The other day I wrote about a little girl who’d been abandoned on a stranger’s porch. Thanks to lots of media attention, we now know who this little girl is. Her name is Zoe Brown. She’s four. Both of her parents have been arrested. She’s still in foster care, reportedly happy and healthy.
All of this is good.
In 2011, another local story caught the attention of people near and far: the story of the Bi-Lo Center baby. In this case, a woman gave birth to her baby in the restroom at the Bi-Lo Center, and left the baby in the toilet, where luckily it was found by housekeeping staff. Like the story of Zoe Brown, this is a heart-breaker. And like Zoe Brown, the Bi-Lo Center baby garnered lots of press. The Bi-Lo Center baby was placed into foster care and has since been adopted, and her birth mother plead guilty to child neglect and is serving her sentence.
All of this is good.
Here’s what’s still bugging me, though: In both of these cases, hundreds of people contacted local authorities, offering to adopt the child. Hundreds. And I know it’s because these stories pull at the heart strings, and that pull compels people to act. I get it. But if you’re willing and ready to jump up and adopt the Bi-Lo Center baby, Zoe Brown, or any other media sensation, you should be willing to adopt any child from foster care.
In the state of South Carolina, according to the Children’s Defense Fund, there are over 4,000 kids in foster care, at least 1/2 of whom are waiting and hoping to be adopted. There are over 4,000 kids with stories just as compelling as the Bi-Lo Center baby’s. There are 4,000 kids from situations like Zoe Brown’s. Remember Fred? He’s still in foster care, waiting to be adopted. Nationwide, there are over 400,000 children in foster care; of those, 130,000 are eligible and waiting to be adopted.
If those hundreds of people who called in offering a home to Zoe Brown would each follow through on that offer with a different child, imagine how many of our children could move from foster care into permanent loving homes!
It’s great when the media draws attention to the plight of abandoned children like Zoe Brown, but I just wish that people would recognize that, sensational though those stories might be, they are not all that unique. I wish people would remember that there are so many more children who need homes and that they would extend to one of those children the same offer they so readily extended to Zoe Brown and the Bi-Lo Center baby before her.
5 responses to “Everybody Wants the Bi-Lo Center Baby”
I love that you’re putting your thoughts out there for people to see and experience. I’m a foster mom myself, and went through the gasps and looks of my friends and family when I told them that, no I wouldn’t be even looking at infertility treatments or overseas adoption, I was doing foster care. It was like I had the plague. All I’ve gotten so far is what everybody says they would take if they fostered – babies. But when I talk to my worker and ask why I’m the baby lady, she says it’s because I don’t hesitate to take one…even if I’ll have to let them go, I still say yes, because they need someone.
Yet, how many out there aren’t even willing to take the chance? Thank you, SO MUCH, for sharing what you do, telling your side, your perspective, and your experiences. I truly appreciate reading it!
I know what the answer is for me. I have always had a heart for adoption, but I also have to think about the other little lives in my life–and that includes Charlie. I’m fearful that if I brought home an older child or one that has suffered significant abuse, that they might somehow hurt Charlie and he would have no way of telling me. That’s my story. That, and I’m not sure they’d let the crazy baby lady have another 🙂
Maybe when situations like these are brought up, people, possibly especially the media, can bring up that there are lots of children coming into care daily as well as those who have been in care waiting for a forever family. I agree that it would be nice if those hundreds of families would step forward. Maybe some of them should not foster or adopt for other reasons; but we probably could have an influx of homes at least, giving homes to precious children, infants, preschoolers, preteens and teens, who need a safe home in which to heal a bit.
At the same time, I really recoiled at one word in your post: any. There is absolutely *no* way that most people could or should adopt *any* child. It is a nice sentiment, that any person under the sun could adopt any child; but it simply is not true. There is a lot more to raising a “hurt child” than simply pulling him or her into your home, giving a bed, a hug, a story at 8am. The majority of us already fostering and adopting these kids could not take *any* child. We may have opened our home to a lot of kids, of all ages, whether infants or teens, whether for a few days or a year or two, whether special needs or not. But I certainly couldn’t have taken *any* child; and I certainly cannot now that I’ve adopted three.
But I think the sentiment is correct. Hopefully Children’s Services told all those people that it was unlikely they could get those particular children; but there are many more they could help if they’d like to become foster or foster-adopt parents. Hopefully some of them made the plunge if their circumstances allowed. Hopefully some children will greatly benefit.
What I really meant by that was that these people should be open to the possibility of fostering or adopting another one of the many children in foster care because you’re right: some people would be ill-equipped to work with children with special needs. They should be willing to consider more than the child on TV.
I had a foster mother once who was licensed for a therapeutic foster home. But when it came down to it, she sent my kid packing because there were “too many visits required and too much paperwork.” The kids had therapy appointments every week; this lady couldn’t handle it even though she knew the requirements going in as a therapeutic foster home. That’s fine. It just means that when push came to shove she wasn’t ready for that, so she should probably move to children without special needs.
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