My first instinct is to tell parents to stay away from court systems. I think I am going to stick with my gut instinct on that one. Giving complete strangers that work in courts control over your life is just an all-around bad idea.
What happens when parents are involved in the court system already is a different story though, and that needs to be discussed more because people entering the court system usually have no idea what they are being plugged into. People going through divorces and custody battles often use the courts to throw dirt at each other, and they are devastated by what is happening in their family’s life. The people that work in the courts though are much less emotional. They see it every day. They have also formed opinions of their own based on what they have witnessed and possibly on what they have experienced in their own lives.
People may know one side or the other. District attorneys usually decide what evidence is allowed to be presented and who will be allowed to speak in the court process. The whole story may or may not be presented to the judge. Family and friends may even deny that someone is addicted and say that the person has a reason for acting the way they do, that something bad is to blame, or that someone else is to blame. The sad thing about that is that the addict has to admit that they have a problem and take responsibility for their life. On the other hand, family and friends may know that their loved one is addicted but the more they push the addict to get help, the more the addict becomes further withdrawn from the people that could be positive influences in their life.
Rationalization is an addict’s way of justifying their behavior both to themselves and to other people around them. Addicts can use logic manipulatively to avoid the issues of their addiction. They can even convince their friends and family that nothing is wrong and sometimes even have their friends and family rationalize their behavior for them. Projection and acting out are other defense mechanisms, but they also stem from the addict’s ability to deny that they have a problem and shift the blame onto others, therefore, creating the rationalization that nothing is wrong with them and that someone or something else is to blame. Do the people that run the courts know this? What are their judgments based on?
What happens when one parent is addicted? Were they both addicted at some point? Or was it just the one parent that became addicted to something and caused the family life to spiral out of control? Did Mom or Dad quit and the other continue? How should addiction be addressed? Of course, it is bad for children to grow up in that environment, but it is also bad for children to grow up without parents. What can be done to stop the opioid crisis? The war on drugs did not seem to work.
What if Mom is addicted and Dad is clean? Dads are an important part of a child’s life. Plenty of reports show that children fare better when they have access to both parents and criminal justice advocates say that most of the people in prisons grew up without father figures. Many advocates claim that there is a revolving door that needs to stop. Not many people seem to look at fathers as caregivers though. Are the courts looking at fathers as caregivers? Unfortunately not. Many states are just now passing legislation to make it so that fathers are represented in courts. Dads are important to their children and their children are important to them too.
What happens when children enter the foster care system because the parents suffer from addictions? Plenty of recovering drug addicts get to foster and adopt because they have the support of the church and the state. Shouldn’t churches support biological parents as well? Do they?
Addicts don’t do drugs because it makes them feel good. Maybe in the beginning but it turns into something that they know hurts them and they can’t quit. Addicts deny that they have a problem. They deny that they are addicted or that addiction is the cause of any negative consequences. Often times an addict will blame others for problems and therefore shift the focus off of themselves and the addiction so that someone else or something else is to blame. This is also the way that an addict compartmentalizes their addiction because morally the addict most likely does not want to be an addict or behave like an addict.
Denial is common among addicts. Denial happens when a person fails to accept or acknowledge reality. Sometimes the truth hurts, and emotions can be difficult to deal with. Addicts deny that they have a problem. They deny that they are addicted or that addiction is the cause of any negative consequences. Often times an addict will blame others for problems and therefore shift the focus off of themselves and the addiction so that someone else or something else is to blame.
Think about the recovering addicts in the churches running countless foster children through their homes every month. I guess that because they are “state-approved” they never relapse like normal addicts that are not state-approved do. Right????
It is a parent’s job to teach moral and Biblical skills and knowledge to their children, but when they don’t foster parents often have to step in. A key biblical skill is forgiveness. Are they teaching that so that anger, resentment, and hatred are not festering inside the children and their biological families? If not, are they really doing God’s work? Forgiveness is the key to healing one’s own self more than the person being forgiven. We never know what God has planned for the other person. I think it is dangerous ground to interfere with the hierarchy of authority that God makes. Recovering addicts that foster and adopt children should no better than anyone that there is hope for every addict. They themselves found hope when they thought there was none and that is what led them to recovery.
Once parental authority is broken trust issues never really get solved. It can take generations for a family to heal. I thought about how damaging this story could be for families and I had to ask others what they thought. So I went to a parenting group and asked them what they think about it. I received several answers from a diverse group of parents and family members. Some are foster and adoptive parents while others are biological parents.
“People don’t want to adopt drug babies”, one foster parent said, “They cry a lot and have developmental problems. Cps will give the drug addicts a lot of chances to get their kids back cause no one else can get paid enough to take them. The healthy drug-free baby is one that is hard to get back and these nurses and doctors are actively seeking them to steal.”
“Drug addict babies can make a full recovery. The key is to get them to bond to a caregiver immediately”, another foster-approved disagreed saying, I had to jump in at that point to say that I don’t know if the children ever “fully recover”, they may learn to cope, but they never fully recover. How do you recover from losing your family over drugs? The foster mother came back saying, “They did a study in Ohio back in 2015. I am sure there is always residual underlying issues but generally speaking the newborn can recover. The issue is when you take a baby, put them in with a foster family, wait 2 years and then reunite them with their mom (Who at that time would be more of a stranger). The idea for these babies is to have 1 strong caregiver. Not bouncing back and forth because mom can’t recover”.
“This issue is when you take a baby, put them in with a foster family, wait 2 years and then reunite them with their mom( who at that time would be more of a stranger). The idea for these babies is to have 1 strong caregiver. Not bouncing back and forth because mom can’t recover”.
But isn’t that exactly what fostercare does? It usually takes at least two years for the court process and yes by that time the children have formed bonds with new people. Does that mean that they should never have access to their parents again though? What happens if another two years goes by and the parents are recovered? Will the foster parents give the children access to their biological family then? Unfortunately, most of the time the answer is no because the foster and adoptive parents are busy with their own lives and do not want interference from the biological families.
What exactly are the outcomes of the “new” parent’s choices compared to the “old” parents choices? Once the family hierarchy is destroyed studies show that the outcomes are not so great. The children develop trust issues and it becomes difficult for caregivers that have little time and/or no knowledge of what is happening to help the children overcome obstacles. Foster care is meant to help vulnerable children and prevent abuse. Instead, reports continue to come in that show that children in foster care are more likely to be abused, 8% more likely to be abused in a foster home, 28% more likely to be abused in a group home. Statistics are staggering. (stats can be found at the Children’s Bureau and Department of Justice).
America has a problem! Many aging out of foster care are also addicted to psychotropic prescriptions that they no longer have access to. How we approach intervention is important. It is possible to push a person further away and further into a crowd of people that share their addiction, especially with foster children because they are already experiencing difficulties “fitting in”. It can be much easier for them to turn to the people that drink and smoke weed instead of the church members that they feel are “judging them”. This can result in death and other horrible outcomes. Strategies that are proven to be effective are motivational techniques that involve both the addict and their family and support group. People who suffer addictions need love, compassion, and commitment, and it also takes trust. Addicts have to feel safe to open up about their experiences.
Addiction, foster care, court orders, counseling, churches, and news media.
Minding Hearts is building advocacy and peer support groups in each state. The groups are created to raise awareness, educate, and advocate for those that might not otherwise be heard. We are here for encouragement, education, and support. We cannot give legal advice, but we can try and direct you in the right direction with your case. Links to legal services are listed with their states. Please share and let’s grow our groups. We are here to support families and develop resources that maintain family integrity. We look forward to your support. If you would rather become active by donating, then visit the donation page.
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