Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Growing Up Without Family

Last week, I heard a talk by a young woman—I’ll call her Cindy-- who had spent most of her growing-up years in foster care. Her brother was shuttled among relatives. Neither was adopted. Their mother was an addict and had abused both children frequently. When her brother was 18, just out of high school, he went home to his mother for one last try. It didn’t work. Six months later, he committed suicide.
Cindy never felt more alone.

But it wasn’t the first time she missed having a home and a family. There were those Thanksgivings at college when she hoped a friend would invite her for the holiday. And she was reminded of all of lonely nights without a mom to confide in or a dad with a broad shoulder to brush away her tears.

Today, Cindy is happily married to a man who adores her. She has a good job and many friends. But nothing can fill the hole in her soul where her family should have been.

Her talk brought tears to the eyes of everyone who heard it. It made me think of all of the Cindys who never have the families they need and deserve. It made me wonder why birth parents are given so many chances to keep ruining the lives of their children.

It made me feel even more certain that adoption is the best option for a child whose birth parents have demonstrated over a period of time that they can’t or won’t give her a loving home.

So many families want to adopt and have so much to offer a child. If our society cares about the futures of children as much as it claims to, it should welcome these families, taking the first step toward letting each child know that he or she is valued and deserves to be loved in a safe, nurturing environment.

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