As someone who is trying to have a biological child and encountering difficulties, I find myself increasingly incensed by certain cockeyed-seeming practices within the childcare and community services realm. Sometimes it seems that all the care in the world is taken, and all the focus is given to, managing and supporting people who don’t seem to want their own children, or who at the very least go ahead and have children, sometimes several of them, when they are in no fit condition to care for and raise them.
I was just reading an online newspaper’s front page, and this article caught my narrowed eye. It’s about an innocent little abandoned baby girl and her future. It’s a plea for the biological mother to come forward and discuss what she wants done with her baby. Now, I do believe the mother of this child, who carefully deposited her baby on a doorstep and promptly disappeared, probably did what she did because she believed it was in the best interests of the child. I do err on the side of sympathy; it was in all probability an agonising decision, and this girl or woman is no doubt going through a very hard time. I unreservedly give her the benefit of the doubt. But having taken the decision to abandon the newborn (and little Sunday was only just born), I think you do forfeit your rights when you forfeit the most basic responsibility there is. Rights come with responsibilities; you have to keep up your end of the bargain if you want to keep cashing your chips.
So no, I don’t think parents who abandon their children have the right to just waltz back into the picture when it suits them down the track. I just don’t. I think that is unspeakably selfish. And when I read the article about little Sunday, and the DOCS spokesperson saying they wish to stress Sunday’s adoption will be open, meaning her biological mother and/or father can step forward and claim her at any time, I thought, ‘Well, that totally stinks.’ Why is everything geared toward indefinitely enabling the delivery of a child back into the arms of a parent or parents who – for whatever reason – did not want her? I know everyone goes on and on about the biological imperative of being with your own blood, but personally, I think that’s baloney. Give me a loving adoptive family over a reluctant biological family any day. DOCS bends overs backwards to encourage this woman to make contact and participate in the ongoing discussions regarding the future welfare of her child, but just watch how hard they’ll make it for some poor couple who are desperate to love and raise a child to adopt little Sunday. Oh, how their lives will be interrogated. Oh, how their privacy will be invaded. Any idiot can have a child, there’s no law against that, any creep can reproduce and many seem to have a real talent for it, but just try being the fools who try to adopt this abandoned child. Then you’re the mickey who has to bow to biology for the rest of your life, living on tenterhooks, your position as adoptive parent always under threat, always vulnerable to the possibility that the real parent or parents will one day arrive on your doorstep to stake a long overdue claim. And I think that is completely unfair to the child, first and foremost, and to the people who have committed to caring for it.
I know DOCS has no choice but to walk this very fine line, but sometimes, within this social services framework that is obsessed with keeping families together even if the family in question has irrevocably splintered apart, it just feels like they lose sight of the real duty of care. Is it really best for the child to be handed back to people who gave her up and haven’t been seen since? Somehow I doubt it – although I hope the girl or woman who gave birth to little Sunday is safe and well and receiving whatever help it is she requires. I just think her daughter deserves the same consideration DOCS continues to extend the mystery mother’s way.