March 8, 2016

Do For Someone Else What No One Did For You

My writing has been scarce here for a while between the combination of my full time job outside the home, and having temporary custody of my great niece, Olivia. 

I have learned to do most things with one hand - such as load the dishwasher or cook dinner.  She wants to be held most of the time and I gladly do. I  want her to feel as secure as possible. Most things I do while at home are with her on my lap or in my arms.

Many people approach me and say, “I don’t know how you’re doing it,” and to that I say, “Some days I don't." When they ask what I mean I explain that they might judge me if they knew how many things fall through the cracks. I won’t even write them here for lack of emotional bandwidth to handle a debate with anyone right now.  But suffice it to say, my home is not as clean as it used to be. Lots of things don't get done.  Even though I wrote a highly acclaimed book on time management, there are plenty of things I just don't have time for anymore.   These are not things like washing the windows or cleaning out the gutters. They are things that should be done on a weekly basis and others might say, "Ewwwww gross!" A maid could change all this.   

As challenging as it is on many days, I wouldn’t trade this decision for anything, to take care of Livvy this year. Her mom is excelling! We are so proud of her. She misses her so much and is in touch with her often. She is eager to complete the program and get back to parenting on a daily basis.

Although the circumstances are not the same (Livvy is not relinquished nor being placed for adoption), what we are doing for Livvy is what I wish someone in my original family offered to do in my circumstance. 

I realize there are people in the world who believe it was best for me to  leave my birth family and be adopted. Even for those who believe that, is it not sad that not one person offered to help, even temporarily?

Some would say, "All the more reason you should have been adopted."

Maybe they the devil's advocate have a point there. 

Others will say, "Well, taking care of a child is hard work. Maybe that's why they didn't offer to help."

All I'll say about that is, anything worth it in life is hard. Anything significant is hard. Anything life changing is hard.  

But still others will say, "If a parent wants to relinquish their child, the family needs to accept their decision and let the child go into the foster care or adoption system."

And all I'll say to that is, God help any of my family members who do that.   Deanna will go from woman of God to Cruella DeVille in 2 seconds. Seriously, I would go ballistic if any of my family members relinquished their children. And I'd fight for them.

How sad is it that a child can be relinquished without even one person in a family stepping up to the plate saying, "Let me help so she is not lost to the family..."? 

More than one grandmother in this day and age - not the baby scoop era - have corresponded with me as a result of this blog and said, "I had no choice. My daughter got pregnant and decided to relinquish the baby and I simply respected her wishes..." Seriously lady?  Sorry, the compassionate preacher has now exited the building... I don't even know that I have a response to that kind of ridiculousness.

Years ago I had a talk with all three of my (unmarried) children and told them if an unplanned pregnancy happened to any of them they would have no choice in whether to keep a child. Children in our family stay in our family. It's the way it is. There is no other choice. Other than Deanna going to prison.
So when my niece needed temporary help, I didn't waste two seconds in deciding to help.

Many people approach me and say, “What you guys are doing is so special. You are a rare couple.”

Well that stinks.
Why are we rare? That’s part of what’s wrong with the world.

As long as we are rare and special in this way, there is way too much loss and pain in the world and kids leaving their families whether temporarily or permanently. 

And even if it's necessary at times such as in the case of abuse or neglect, is it still not pathetic when not even one family member steps up to say they will help? 

My non-identifying information from the adoption agency says that everyone but one of my mother's siblings thought she should relinquish me. That person (according to adoption records) thought she should keep me, but only as a punishment of sorts, a consequence of her mistake.

I don't have angry feelings about this, nor do I  walk in bitterness or unforgiveness. So why do I even write about it today? Because it is largely this experience in my life that strongly compels me to live differently. In so  many facets - perhaps even most areas of my life - I want to do for others what I would have them do unto me. (Hmmmm where have I heard that before? Could it be...the Bible? The Golden Rule?)

So with all this said - the point of my post today is that I am a supporter of kinship care.

I hope as time goes on, kinship care becomes more the norm in society.