WILLIAM A. GRALNICK
The numbers of issues Democrats and Republicans seem ready eager to rip each other’s throats out over seem to grow by the day. intractability is akin to to hitting one’s head against already set concrete. It is deplorable and could well be the leak that sinks our democratic boat. On e of those issues is abortion. It is a “toughie.”
It is hard to argu in favor of babies being killed. There aree valid religious and medical answers to the question of when life begins. My rbbi tells us that since the baby is attacher to the mother through the entire gestation, the baby is not a “human being” until the cord is cut. Life cannot be termnated unless the heal of the mother is in danger or there is a major malfunction in the gestation process that will produce a child incapable of sustaining life on its own. Interesting enough, in Judaism, the left and the right agreee. Life begins with conception. Oddly enough, this also the position of the Christian right and much of the medical community. Remember, we are talking about what consolations are taken into account in deciding when lfe begins. We are not talking about the right to life, just conception.
Is there a middle ground? After all, a lot of pregnancies can be very inconvenient. There are long lists of why someone might want a a baby but cannot care for one. Then there are those “mistakes.” There are six million babies born each ear in the US. Stunningly, 45% of them are unwanted. To handle this deluge of babes, the US has 3,000 public and private agencies. There is also a middle in the middle ground. They are non-profit adoption agencies. While there have fees, they are far more affordable than private adoption agencies. Every problem bring with it a set of problems. One is math. There are just too many babies and not enough agencies–or numbers of willing to be parents.
Another is our federal system of government. “Any right not expressly given to the federal government are reserved to the states.” Adoption is one of them. Some states have good systems up for the challenge. Some, let’s just say, don’t. Some states have more babies than the system can handle, some don’t. Then there is foster care.
There are significant differences between adoption and foster care. The word “care” is the key. The foster child belongs to the state until either majority age or adoption. Children can be shuffled around for a variety of reasons; siblings are often separated.
Why foster a child? Often a kind hear, but also often money. The foster family gets a monthly stipend, money without which they couldn’t afford to do what their heart urges them to. One of the key issues in foster care, especially for older children, who are far less likely to be adopted, is the teach of life skills. When the clock strikes midnight and forster care ends, many of these youngsters don’t know how to open a bank account, balance a checkbook, create and manage a budget, use a calendar to help them remember what has to be done and when. In other words, they are dropped into the pool of life with no idea how to swim.
An adopted baby on the other hand legally is the same as if the child were born to the family. There are no givebacks, no do-overs. One can adopt a perfectly normal, wonderful, brilliant child and then find out the child is autistic or has a genetic disorder. Imagine the shock, the fear, the disappointment–and the radical change in life and life style the family now faces. Read, “I’ve Been Buried In Dust For Years (Amazon). It is an amazing walk through exactly this kind of situations told by the mother and believe it or not the autistic child.
The adoptive family too get a stipend. Is it enough to raise a child? Not hardly. Is it enough to raise a child with a disability. No way. How much depends on the state. Also, depending on the state a child can be given a free four-year hi8gher education or technical school education. Such is the case in Florida.
If people could manage to keep their politics to themselves, they could create a national coalition. They could bully Congress into providing money to the states, to which state and local monies would be added for the hiring and trainining of adoption and foster care specialist and the infrastructure needed for them. They can still beat each other’s rains in over technicalities, but while dong that, they’d have created a system that will low and care of those children likely not to get it–at least from my perspective.
Bill is beyond taking in children. He is not beyond fighting the fight for them to have a better life. He urges you to do the same. Again, too serious a subject for a book commercial. Stay well.