Maybe Some People Just Shouldn’t Have Kids
Let’s just admit it: maybe some people just shouldn’t have kids.
We know this is a sensitive thing to say, especially around folks with infertility.
Yet it’s because of all the good people we know who desperately long to have children to love that we are particularly incensed by all the people who do have children and don’t appreciate them. (Who neglect or mistreat them. Who fail them in every way.)
We try to be philosophical about the fact that not everybody shares the same parenting values.
We know that money and advantage are no guarantee of good parenting, just as tattoos and welfare are no indication that somebody cannot parent well.
Education may be an advantage in some cases, yet we know parents living in projects who do an extraordinary job of raising fine children without college degrees.
Sometimes good parents make bad choices, and yes, sometimes proper intervention can lead some parents to make better choices in the future.
But the stories in the news recently have got us riled up, on behalf of all the children who surely deserved better. How long should kids have to wait for their parents to get their act(s) together? And what can we all do, to help identify children-at-risk and keep them safe?
Broken hearts and broken children
In Richardson, Texas, a three-year-old girl adopted from India has gone missing, after her father made her put her out to stand alone in the dark at 3 am, reportedly for failing to drink her milk.
We recognize that there may be cultural differences in parenting styles. Maybe he’s a great dad who just lost it momentarily. But to leave a toddler with developmental issues outside in the dark of night in an area known for coyotes and train tracks? (Who does that?!)
Say it with us: maybe some people just shouldn’t have kids.
In St. Joseph, Louisiana, a mother has been arrested in the death of her one-day-old baby, who was found in a dumpster and was believed to have died of blunt force trauma.
In West Palm Beach, Florida, the mother of a child born at home during the hurricane says she wrapped the baby’s body in garbage bags and kept it in her car; she is being investigated for manslaughter.
A Sacramento, California father has been arrested and charged with the murder of his three children and a deadly assault upon his wife.
In New Jersey, a mother abandoned her ten-year-old special needs son in the woods with his luggage because he was denied benefits for his care.
An Iowa mom has been charged with child endangerment for leaving her four kids at home alone while she took off on a twelve-day vacation in Europe.
You know it’s true: maybe some people just shouldn’t have kids.
This is just a small sampling of the countless stories of horrific malparenting that goes on in America in any given month. And yes, we realize there are mental health issues and addiction issues and other circumstances involved, but how is it possible that after all the millions of dollars spent in this country on child abuse prevention campaigns and safe haven programs and family planning centers and child protection and family support, America is still doing such a sorry job of saving our kids?
Can adoption save lives?
Admittedly, adoption is not a silver bullet solution, and we’re not suggesting that it is. Parents who adopt can be guilt of abuse, just as those who don’t place can be. Yet it breaks our hearts to know how many wonderful, homestudy-approved families have jumped through countless hoops in hopes of becoming parents, only to wait for months (or years) while the nightly news bears these tragic tales of children who might have been theirs and who could still be alive, had they been in a different home or family?
For all its faults, adoption can still offer children in need safe harbor from the storms of homelessness, parent loss, child abuse and neglect, addiction, poverty, and exploitation. And yes, Abrazo has placed some children who may have done just as well growing up in their original families, but we have also known many children whose birthparents’ loving choices have spared them a “mess of trouble,” and for whom adoption truly was a lifesaving measure.
Please know that we take our work very seriously. Abrazo doesn’t accept everyone who applies to adopt here. We don’t operate some cheap social work vending service that ensures that anyone who can pay a fee gets a child in exchange. We don’t see our purpose as “procuring children” for everyone that wants them– but rather, finding the best of loving homes for children that need them.
And a big part of doing great adoptions is finding birthparents and adoptive parents that fit together, and helping them build healthy relationships to surround children with love and affirmation. (As well as consistent nurture and parental guidance, good education, safe homes, and lives rich with opportunity.) We aim to surround that triad (birthparents, adoptive parents and adoptees) with a lifetime of support, which Abrazo tries to do with its annual reunion and with its online community.
We’re not here to tell anyone that they are or not entitled to have children. We don’t presume to understand why biology equips some people to parent when it seems they shouldn’t and why others are denied when they seemingly have everything in life to offer a child.
Yet we do think it’s important to remind our society that parenting is optional; that there are resources available to help those who wish to parent better; and that adoption is a selfless and compassionate alternative for those realize that “maybe some people just shouldn’t have kids” and that this includes them.