Responsibility

What is your greatest responsibility? I’m sure the number of answers are infinite depending on who you are and what stage of life you are at. I bet most parents would say raising kids. That’s what I want to talk about in this post.

Perhaps I’m writing this from a place of anger – fair observation if you come to it. If you lived the last 3 hours of my life, I think you would understand. It’s hard not to be angry when you get another call from the school asking you to come get your 4th grader. What now?

We decided my wife would go get her this time. We thought maybe there was a legitimate reason for the freak out and my wife would be best to figure out what happened. School is getting harder by the day for her – both academically and emotionally/socially (friends, etc.). We were wrong. There was no reason other than she didn’t feel like she wanted to do the work. Let’s be clear on this “work.” Work for our 4th grader has been significantly modified to fit where she is at academically, as well as how much work she can tolerate at a given time. It’s important to also know this school is absolutely exceptional in how they have accommodated her academically and their willingness to work with very difficult behaviors. This is the same school that went out of their way for our adopted son that destroyed the school more than once.

Clearly they didn’t call us because she chose to not do her work. They called because she was breaking things, hiding under desks, leaving the classroom, stuffing her mouth full of broken crayons – you get the picture. On the way home from the school, she tore up our van and threw things at my wife as she drove her home. This was all completely unprovoked because we have learned we don’t talk about the incident on the way home, we don’t talk consequences, we don’t talk at all. We just get home to a place where we can figure things out and handle it. When they got home she refused to get out of the van – strapping herself down with three seatbelts in the back and then somehow wedging herself under the seats. It played out very similar to my post, “The Chase“. Anyway, back to the topic and what I really want to talk about. It ties in because my daughter’s brain is damaged so severely that she is not able to choose to not act out in these ways. The portion of the brain that makes decisions and regulates emotions has been damaged, and she is not the one responsible for the damage.

There is a crisis in this country that never really gets talked about. We love to talk about politics, guns, drugs, sex/gender/etc, but we don’t ever talk about the fact there are far too many people having kids in this country that simply shouldn’t. I’m sure that is uncomfortable to read. It is more uncomfortable to write because I will live what I am about to write.

There is a large percent of the population that would be more than happy to take away the rights of gun owners today. I believe they want to do that because they think it will reduce gun violence (shootings, deaths). I’m not debating gun laws in this post – maybe a different day. My point is we have a large portion of the population that cares a lot about someone else not having a gun and feel they are 100% right. I am surprised we don’t have a similar size group fighting for preventing people having children. As I write this, I think I know why. No one knows this is a real problem.

I believe there are many people in this country that have lost their right to have children. These individuals are those that have had their kids permanently taken away from them before. Those that have knowingly drank during pregnancy, that test positive for drugs at birth, that live in unsafe environments, that simply cannot afford to take care of a child’s most basic needs. I’m sure many people are either mad or feeling really uncomfortable right now. Good, it means you are engaged and will hopefully keep reading.

I feel so strongly about this because the impact from these individuals having kids is absolutely devastating. It’s devastating to the birth mother and father. It’s devastating to the future adoptive parents, assuming the kids are ever adopted (not a given). It’s devastating economically – to the State and community where these parents and kids live. Most important, it is devastating to the kids born into these situations.

Did I think about any of this before I met my wife – no. I was blind to it like most of the country is. Why have we allowed this to go on? Why is there not more outrage over people having kids only to have them taken away over and over and over? The only reason I can think of is this is a problem of the inner cities and super poor neighborhoods and it’s easy to overlook.

Let’s look at my situation. Two of our adoptive kids are biologically related. Their birth mother has a very low IQ, drank heavily during her pregnancies, tested positive for drugs at birth, and grew up in an absolutely terrifying situation. Their brith dad is a known gang member, drug dealer and pimp. We know they have several other siblings out there as well. It terrifies me to think how many more they may have actually had because those little kids are likely dealing with the same things our do.

Our other adopted girl comes from a birth mother that beat her and her siblings regularly, among other significant traumatic events. You need two hands to count her siblings and no one knows who her birth father is.

Each story reached a similar end for the biological parents – the kids were taken from them by the State.

I vacillate from hatred to sadness for the biological parents. I hate them because they have ruined my kids’ lives. They won’t ever have a normal life – everything will always be hard. They won’t have normal functioning brains. They won’t ever trust people properly – two of them would trust literally anyone they spoke to, while the other one doesn’t even trust us. I hate them because what they have done is the most selfish act you can perform. I hate them because they take no responsibility for their actions.

As time has gone on though, I have felt sadness for them too. I realize now the parents never had a chance either (I bet their parents didn’t either). Their parents were the same as they are or potentially even worse. They lived in the same horrendous conditions with little parental supervision or any decent role models. When you step back for a second and lose the anger, you can see this is nothing more than a vicious cycle with no end in sight.

We wonder why there has been no improvement in the inner cities or the super poor neighborhoods. I think the answer is pretty simple. We allow the cycle to perpetuate. Generation after generation deal with the same dysfunction. Poor choices lead to more poor choices. Ultimately, it leads to 100% reliance on others to survive because they can’t find their way out. This cycle has to be broken. Allowing kids to be born into these circumstances is unconscionable.

I’d love to think that with more education and a caring community we could fix this. Maybe it’d be slow, but we could. Unfortunately, I don’t buy that for a second. I don’t think you change a generational problem with more education or someone checking in on you once a week. The circumstances these people live in don’t change. Even if they had the very best of intentions, they can’t escape the chaos of their real lives. They will always go back to their same habits. These habits have helped them to survive.

I think the only solution is to prevent these individuals from having kids – medically. If I had the resources, I would immediately put those resources to work by paying men and women to not have kids. Obviously this is just a blog post and not a policy document. I realize this is a very complicated subject. I realize sometimes people make bad choices, lose their kids, get their shit together, and get their kids back. I am all for that and maybe they can have more kids. That is not the problem I am trying to solve here. I am thinking about the people I described above. I am thinking about my kids’ birth parents. I’m talking about those people that are completely unwilling or unable to live a responsible life, and by having a child immediately put that child in danger because they cannot provide proper care and love.

We cannot continue to allow kids to be born into these environments only to perpetuate this horrible cycle. We need to prioritize resources and our efforts related to this problem. The first step is to acknowledge there is a real problem here and it may not be that hard to make an impact.

Maybe education is a key piece of this, but not for those in the high risk environments, but for those in the middle and upper classes. People need to know what these kids have to go through. That the kids will likely end up having kids too (probably at a very young age) who will live out the same desperate lives as other generations. They need to understand that if the kids get adopted, that doesn’t mean all is well. The adoption story doesn’t always end on a positive note – often times it is ends with overwhelming sadness. We need to understand the human toll related to this, not to mention the significant economic impact this has on all of us. Education certainly has a place.

This topic has been on my mind for some time now. I wish I saw a better way out, but I don’t. We have to find a way to break the cycle for no other reason than not one of us would want our kids or our grandkids being born into these environments and circumstances. Something has to change.

#fetalalcoholsyndrome #ivegot2more #7kids #endure #grind #accountability #noexcuses #blendedfamily #betterthanyesterday #fewwillhunt #trauma

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