Monday, September 22, 2014

Because adoption doesn’t cure fatherlessness.

Another old post from Opine Editorials 

Volunteering at The Department of Children of Families, I get to sit in on foster care reviews. I witness wonderful people helping families, including foster parents of differing households. Single adults, couples with adult children, yes even older gay couples. To be a foster parent or adopt, marriage is not a prerequisite, even unmarried partners are eligible to apply.

85% of children receive services, while living with their own families. The children in foster care usually return to their parents within 3 months. Of course due to safety, some children can not be returned to their parents, and are placed under guardianship or adopted to a family member. If that is not possible, we keep siblings together. Sometimes siblings must be placed in separate homes due to certain
circumstances, but DCF finds ways to keep connectivity.

These children have parents; they may be addicted to drugs, mentally ill, incarcerated, or deceased. Yes in some cases there is physical and sexual abuse, but not all cases. (Don’t worry, these are treated differently!) For other children, they can have supervised visits with parents, and foster/adoptive parents must respectful of the fact this child lost his/her family. As adults, children are free to have relationships with their parents on their own terms.


These children need safe places to live and adults they can trust. These children are not for up for adoption to cure your infertility, or to legitimize your personal relationship with another person, and adoption isn’t for you to hoard and pride yourself what a saint you are.

Expanding the type of households, that can apply to adopt, doesn’t address the issue of fatherlessness in our communities. The only thing that can solve fatherlessness is a healthy relationship between a mother and father. Once upon a time, we use to refer to this as marriage.

Family Find

This is an older post from The Opine Editorials 


Family Find from Children Trends October 2011

The program was first conceived in 1999 by Kevin Campbell and colleagues at Catholic Community Services in Tacoma, Washington. Campbell was inspired by the family-tracing techniques used by international aid agencies to find and reunite family members who had been separated by war, civil disturbance, or natural disaster. Using genealogical archives and internet-based services, Campbell and colleagues were not only able to increase the number of life-long connections for children in foster care in the agency’s service area and decrease the number of children in non-relative care, but also inspire the passage of state legislation in 2003 requiring intensive relative searches for all children in out-of-home care.

If you are in foster care, Washington Sate has an interest that a child knows all possible relatives on both maternal and paternal sides. Yet currently in Washington State, if ones states children should live with both their biological mother and father and to identify and create public policy around that concept, it can be construed as hatred?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

7QT Am I in a zombie movie?

More quick links over at Jen's Conversion Diary. 

1. I'm not a joyful Catholic, today. That's an honest statement. I need to go to confession ASAP, but I know I'm just going to be venting out my frustration with others and not dealing with my own faults. Yes, I know that is something I confess in of itself.

2. I have so many things to be grateful for, but what saddens me is the inability to share them. I can't communicate or share an idea. (like marriage) You have to tip-toe around it, in fear that if you cross the wrong person you will be falsely labeled a bigot. I feel like I'm in a zombie movie, something taken for granted is now unrecognizable. Our memories erased.

3. I've gone over in the past how PBS FrontLine (2002), President Obama (as Senator) (2007), the highest court in New York once defended marriage(2006), and public policy papers for Congress in 2014. Even science articles how marital breakdown affects parenting. I can pull up academic articles that are progressive in nature from 2001 that defends marriage. 


4. From 2001 from Cornell's Progressive Policy Institute
"Public policy concerns about the decline of marriage as an institution are not new.
What is new is that both conservatives and liberals seem increasingly prepared to act in concrete ways to encourage marriage and to prevent divorce. This willingness to act is no longer viewed as part of a narrow family agenda of the religious right or of political conservatives, but one increasingly embraced by centrist Democrats, family and child advocacy groups, and progressive social scientists and public policy analysts. Whether the new marriage agenda takes the form of eliminating the “marriage penalty” in the U.S. tax code, promoting covenant marriages that make divorce more difficult legally (as is the case in Louisiana), or developing marriage enrichment or pre-marital counseling programs, the message is clear: The government is no longer willing to let the health and well-being of America’s children, youth, and families to chance. This pro-marriage agenda has taken center stage in the debate over the reauthorization of PRWORA. " 

5. What happened? The idea we've become zombies has not been ruled out. 

6. Over at Mercator "Truth is Sacred" how one many is correcting his birth certificate
"This is something that our society needs. My dog has a more accurate birth certificate than I do. How is it that animals can have a more accurate family tree than a person? Is that not dehumanising?"

7.  Are we failing to teach our teenagers to love... 

The Webs that Support Us: Shifting Conceptions of the American Dream

"I didn’t gather a similar group in this largely white neighborhood to compare their aspirations with those of their peers across the street, but in my conversation with a guy who runs the waste treatment facility that serves both communities, he confirmed the standard fare: Take AP’s, find some community service opportunities, get into a prestigious college, and surf off networks and degrees from there. And it all sounded promising, except for knowing the laments of those in their same demographic (indeed, my demographic), just ten years ahead of them—laments of isolation and unexamined box-checking, reports of alienation and purposelessness. Upbringings of the college-bound structured according to the hurdles of our meritocracy, not first to love and loyalty, commitment and invisible service." 

Friday, September 12, 2014

7QT I cry at Baptisms

More 7QT at Jen's Conversion Diary

(#7 is me crying at Baptisms)

1. You can follow me on Twitter @reneeaste

2. I have a post on siblings and public policy this week. What we use to think about marital public policy wasn't about the legal benefits of two people, but the logistics of mom and dad raising children together. Anyone dealing with a situation who has to co-parent, but not under the same roof realizes the struggles of logistics that occurs.

3. What about half siblings living with a biological mother, but for health reasons/death the mother can not parent? Do you split up the children between the fathers? Do you allow a maternal relative take guardianship, despite the fathers have no neglected or abandoned their children?

4. From Science Daily "Marital tension between Mom and Dad can harm each parent's bond with child"

"We see from the findings that the marriage is a hub relationship for the family," she said. "The quality of that relationship spills over into each parent's interactions with the child. So if mom and dad are fighting, it will show up initially -- and in some cases on the second day -- in a poorer quality relationship with their kids."

5. I follow @CDCSTD, it is quite surprising how 'conservative' the medical advice is. Sure some of the tweets are creepy in my opinion, especially seeing pre-teen faces and STDs, but the date supports risks of unhealthy sexual activity. And really the only healthy sexual activity is within what we use to call 'marriage'.

6. Teen pregnancy for instance is somewhat more rare then we are lead to believe. Only one in four 'teen pregnancies' if from a minor. 75% of 'teen pregnancies' are are women of legal age 18-19. Also only about 25% of teens between 15-17 are sexually active.
"Encourage teens who are not sexually active to continue to wait."
 I always thought teens had more sex. I'm old now and my own experiences are irrelevant, but I thought everyone was having sex when I was a teenager. But why can't we talk sexually active teens/adults to also pause. Yes. you can stop.

7. My post on Facebook last Sunday
Some people cry at weddings, I cry at 11:15 Mass where an elderly man (with a cane) received the Sacrament of Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist. His daughter-in-law was his Godmother. Mass was set up for a Baptism and we were wondering for ten minutes 'where's the baby'.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Siblings and Public Policy


Back in the early 2000s, when only Vermont has civil unions, we watched the recorded arguments in law school. The state did a poor job as if they didn't even want to defend marriage. I didn't think much of it at the time, civil unions were not marriage.

14 years later, while I currently do not practice law I witness how public policy is played out in Massachusetts Department of Children and Families. Kinship matters. As in blood relationships. Not legal bonds. The legal status of paternity (by marriage affidavit of paternity, or guardianship does the legal authority to authorize care for the child. It is  also a way of keeping track of who is who, now that we mobile and do not live in villages where everyone knows everyone and how they are related.

For instance at DCF, if there is a sibling group but of differing fathers, we may be hesitant to divide up the children if the mother is unable to care for them. This means the children end up with a maternal relative and live together, instead of half siblings being separated living with the biological fathers. Of course biological fathers have the right to care for their own children, but they struggle taking their child away from his/her half siblings.

Hard to keep siblings together when they only have one parent in common, instead of two. 

Can we see how marriage (in its former understanding) could of prevented this? 

From a legal point of view it doesn't sound romantic or emotional, but law shouldn't be about feelings. It's about objectivity.

Some say marriage is dead. From the legal point of view, sure why not. Fine happy? But it isn't. It still has purpose from a public policy point of view.

"Non-Marital Births: An Overview" by the Congressional Research Service July 30, 2014


" It has been pointed out that fathers are far too often left out of discussions about nonmarital childbearing. It goes without saying that fathers are an integral factor in nonmarital childbearing. It appears that one result of the so-called sexual revolution was that many men increasingly believed that women could and should control their fertility via contraception and abortion. As a result, many men have become less willing to marry the women they impregnate.53
" The federal concern about nonmarital childbearing generally centers on its costs via claims on public assistance. These federal costs primarily reflect the fact that many of these “nonmarital children” are raised in single-parent families that are financially disadvantaged. Federal concern also arises because of the aforementioned research indicating that children living in single-parent families are more likely to face negative outcomes (financially, socially, and emotionally) than children who grow up with both of their biological parents in the home. As mentioned earlier, many children born outside of marriage are raised in single-parent families.9
This paper was published six weeks about.

But who is going to read a 30 page research paper?

No one.



Friday, September 5, 2014

7QT Voting in a political primary as a Catholic

More 7QTs at Jen's Conversion Diary

1. In good conscience yes I will cast a ballot in the Democratic primary. There are many issues that I still align with the Democratic platform, from state spending and anti-casino. But why I'm voting is to vote against the anti-life propaganda that is seen in the low-info voter commercials. It amounts to fear mongering and polarizing.

2. Massachusetts has created a brand new buffer zone law around abortion clinics (not women's health, there's no buffer zone around my own gynecologist office). In one of the political commercials it portrays peaceful protesters (the one in the US supreme court case) to a situation from 15+ years ago in which two workers at a clinic were murdered. This candidate who is one of eight children himself is running for attorney general.

3. There are other incidences I saw on television, but because I have trouble citing it online I just won't talk about  it. I'm just sick of it. The Massachusetts Democratic Party is not a 'big tent' party. It's disgustingly polarizing. I have no idea why people like these billionaire/millionaire candidates, for being a progressive. So I vote. I vote for those (despite disagreeing with), but do not utilize the low-info voter factor in cultural warfare in the television advertisements.

4. Voting in the Democratic primary I know I will be getting phone calls and campaign literature from EMILY's List and Planned Parenthood, but oh well. Yuck. But no better time to let them know you're pro-life.

5. Thoughts on  "Inter-generational Kinship Cohesion"
 Amazing how we turned family ideals/public policy from the goal of intergenerational cohesiveness to the an issue of government statuses irrelevant to any community interest but instead abstract concepts of privacy/equality within less an decade. A lot of the links I share are not pro-marriage, but adult adoptee/sperm-egg donor who are demanding their rights (despite educated, not in poverty). What I find disturbing that whether affluent or disadvantage, everyone thinks STEM & piano lessons is all a child needs to succeed and that money (not cohesion) is the only difference. -Renee Aste September 1, 2014 Facebook

6. Family matters, not just government programs.  "But where success occurred, it was often passed down, through family resources or networks simply out of reach of most of the disadvantaged." -Washington Post 

7.   I want to write more on this, but amazing from the Huff Post last year how family (not the government) matters. 


"In our study of family stories at the Emory University Family Narratives Project funded by the Sloan Foundation, we found that family stories seem to be transferred by mothers and grandmothers more often than not and that the information was typically passed during family dinners, family vacations, family holidays, and the like. Other data indicated that these very same regular family dinners, yearly vacations, and holiday celebrations occur more frequently in families that have high levels of cohesiveness and that they contribute to the development of a strong sense of what we have called the intergenerational self. It is this intergenerational self and the personal strength and moral guidance that seem to derive from it that are associated with increased resilience, better adjustment, and improved chances of good clinical and educational outcomes."



Tuesday, September 2, 2014

"Inter-generational Kinship Cohesion"




I had the intentions of writing an actual post, instead of just copying and pasting, but I'm overwhelming depressed at our society's attitude towards this ideal. 
 Amazing how we turned family ideals/public policy from the goal of intergenerational cohesiveness to the an issue of government statuses irrelevant to any community interest but instead abstract concepts of privacy/equality within less an decade. A lot of the links I share are not pro-marriage, but adult adoptee/sperm-egg donor who are demanding their rights (despite educated, not in poverty). What I find disturbing that whether affluent or disadvantage, everyone thinks STEM & piano lessons is all a child needs to succeed and that money (not cohesion) is the only difference. -Renee Aste September 1, 2014 Facebook


"But where success occurred, it was often passed down, through family resources or networks simply out of reach of most of the disadvantaged." -Washington Post (August 29, 2014) 


" Other data indicated that these very same regular family dinners, yearly vacations, and holiday celebrations occur more frequently in families that have high levels of cohesiveness and that they contribute to the development of a strong sense of what we have called the intergenerational self. It is this intergenerational self and the personal strength and moral guidance that seem to derive from it that are associated with increased resilience, better adjustment, and improved chances of good clinical and educational outcomes." The Stories That Bind Us: What Are the Twenty Questions? Huffington Post May 2013

Just saw an internet meme that reference that anyone that defends anthropological marriage as an 'asshole'. So I'm guess I will use "Inter-genertational Kinship Cohesion" as an alternative, but somehow I'm sure if I don't make an exemption for those who want to circumvent this I will be labeled something terrible.