Originally created 12/17/00

Tells realities of unwanted children 121700 - The Augusta Chronicle

Over the years I have seen many letters on your pages bemoaning abortion. I have never seen an open dialogue about the real-life dilemmas concerning unwanted children who result from un-terminated pregnancies.

Years ago I decided to adopt an older child from the state adoption department. During the year of classes to qualify as an adoptive parent and the search for a child, I discovered there are thousands of unwanted children languishing in foster care for years.

The child I adopted was unwanted by her birth mother, father, stepfather, grandparents and other extended family members. She suffered terrible abuse, neglect and multiple abandonments before her final abandonment. In four years of foster care, she was in 10 homes. She is severely emotionally disturbed and damaged and needs therapy to heal, but neither South Carolina nor Medicaid will pay for her therapy. Neither can I.

She has a severe disturbance, solely caused by abuse, called "reactive attachment disorder," and unless treated, has a high probability of growing up as a marginally functioning human.

I love my daughter and do not regret her birth, but I can guarantee you she does. She believes she is unlovable, unwanted, undeserving and alone.

How can a woman shooting heroin during her entire pregnancy believe she was not injuring her child? How could anyone sell heroin to a pregnant woman?

How could she escape the attention of her family, doctors and community? How could a judge send the child home with the mother after spending two weeks in an intensive care unit for heroin withdrawal at birth?

How could there not be close supervision of this mother after she took the baby home? How can a child live in the back of a truck in the woods with heroin-addicted parents, and no one ever know?

Why do we accept this treatment of our children? Because they have no one to speak for them? Because their worth comes only as a political issue, before they are born?

When a family does accept a badly damaged child into their heart and home, why does the state refuse to give the support and money necessary to care for the child?

If parents are allowed to abuse their children for years before intervention and the courts maintain the child in emotional limbo for years, and the foster system can fail so abysmally, and the state is allowed to deny the child treatment, what do we call ourselves as communities, citizens, churches? Concerned? Ignorant?

I am willing to have a dialogue about abortion. After fighting for my child for two years, however, I notice no one is willing to have a dialogue about her special needs, now that she is here among us.

J. Peters, Augusta


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