I can attempt to understand the frustration of those who long to adopt a child, and would be willing to adopt a young child out of the foster care system, but find themselves stymied by the rights of the birth parents. I also know the damage the foster care system can do. I hesitate, though, to say that we should focus exclusively on the needs of the child - taking the child away from parents who don't have it together, and immediately severing that relationship.
I was the child of two drug addicts. When I was 2, my birth father committed suicide in a shootout with the police. When I was 3, my mother was given a choice by social services: get clean, or lose your daughter.
My mom got clean. Without anyone else to take care of me, I was placed in foster care while my mother was in rehab. I have no memory of this, so I assume it was all fine. After rehab, and counseling and all that, I was returned to her.
She had ten years clean before she died of complications from AIDS, when I was 13. I had ten years with a woman I loved more than anything else in the world. After she passed, I was adopted, at 14, by a family friend. That, too, has been a beautiful, life-giving relationship.
I don't know what the solutions to the problems of bad parents, endless foster care stays, and unwanted children are. But I'm glad that I got those ten years with my mom, and I know she was glad to have them.
Not all screwed-up parents need to lose their kids forever.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.