“Why can’t she just get her act together?” Maybe you’ve said it, too, or at least thought it. Or maybe it’s just me.
The arrogant thesis behind this question: If you love your kid, you do whatever it takes to get them back. But have you ever stopped and considered the obstacles, the roadblocks, the internal and external forces that fight against our kids’ parents as they fight for their kids?
I can’t imagine what it would be like to try to, for example, get a job or housing or generally “get your act together,” with some combination of:
– lack of access to transportation
– mental illness
– random urines
– biases of workers & systems created to provide support
– bondage of addiction
– court appearances
– lack of support system
– court appointed parenting classes and services
– drivers license fines
– abusive partner
– lack of childcare
– check ins with probation officers
– lasting effects of trauma on the brain and body
– visits with your child scheduled by someone else
– lack of access to a phone
– inability to get job or housing because of criminal record
– lack of education
– systemic racism
– legal fines
– generational trauma and parental absence
– physical disability and illness
– custody battles
– savings needed for a down payment
– personal experience in foster care
…just to name a few.
Our kids’ parents have so much to overcome. May our judgment of them not be added to the list.