There are some things in life a person can never erase from their mind no matter how hard they try. Working at a department store, I witnessed something that chokes me up to this day. One evening late, with very few customers left in the store, I watched a young man parade through the store alongside his young (I assume) wife who sported a colorful array of lipstick flooding the lines of her lips while followed by a young child who could not have been much more than a year old. The child was dressed only in a sagging diaper, no shoes, no shirt, face unkept with a fist full of something he was eating.
Today, when I think of my adopted grand, not to mention my two foster grands who are still so much a part of the system, I don’t think of the parent’s rights! Let me explain why I think the way I do. To me the choices are clear. You can have (illegal) drugs, or you can have children, but you shouldn’t have both. When a parent uses drugs and gets locked up and their children taken away, those children’s lives should never be put on hold! You can’t say to an infant or a 1-year-old, or two-year-old, or even a 12-year-old, wait for your parent to get their life together and you will be sent back home where you will finally have a family. We cannot put children’s lives on hold until parents decide to choose them over the drugs. Children were made for homes built in safety and love, where fear doesn’t preside, and food is bought instead of drugs; where they are part of a loving family, now, not later! Children grow up! You can’t put them on hold! And that’s not even speaking to the psychological issues so numerous for a child in this situation.
Is it easy for a parent to choose to give a child up? Not on your life. It’s not about what’s easy but all about what’s right. A parent refusing to give up their rights or even give up the drugs, for that matter, is only thinking of themselves. And they place the children at the mercy of a governmental system.
Children should be given a home that promotes a healthy balance of love and training for a childhood they can never get back.
I’m not saying these parents should never be given help or a second chance. God is always waiting for prodigals to come home, and even those who are not “born-again” believers are offered the free gift of reconciliation. And when there is true change, I believe they can have a place in their child’s life just not the place of raising them.
O Gracious Heavenly Father,
May we stop playing with the lives of children. We most assuredly will answer to you. As your Word states: “It is inevitable that stumbling blocks come, but woe to him through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble” (Luke 17:1-2, NASB). May we hold others accountable while shining the light of hope and rehabilitation through second chances with places and programs of ministry that promote spiritual health. May we stand for children as Jesus did: “Then some children were brought to Him so that He might lay His hands on them and pray; and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, ‘Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these’” (Matthew 19:13-14).
Our Father, May your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen (Matthew 6:10 & 13b).