Great to Have Angels Among Us

As featured in The Reflector:

I feel drawn to people with good hearts. One of my dearest friends is the possessor of one such heart and truthfully it’s one of the reasons that I love her so much. She’s the kind of person that radiates so much love that you feel like you have to walk in front of her, defending her from anyone who might try to block it, deflect it or stomp it out.

She and her husband are the adoptive parents of two children. They fostered the children for years before they were able to officially adopt them. During that time, the kids were repeatedly given back to an abusive, neglectful parent. Each time their hearts broke and each time they got them back they had to try and reverse the damage that had been done to those sweet kids. They were eventually able to officially adopt them. They’ve had them for years and are still trying to reverse much emotional damage. It’s a constant battle, but they do it because they’re wonderful people who are capable of unconditionally loving those kids regardless of the challenges it brings.

In my experience, this is the case with all foster/adoptive parents. Their capacity to love is enormous and they walk into these situations knowingly and willingly, ready to accept whatever challenges come and to render service in any way that they can. Because this is my experience with these amazing people, I’m sure you’ll be able to imagine my shock and dismay at the situation that unfolded for another friend of mine this past week.

She and her husband are fostering an infant boy. I don’t know the details of that baby’s situation, but my assumption is he was removed from his mother at birth. He’s that little. The baby is a different race than his foster parents.

My friend was in a store shopping. You know, minding her own business, getting done what she needed to get done. She was approached by another woman in the baby department of this particular store and the conversation went like this:

“So you’re a foster parent?” First of all, I love this assumption since the husband was nowhere in sight, but whatever, people are idiots.

My friend smiled and said yes.

“So you take people’s kids away from them.”

At this point, this friend, who is obviously much classier than I am, turned and walked away from the conversation. She knew that the blunt rudeness of a complete stranger didn’t warrant a response and so she didn’t give it one. I don’t know that I could’ve kept my mouth shut. I can’t even keep my mouth shut about it now.

I would love to know what caused this current trend in our society that eliminates personal responsibility and consequences for all of humankind.

I’m not a moron. I know that there are bad foster/adoptive parents. But overall, you’re looking at a group of people who are stepping up when no one else will. You’re looking at adults who are opening their hearts to children that they may or may not get to keep. It’s emotionally brutal and they still step up and take that responsibility, making sure that those children feel loved even if it’s only for the short amount of time that they’re with them.

And here we are accusing them of taking other people’s children away from them. I’m not even going to pretend that I understand the logic, or lack thereof, that drove this complete stranger to her obnoxious conclusion because I don’t -- at all.

The biological parents of these children made a decision. Sometimes the decision was drugs. Sometimes the decision was to beat the living daylights out of their precious babies because they’re unable to productively deal with their emotions. Sometimes the decision was neglect. I guess there were too many things that just ranked higher than feeding and bathing their children. The point is, a decision was made. And those decisions resulted in harm, whether emotional or physical, to their children. We’re talking about helpless, defenseless children, who can do nothing to alleviate their situation on their own.

How dare we, as a society, place the blame for those decisions on the foster or adoptive parents of those children. There is a thing called personal responsibility. It’s becoming quite the foreign concept these days. For whatever reason, we feel the need to excuse the behavior of so many. We go as far as to try and eliminate any of the natural consequences.

I feel like someone needs to announce that this route isn’t working. In your quest to erase the possibility of anybody feeling bad or to eliminate the chances of anyone feeling the guilt or weight of their own decisions, you’re creating an irresponsibility and sense of entitlement that is poison. It’s poison to every individual who winds up there and it’s poison to the society that houses them.

Foster/adoptive parents don’t take other people’s children from them. Those people choose to give up their children by nature of the choices that they make. We should consider ourselves fortunate that there are enough angels in our society who are willing to step forward with hands ready to help and hearts ready to save.

Seriously, tell me what you think.