The Fallacy of Biological Bonds

We've recently experienced a horrid happening here in the Milwaukee area. An infant boy was beaten to death and his two year-old sister has been hospitalized with injuries that speak to months of systematic abuse. The individual charged with the abuse of the children and the murder of the baby boy is their aunt who was legally their foster-mother. I won't relate the horrid story further, but if you want to hurt your heart, you can read the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article. The litany of the abuse these children suffered is too horrific and painful for me to recount.

There are several systemic problems that lead to this travesty, but the one that pains me most is our societal notion that somehow biological bonds are sacrosanct and to be valued over all else, even the welfare of the children in question. We see this fallacy at work over and over again with children who are thriving in a foster family's care being ripped from that nurturing environment and being "reunited" with the chaos, uncertainty, and, at times, emotional and physical abuse or neglect of their biological family. Often times the child is further traumatized by repeated cycles of being placed into foster care and "reunited" over and over and over again.

In this particular case, the fallacy of biological bonds being revered above the welfare of the chidren manifested itself in the boy being taken from a foster family that loved and wanted to adopt him, and the girl being taken from a foster mother who specialized in special needs children so that both of the children could be placed with the bioligical uncle and his wife.

People talk about the rights of the parents and the rights of the relatives in justifying this fallacy. In my mind and in my experience, the only individual who should have any rights whatsoever is the child. The child's rights to be emotionally and physically healthy, to have a good education, to be loved, to grow and develop into a decent adult, are the only rights that matter.

As an adoptee, I see this argument played out in terms of the adoption trinity; biological parent(s), adoptees, adoptive parent(s) all arguing about their "rights". Biological parent(s) insisting on visitation, decision-making, and other rights; adoptive parents insisting on their right to raise the child with/without the biological parent(s) involvement or at times without the adoptee even being aware of their adopted status. Being an adoptee obviously colors my view, but the only argument that makes sense is that the adoptee's rights are the only ones that matter.

In the case of Christopher Thomas (the murdered boy) and his sister, their rights were clearly never considered. Biological ties were given precedence over the healthier foster environments they had been in prior. And now the boy is dead.

It saddens, enrages, and disgusts me. It hurts my heart and my soul. That boy deserved better. His sister deserves better. Hopefully the Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare will live up to their name and not traumatize the girl's life any further than it has been already.