Earlier today I got a push notification on my tablet for this story. To summarize, this little girl, age 2-3, was left on a stranger’s porch with a note that read “Please Call DCAF” (DCAF = Department of Children and Families, aka DSS).
Heartbreaking: I think we can all agree.
Most people, though, immediately react by condemning someone who “could do such a thing.” But that isn’t really fair. This little girl deserves our empathy–but so do those who gave her up. This child appears to have been well cared for. She also bears a scar that is likely from a heart surgery–something that was probably very expensive, especially if her parent(s)/caregiver(s) has no insurance. And who knows what other things may have been going in this child’s or her parent’s lives? There’s a very real possibility that whoever left this child on the porch was a lot more heartbroken having to do it than we are having to read about it. Chances are, he/she/they were at the end of a fraying rope–this was a last resort.
This child is in foster care until the Sheriff’s Department can locate any family. Hopefully, their search will yield a relative placement and hopefully, those relatives will accept help and guidance from DSS, so she can go home where she belongs–to people who clearly love her (did you see the “Auntie loves me” shirt?).
For me, this story serves as an example: not all children in the foster care system are there because of abuse or purposeful neglect–they’re not all unloved. Every time DSS intervenes, it’s not a case like Fred’s. Sometimes, it’s a case where a parent is unable to care for a child properly–or doesn’t know how to. Reunification is always the first goal when a child is removed from home. Relative placement is the second. DSS offers every parent/caregiver a treatment plan designed to provide them with the skills, resources, and other help they need to provide a safe and stable home for their child(ren). Terminating parental rights, like in Fred’s case, only happens when there are no other options.
Here’s hoping for some options for this little one.
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2 responses to “Empathy in All the Right Places”
Man. I would drive to S. Carolina just to get her.
I’m surprised that everyone thinks that fostering/adoption are selfish choices–I think the real selfishness comes in when you know someone else could do a better job, but aren’t willing to admit that to yourself or anyone else.
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