in the time and effort to make it so.

Ultimately, however, we will have these struggles until there is a change in the culture.

We have become a culture that devalues life and responsibility is abhorred.

While abortion rates have fallen in recent years, due mainly to the close of many abortion centers, just the fact that abortion is still being pushed as a legitimate form of birth control suggests that there is something desperately sick in the heart of the nation.

Popular media pushes the drugs, alcohol, and promiscuous life as the way to belong. All three are a recipe for creating life without the benefit of love and personal responsibility.

In fact, self-respect has gone from pushing to achieve academically, on the job, or in social outreach, to how many “likes” you can get on your “selfie” on social media.

This obsession with self and hedonism has created a toxic mix of societal sludge, and children are being forced to live in it.

Changing a sick culture, unfortunately, cannot be achieved through legislation, but only through a change of heart.

Until people begin to put their selfish desires away, deny their flesh nature, and remember Psalm 127:3 (NKJV) – “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward” – we will continue to have more Baby “Bs” and Baby “Gs.”

Speaking of the brothers, both are in loving foster homes, now. Baby “G” is awaiting the end of his case, so the couple who have had him since four days after his birth can adopt him.

He is thriving.

Baby “B” spent a month in the hospital NICU, but was recently scooped up and brought home by a couple who fell in love with him immediately, and are seeking to adopt.

He still has medical issues, and a lengthy court case ahead, but barring some legal catastrophe, he at least has an opportunity for a normal life.

My prayers are with both of these families, and for the children still caught up in the system, victims to the actions of the very people who are supposed to care most for them.

As a society, we should insist on better for them. Everything they experience today will shape our nation’s tomorrow.

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