Tuesday, December 11, 2007

When an Angel leaves this earth

I don't know what it is, but lately it seems that I am reading one heartbreaking story after another. The characters are a little different from tale to tale, but the story always ends in one of two ways: a child is clinging to life or a child has died a horrible death. I am so tired of hearing about children being hurt by the very people who are meant to protect them.

I think there are few things worse than inflicting pain on a helpless person or animal. And yet the punishment rarely seems to fit the crime. You often find harsher sentences passed down when someone kills a stranger, rather than their own child. And how hard is it to read about newborns being thrown away or killed by a mother, knowing the number of childless couples desperate to adopt a baby? I always wonder what must happen within a murderer's brain. How does someone go from being an average Joe to rationalizing the murder of their own offspring?

I have often wondered if the so called "safe haven" laws should be extended. Why not make it easier for overwhelmed parents to get help? I can see that a lot of children might be abandoned by their parents, but often these parents have virtually abandoned their children long ago. They are not supportive emotionally and are often barely supportive financially. But at least the kids are alive. It is far from ideal, but something needs to happen to help these children before they become another headline.

Every parent has had moments when they are less than proud of themselves. Their buttons have been pushed, their sanity is at the brink, and they want to scream/cry/get away from their offspring. So what makes some parents able to keep going, and what makes others cross the line? How do I get to the point that I tell myself it is okay to hit/whip/scald/burn/beat /strangle/torture my child? And how do I have the nerve to offer any defense at my trial for those actions? How do I dare argue that I am being subjected to cruel and unusual punishment when I offered no such concessions to my own flesh and blood?

How do I find an answer to the questions that plague me whenever I hear that another child has suffered at the hand of a caretaker or parent? There aren't any easy answers. There aren't any easy solutions. But hopefully society can make it a priority to find the solution. It's time to speak for those who can't speak for themselves and who don't have any political or financial power.

I know this post has been a departure for this blog. I try to keep the focus on my family, but I feel that these children need someone to talk and worry about them too. And I do. In my heart, they are all my children. I miss them. I mourn them. And now I want to help them, even if it's just by getting other people to think about them the same way. I don't want to lose another angel. Heaven knows that we need more angels here on earth. So speak out for those with no voice, be a friend to the friendless, and protect all the children in your life.