Did the headline catch your attention? I sure hope it did! It is part of a person’s signature on a message board I belong to which I have read numerous times over the past couple of years and it had an impact on me each time I read it. It however took awhile to get it through my head the full impact it should have on me…I finally got it!.
No this chapter is not on the subject you may think it is. Though I have my personal thoughts about the Pro-Life vs. Pro-Choice; that debate is for someone else to expound upon. I am sure though that this chapter will receive negative feedback.
I do have an issue with those who seem to think that as long as the life is begun through birth their battle is over. They do everything they can conceive of to stop a woman from making a decision to abort her child. They provide services for women having financial, pre-natal care or other problems so the women will make the decision not to abort. They even talk to the woman about adoption if the woman is unable to provide for her child after birth.
My questions are: Where are they after the child is born? Where are they when a child is neglected, abused or abandoned after birth? Where are they when the family may need services or financial help to keep their family together? Where are they when there is a need for foster or adoptive families to care for children after they have been abused, neglected or abandoned?
This is why I state: "Pro-Life Does NOT End at Birth"!
It is NOT enough to do everything possible to see that a child is born. It is also everyone’s responsibility to see that these children (our children) grows up in a stable, loving and nurturing home so they may have the opportunity to reach their fullest potential as productive members of our society.
I do not wish to generalize and say no pro-lifers have come forward to meet their responsibility; as a number have. I thank them! However I believe many feel their responsibility is fulfilled once the child is born. Your (our) responsibility has just begun!
These children are our kids. They are our neighbors, our children’s schoolmates, and our family members. They are part of our communities, and they need their communities to stand up, be outraged and be involved in helping them reach their potential and grow up into successful adults, who in turn make significant contributions to their communities.
Over 1 million children this year alone will experience abuse, abandonment or neglect. The reasons for this is wide and varied though none of them are justified.
Over 1500 children will die this year alone as a result of their abuse or neglect. Some will occur while the child is within the foster care system.
Over 700,000 children will experience a period of foster care this year alone with 514,000 living within the system for some extended period of time. There are also a number of children in foster care for which no true justification can be found except CPS removed them from their homes.
There are a total of 170,000 licensed foster care homes in the U.S. Numbers are not currently available for children or youth placed in group homes, residential treatment centers or other institutional care.
Over 117,000 children this year alone will have the parental rights of their parents terminated and be eligible for adoption. Only 20% of these children this year will be adopted. The rest will continue to languish within the system because no family comes forward to adopt them. They are considered too old, too troubled, not the right gender or race.
Over 24,000 children eligible for adoption will age out of the system this year with no family, no mentor or other tools available to them to become dependable, productive members of our society.
* A recent study of young adults ages 18-24 and 2.5-4 years after aging out of the system
33% will experience homelessness 12-18 months after leaving foster care. Three of ten of the nation’s homeless are former foster children
27% of the males and 10% of the females had been incarcerated (80 percent of prison inmates have been through the foster care system) National Association of Social Workers
33% were receiving public assistance
37% had not finished high school
10% obtain at least one year of college
2% obtain a Bachelor’s degree or higher
51% were unemployed
84% became a parent
40% experience alcohol or drug abuse
37% have some type of mental disorder due to experiences within the foster care system
30% have no health insurance
Former foster youth have a higher rate of suicide than the regular youth population
*Casey Family Programs National Center for Resource Family Support
I should briefly state why I have such strong feelings on this subject. My birth mother had a choice back in 1950. She was unwed, 19 years old, incapable of providing for a child; yet she was pregnant. She made the choice rather than have a back alley abortion to give birth to me and place me for adoption. She did not know until I was 36 year old when I found her that her wish of adoption never happened. I was instead placed in foster care where I survived eighteen years of sixteen moves, hunger, verbal, physical and sexual abuse as well as attempted suicide due to the sexual abuse. I could have easily been one of the statistics listed above.
I was fortunate. Despite confronting the traumatizing events as I did I did graduate high school and college, never abused drugs or alcohol nor the face other issues confronting youth aging out of the system. Far too many youth abused, neglected or of the system are not as fortunate.
So I repeat my questions:
Where are you after the child is born and parents are in need of services?
Where are you when the federal government, your city, county or state governments decide to cut programs that would assist these children and their families and possibly keep them family together?
Where are you when these children are abused, neglected, abandoned or killed?
Where are you when these children cry out for a foster or adoptive family when they need to be removed from their homes temporarily or permanently?
Where are you when these children need mentors, teachers, guidance, etc. when they have to age out of the system due to no family coming forward to adopt them when they became eligible?
Where are you when the system set up to protect and provide for these children fail them and they yell for reform of the system that may have damaged far more than what they were taken from?
I am a firm believer in life.
I am however putting my actions behind my words. I am fighting for the youth once they are born so they have the opportunity I have had; to live my life to its fullest potential.
As I said many pro-life folks today are adoptive or foster parents…they are there in the fight. I thank you and congratulate you!
However there are, according to so many reports, millions in the US who proclaim they are pro-life. If that is the case then there should never be a child who is never given this opportunity when for whatever reason they are removed from their homes, they should never languish in foster care for lack of a family coming forward to claim them as their own, our foster care system would be the best in the world rather than the broken failure it is today.
Pro-Life does NOT end at birth…Be Pro-Life after the child is born! We MUST ALL Assume our responsibility today!