Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 3, 2006
When I did the reporting for my story in today’s paper about the Suffolk Department of Social Services celebrating adoptions, I was surprised by a few things.
First, when I arrived at the party at Tabernacle Christian Church last week, I was told that I could not take pictures of the families, especially the children. I learned that because many of these children are local, the foster families often were in and out of courts before they could finalize the adoption. Some of the parents feared that if their photos and words were mentioned in the paper, it might upset the biological parents or other relatives in the area.
I suppose I understand that. No one wants to be called a bad parent in print, whether it is outright or implied.
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Fortunately, a few people agreed to talk to me, and one even thought a picture would be OK. Still, one family preferred that I not include the names of the children.
Now, I don’t know any of the circumstances of the children’s biological parents. Some of the mothers could have been really young, some involved with drugs and alcohol, and others might have decided that they just weren’t interested in being parents and accepting all the responsibilities it brings. Some may have even had their parental rights terminated by the courts because they just couldn’t get their act together.
Though I can’t imagine what it must be like to willing give your child up for adoption, I can’t help but have respect for those who do. I’m sure some do it because they don’t want the hassles that come with kids. But others do it because they want their child to have more opportunities n a loving family that can provide for all his or her needs and wants.
Whatever the reason these children are put up for adoption, I can’t help but think it almost a blessing in disguise. They have the opportunity to become part of families who truly want to love them and who have the means to care for them.
The challenge, then, is to help the children understand that as they get older. Most will struggle with the idea that they were abandoned, that their real parents didn’t want them.
It takes an amazing depth of caring from the people at Social Services, foster families and adoptive families to help them see beyond that, to fill the holes in their souls their biological parents left. Can you imagine the kind of selflessness and generosity it takes to welcome a stranger into your home and love them as if they were your own?
I am amazed by it.
It is heartening to know, in the world we live in today, that such wonderful people exist. And it’s even more exciting to think some of them are right here in Suffolk.