The Dixons, a Great Grandmother, and Kansas DCF

Written by on 31 January, 2014 in Blog with 0 Comments

These types of adoption cases have been all too common for over a century, but because of closed records and lack of technology never got to the public eye until now.  A baby girl whether black or white is a prize in the adoption world.  Adoptive parents want girls.  For some reason girls are considered easier to raise.  (That’s a separate topic, I’ll write about someday.)  Birth families want the first child to be a boy, adoptive parents want a girl.  And here you have it, a baby girl is wanted by a foster family with clout, and the boy is not.  He is good enough for the great-grandmother to take home.  Few families are looking to adopt a black boy.

You have two sides with good intentions.  The Dixon’s, foster parents, want to adopt a child that they raised since only days old.  Who wouldn’t want to do that?  They have poured love, commitment, and time into this child.  They have already made the emotional connection that this is their child, and the child needs that type of love to grow with the self-esteem we expect a child to have when it comes to appropriate bonding.

Next, there is the great-grandmother.  She has already made the emotional commitment with a child she has not been allowed to know very well.  A child that is genetically kin, and may very well look like other members of the family and needs to be part of the fold.  A 67 year-old woman willing to put her golden years behind her to rear another generation.  There is no question in my mind that both sides are really good people.

Then you have the bureaucracy, Kansas Department of Children and Families.  I’m sure that someone asked the question; what’s in the best interest of the child?  The answer was probably not a poor old black woman with a minimum of education.  Somehow there are people in our society who can justify taking children away from families strictly because of the financial and educational rewards that might go with the family switch.  Folks get into their heads that they personally would have liked it if they had more opportunities when they were growing up.  The thought never occurs to them that they would have to give up their entire, family, community, and extended relatives to achieve some goal that will never be transcribed on a tombstone.  Family is important whether birth or adopted, but in my opinion, birth should always have first option if at all possible when permanent placement is at stake.

I spent two nights with my birth father the first of the year, and he has a lot of problems with alcohol.  There could be a very good argument made that my adoptive family was a better placement, but then you would have to take a good look at my adoptive family and discover that there was all types of alcohol problems there too.  And, since I wasn’t blood family labeled the “adopted trash” by a crazy adoptive aunt too.  I did get to graduate high school, college, and spend years in counseling to manage post-traumatic stress disorder, which was also part of the adoption process.  Was my experience unique?  No, it’s a problem for many adoptees and unfortunately far more common than folks would like to think.

The judge made the right decision to return the girl to the birth family.  However, my sympathies go to both families: birth and foster.  Having to fight over a great-grandchild with a white family has to be a terrible experience for the poor birth family, and losing a child for whatever reason no matter how it became part of the family has to be equally as awful for the adoptive family.  What I see is a big problem that was caused by the Kansas DCF that could have been avoided if a few people had done their job correctly in the beginning.  I believe that since the girl’s family was older, poor, and black the staff thought they could railroad right over them, because it happens often without much of a battle.  It appears to me that this little girl was used as a pawn to grease someone for doing a good job.  This is the kind of thing we expect to hear about in 3rd world nations, not the good ole U.S. of A.

All I can say, there was really no winner here.  Even though the great-grandmother has taken the girl home, it had to leave her with a bad taste in her mouth, and I can’t even imagine the empty room at the foster family’s house right now; there is probably a river of tears flowing through it.  All I can say is, God bless all of you and may he grant you perfect peace so you can all move forward.

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.  Philippians 4:13 ESV

 

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