Sunday, February 10, 2008


20/20 had a story on Friday night about ripping a child from the only family it has ever known. I went in with the opinion that I was going to side with the born of the heart family. How wrong was I? This story is why people hate foster parents, Christians and Americans.

Eight years ago a little girl was born. Her born of the body parents were Chinese students, the baby was premature, they needed help. A "nice Christian" family stepped forward and offered to take the baby "temporarily". Two months later, they asked the ESL parents to sign over custody of the baby so they could get health insurance. Here we are eight years later, the girl is finally back with her born of the body family.

The problem I have is not that the born of the heart family wanted and loved this girl, I get that. My problem is they thought they had to lie, cheat and buy her. This is not the way to get a heart baby. They said they'd help temporarily, that might have been their original intent, but when the baby came home and they fell in love, that did not give them the right to change their mind.

They took advantage of a couple in a strange land who did not know the language let alone the laws. On top of that they told the baby that her parents had abandoned her and that China, where they had never been, was a bad place.

When it came to the courts, the Americans had the distinct advantage of money and familiarity with the language. The body parents were willing and able to take the child only a few months after she was born, they might not have been able to provide all that the heart family would, but they were able to provide all of her needs.

One might think that I feel biology trumps all else. No, if I did then I should probably spend more effort undoing the medical procedures that are preventing pregnancy. I don't think that there are any absolutes on either side. I think that if the body parents put the children at some kind of risk, then they should be with a heart family that will keep them safe.

In our situation the children would be at risk if they returned to their body family. This does not mean that I feel that Mama is a bad person. I don't agree with her lifestyle or her choices, but she loves her children the best way she knows how. And I think that she knows they are in a good place where they are loved.

The 20/20 story reminded me that I need to honor her to her babies. There may be a day where they have to return to her, I don't want them to be further scarred by my actions. As they get older I have to keep in mind that it is I that needs to maintain their attitude towards her. And if I have a hard time with that, that is my problem, and I don't need to poison them with it. I have to remember Moses who was the biblical foster child. His mother could not keep him safe in her home, so she sent him to live in a place where he would be safe. I know she herself was not putting him in danger, but bottom line, she could not keep him safe.

Schools are big on family projects. Draw Mommy and Daddy and brothers and sisters. We are the family that our heart babies draw. I have to remind them that they also have a body family. Little middle is understanding more each day, I told him that he was born in Mama's tummy, his reaction was "I don't want to go back there". I asked a clarifying question. He's not worried about living at Mama's house, he just didn't want to be put back in her tummy.

So back to 20/20. The little girl resisted going back with her body family. I"m guessing that it was made worse by the histrionics of the heart family. I pray that the day will never come that my heart babies will return to their body family, but I also pray that I will have the strength and courage to do it in a way that helps the children. I'm sure there would be crying and screaming, but it will not be done in front of the children.

In the meantime, I try every thing I can to build a relationship with Mama. It is hard enough to build relationships with two willing people, let alone, when one is not so much interested. But everyday I try. I know that the best chance our babies have is to be loved by as many interested parties as possible. And if nothing else I must honor her as the mother of some of my children.

Because of the efforts of the 20/20 heart family to try for eight years to get the body parents deported, they were unable to build a life here. As soon as the custody situation was resolved they had to return to China, taking the little girl with them. I'm wondering if they are still wide eyed in awe of America. Wondering if they even want to take the chance that they'd have to choose between their kid and their dreams. I'm sure they will return. While they were transitioning the girl they reached out to the heart parents to maintain a relationship for their daughter. They set up very strict boundaries, and stuck with them. Had the heart family done that eight years ago, they could have helped them build an American life, and even if they couldn't have the girl under their roof, they'd have been in her life a lot longer.

Having my heart babies adopted is my primary goal. If that is not possible, having them in my life will be better than not. So that is why I do the hard thing and not the easier thing.

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