Every year in Oklahoma, many families are torn apart by abuse and violence, and many children suffer the consequences. We sometimes talk to people who don’t understand why we do what we do to reunite families. In their minds, children who have lived in abusive homes would be better off in a completely different home situation.
But that’s not what research shows us. If we follow the research and pay attention to what’s in the best interest of the child, we know that children who are able to be returned to their biological home have a better chance of success than those who are adopted.
We’re by no means saying adoption is a bad thing. In some situations, it is the best option for a child. But whenever possible, our goal is to equip biological parents with the skills needed to raise their children in a safe, supportive home.
Our core memories start in the womb. Even infants who are adopted at birth experience loss, though they’re unable to express it in words. Some studies suggest that it’s actually more difficult for children adopted as infants than those adopted when they are old enough to know that their biological parent loves them. At birth, an infant knows its mother’s voice and can distinguish it from any other voice. When they’re removed from that parent and that voice, they experience extreme loss, and it can result in attachment issues throughout their life.
Other questions we sometimes hear from people are “How do you lose your kid? or “How can anything else be more important than your child?” Having worked with countless mothers and fathers over the years, we can say that most people have never felt such loss of hope or been so deep into something that’s holding them down. And until you’ve been there, it can be difficult to understand.
But we’ve also seen so many mothers and fathers put in the effort required to learn a new way of parenting-a way that’s dramatically different than what they likely experienced in their own childhood. They’re learning a way of parenting that creates a positive, supportive, and healthy environment in which to raise their children. They are working hard every day to break the cycle of abuse, and we applaud their efforts.
Each time we’re able to help reunite a family, it’s a cause for celebration. We know that we’ve done everything we can to keep a family together and create a successful future for that child. It’s not an easy road, and we’re so proud of the families who are committed to changing their future and their child’s future.