• I Am But I'm Not

Reflection of attending a Family Focused Protest

Updated: Jul 12, 2018

When I read in the news about my government separating children from their parents, I was instantly sickened. I quickly started having thoughts like:

  • Why do I live in the States?

  • Those poor children, being in a foreign country and taken away from their parents

  • This isn’t really new news

There are many things that I have forgotten about when it comes to USA history, but I have never forgotten the parts about child welfare. Ever since the founding of this country, people in power have taken children from their parents. There is a long history of this happening, such has been the case for Native Americans, African slave families, immigrating families, and we are seeing the same thing happening again. YAY for America!!!!!!!!

As I have continued to read about this struggle, my heart goes out to those families who have little to no chance of being reunified. How can I support a government that is taking steps to tear people apart who have fled to America to escape terror. When I learned about the protest, Keeping Families Together, I knew that I wanted to get behind it.

I took my family to join thousands of voices across the nation saying that families need to be kept together. When we got there, I was impressed with how many supporters there were. I listened the best I could to the speakers, but I wasn’t able to get very close because there were many attendees. I read the various posters and signs that were being displayed, messages that ranged from simple to complex, kind to cruel.

As I looked around thinking about the deeper reasons why people may have attended, I obviously thought about my own reasons. Why did I bring my family here? What is my deeper reason for participating?

I joined because I feel that another perspective can be added to the message about keeping families together.

So many people have said to my face that when the government intervenes and removes children through a CPS case, the biological families should not have the chance to be reunified with their children, ever. It has been said to me that I should keep the children I have been fostering because I can provide a better life. As I stood there among the vast crowd, I wondered how many people would share these views.

Fostering children is a consuming task. I put my whole person towards the child’s welfare when I foster. Of course I am providing a more stable home to the child, but only as a means to allow that family, if possible, to fix problems in order to reunify. That is what I signed on to do. I am not entitled to that child at all.

So at the protest, my thoughts were divided. While standing, clapping, yelling, and chanting about keeping families together, I knew I could safely assume that many of my fellow protesters are also likely all too eager to permanently separate families in CPS cases with the same rash lack of forgiveness that we see our government using at the border. Being at the protest makes me want to push harder for community understanding about many of the child welfare issues that exist around us daily. These are just as pressing, just as heart-wrenching, and just as destructive to our communities and culture as the border separation policies, but none of them are new.

- Shalisa