Tonight I did an excellent job of keeping my mouth shut. Zipped. Granted, I was ready for a potential confrontation, but it didn’t occur naturally and I (for once) didn’t spur it on. Here’s the deal. In my grand new home of Washington State, where we make all matters of immorality legal, there is a new bill going to market which seeks to define the rights of parents and family in a child’s life.
So, let me premise things. I am a family girl. You mess with a member of my family, you best be ready to deal with the wrath of Marcy. And as they say, hell hath no furry like a woman scorned. I am the biggest mamma bear, protective sister, and advocating daughter that you will ever meet. I firmly believe that our relationship with our family helps to not only define us, but lends us strength, courage and a sense of who we are as a person. And having said this, children need access to their family.
Now, back to my little rant. This new bill coming out (and I would post a link here but I can’t for the life of me find one) seems to be based on grandparent rights. Should it pass (from what I was told tonight, so I may be wrong) it would allow grandparents the unwavering right to have visitation with their grandchild. Sounds great right? Absolutely. Who would ever take their child away from a loving grandparent? Well, here’s where it gets a little sticky. If you’ve worked with foster care or family law, you know that regardless of what is truly best for the child, in the eyes of the law “reunification is always the best option.” This is why we have children bounced around from foster home to foster home, placement to placement, building and breaking every attachment they have ever had. This is why we have children who trust no one, have RAD, act out, and live in absolute hell, having no idea who they are or who they can trust/love or be trusted/loved by. Now I know that there are times when we all royally screw up, and there are situation in which it is best for a child to be temporarily removed and when placed back in the home things are right as rain and no further issues arise. I also know that those fairytale situations are few and far between, and I’ve seen beautiful families ripped to shreds over false allegations and even a quick reunification has caused irreparable damage. In some cases a grandparent is present and a saving grace. In some cases a grandparent is present and a catalyst to the problems. And in some cases the grandparent is no where to be found.
As an adoptive parent my kids have multiple sets of grandparents. Do I value my kid’s relationship with these family members? Absolutely. Grandparents, great grandparents, great aunts and uncles, all of whom have no blood tie to me, but I do recognize as an influential and important part of my kids’ lives, have a relation ship with my children. We make presents for these people, make special arrangements in our vacations for visits, send letters and cards, phone calls and emails. I provide pictures and try to ensure they are as much a part of my kids’ lives as they wish to be. But do I allow all the kids to have a relationship with all of the grandparents or great grandparents? No. I don’t. And I’ll be darned if there is a law that forces me to allow a person into my child’s life who is unsafe for them. Isn’t that why I became the parent? I swore to have these children as my own, treating them as I would a biological child. I swore to the best of my ability keep them safe, to provide for them the emotional, physical and mental support that they need to function as citizens in this world. If that means that I keep out a person whose only ties to them are the chaos they created in their lives and the DNA they share, then I will do so.
Do I think that some parents abuse this? That some use children as leverage to get what they selfishly want or desire? Yep, I sure do. Is that right? No, it’s not. But people do a lot of stupid things. In a perfect world, we wouldn’t have situations like that. We wouldn’t have foster care or a break in family bonds. But this is far from a perfect world and unfortunately battles like this will continue to rage.
So, there’s my rant. Sorry I offend, which is never my intent, but I had to get it off my chest. I kept my lips zipped, but my fingers have a mind of their own. 🙂