“You’re nuts.” That’s what a man with 11 children, 15 grandchildren, and a successful legal practice told me after the middle sister of my two foster children was welcomed into our home on Christmas Eve.
Of course, he said it in jest (I think). His comment wasn’t about accepting children that weren’t mine into my home, but rather about the fact that I’m now part of the foster system. As I’ve come to learn, this system allegedly oriented around “what’s best for the children” is anything but.
Let’s take the issue of “sibling bonding” for example. In the eyes of the state, that takes a higher priority than character building, character development, and educational achievement. We’ve seen that in our own household, when the “stewards of policy” thought it wise to group together siblings with traumatic pasts even though they’ve lived less than 2 months of their lives together… and that didn’t turn out well. It’s all for the good of the children, we’re told, even when we know it isn’t.
Orthodox. Faithful. Free.
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It brings to mind a New Year’s letter I just received from a friend from Asia (she’s now a U.S. citizen). When she was young, her parents separated her siblings and sent them each to friends, relatives, and boarding schools, so they would receive quality formation and good educations. It worked, and all of them are successful (my friend is a partner at an international firm).
Sibling bonding? Whatever. Go focus on your education and character development. There’s plenty of time for “bonding” later.
What about additional development for the children — character, speech, physical, and such? Does the foster system address any of these? Well, you can throw out character development — in all the training I’ve received, I never heard it mentioned once.
The foster system does offer some help with physical and developmental care, but you have to first wade through a mess of rules, regulations, cross-county payments, inter-county arrangements, and the ever-involved courts. As a result, months pass before the system gets around to “what’s best for the children.”
In our works of mercy, we as Catholics have a specific calling to look after orphans. That care should extend beyond simply providing food, clothing, and shelter, and I don’t believe our current foster system offers anything more than that.