Imagine this horror, if you can.
You’re a 3?-year-old child.
One day, you are taken away from the only people you have ever known as Mommy and Daddy and told you will now be living with strangers.
It is happening all too often in this country.
It happens when judges playing God take children away from biological parents because they are “unfit.” And, increasingly, it happens when judges playing God take children away from perfectly fit adoptive parents and place them with biological parents for no other reason than they have “changed their minds” and now want the children they previously signed away.
These are heartbreaking scenes, as we witnessed last weekend when 3?-year-old Evan Scott was taken away from the only parents he ever knew – Gene and Dawn Scott, his adoptive family that raised him beginning two days after he was born – and placed with his biological mother, Amanda Hopkins.
“He told me, as I was walking out the door with him, ‘Mommy, I’m scared. Mommy, I’m scared,’” Dawn Scott said. “I told him, ‘It’s going to be OK … Mommy and Daddy will try to do everything they can to bring you back home. We love you, and you’re a good boy. This is not your fault.’”
Before he was handed over, Evan was heard wailing in his home.
The Scotts met Hopkins in 2001 when she was pregnant with Evan. They agreed to a private adoption, and the boy was placed with the Scotts two days after he was born.
But Hopkins changed her mind – after the biological father demanded she get the child back.
As a result, the courts decided not only does this mother who abandoned her child more than three years ago get him back, but the couple who raised him doesn’t even get visitation rights.
That’s how little adoption has come to mean in the United States of America in 2005.
I think it’s part of an increasing problem Americans – particularly judges and other public officials – are having distinguishing between right and wrong, good and evil, up and down, right and left, black and white.
In so many ways, Americans are losing their ability to govern themselves – to think clearly, rationally, to put the best interests of others ahead of themselves and their own feelings.
Whatever happened to the idea that in family court it’s the best interests of the child that counts most?
How could it possibly be in the best interests of a child to be stripped from the loving arms of his loving parents?
It’s tempting to characterize this atrocity as an attack on the institution of adoption. But I honestly think there is more to it than that.
I believe this is raw power politics at its ugliest. The shuffling back and forth of children between families, the forceful removal of children from loving homes of both biological and adoptive parents and the increased meddling of courts in family matters is evidence the state is showing parents who really is the boss.
Your children don’t belong to you. That’s the message. It doesn’t matter if you are a biological parent or an adoptive parent. The point is that the state has the power – all the power to decide the fate of your children.
Another example came last month when the Washington state Supreme Court ruled it is unconstitutional for parents to eavesdrop on their children’s phone conversations. The court, with the help of an American Civil Liberties Union brief, determined a mother in the town of Friday Harbor, Wash., violated the state’s Privacy Act when she listened by speakerphone to a conversation between her then-14-year-old daughter and her daughter’s adult boyfriend, prompting the court to reverse the boyfriend’s 2000 robbery conviction.
Government uses the rationalization of “children’s rights” to meddle in affairs better left to families. But the purpose is always the same – government empowerment, stripping parents of responsibility for their children, stripping parents of any authority over their children.
It’s not just adoption that is under attack – though it is. It is the family.
And your family could easily be the next victim.