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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First of all...I love this forum. It has made me aware (sometimes very painfully) of issues and things happening in the world that I haven't been aware of. I have found myself in a position of questioning, testing, weighing and drawing conclusions about my views, my stand and my thoughts on issues. It is an ongoing process. But I have a question for all of you. I have been dealing with a very personal issue for a few years now. I have hit some real lows. It has forced me to question everything about myself and my beliefs. And I will admit that the jury is still out. But I am eager to hear your thoughts. But before I bare my soul here please take heart...although I am asking for your opinion please don't attack me. Remember I am living this everyday. I need support not criticizm.

For this to make sense let me start by saying my sister is 13 yrs. younger than me. Five years ago my family discovered that she was addicted to Heroine at age 18. Yes, my parents did what they could treatment, rehab and counseling. This not the issue. Two years later she gets pregnant. At her first dr. visit we discover that she isn't clean never has been apparently. She uses through her entire pregnancy. Has very little pre natal care because of addiction. The baby is born 5 lbs. and premature and addicted. Child Protective says baby can't go home with the mother.
My parents are now raising their granddaughter. Seven months after the baby is born she gets pregnant again. She is due in August. She is still using...

I am pissed off, disgusted, sad...you name it. My heart breaks for both those babies. But the thing I have had the most trouble with is CP and the courts. Neither have stepped in. As a family we haven't been able to do anything to help her or protect either fetus. The court has had several opportunities to force her into a program atleast while pregnant to allow the baby to develop with out drugs. They know her history. She again has had no pre natal care. Yet CP and the courts keep giving her chance after chance with no real punishment or consequence. It's June and they tell her go to this detox for 2 wks and then if you test clean from now until you give birth we will let you have the baby and work toward getting custody of your other child.

So who's rights are right here? Where do you draw the line? Shouldn't she be held accountable for using through 2 pregnancies? What about the fetus? Has it no right? What about her daughter? Has she no rights? This is hard stuff to sort out when you are emotionally involved. It's easy to pass judgement from the sidelines. Believe me we have had lots of people give us their opinion and take on how they would handle it. But right now I am asking the questions on a different level. Not emotional but political. What do you think?
 

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First, I just want to tell you I am so sorry you are dealing with this.


My first reaction is that your sister needs to be put into rehab asap. She has already had one baby addicted and to do it again , only seven months later, is disgusting. Then again she is an addict and wise decisions don't usually go hand and hand with that. I really really don't want the government to have even more control over women and our choices. I don't think mandatory rehab or jailing addicted moms is in the large scheme a good idea. But then I think about the babies that aren't given a choice NOT to be born addicts, it's heart breaking (although jail is not a solution at all). Is your sister opposed to abortion? I know it is waaaay to late this time but if she becomes pregnant again woud she consider it? How about some form of birth control she doesn't have to remember, the shot, IUD? Could she be talked into using one after this baby is born? What does your sister say about all of it, having her first baby born addicted and taken away? The fact her second child will have the same? Does she want to take responsibilty at all for her actions? I really think she needs to be talked into birth control something like I said before she doesn't have to remember. Of course if she refuses then what? This is such a hard thing and I do think babies should have the right NOT to be born addicts (those poor babies) but I have no idea what a good solution is.
 

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Is she here in AZ? If she was up here in my county she'd be locked up and detoxed for sure, they are very strict here. So move!


Seriously, I don't understand why she isn't in detox/rehab. What is wrong with the courts?

The goal with CPS is almost always to keep the child with the bio parents, which is probably why they are giving her so many chances. And the social workers are so overburdened, they probably don't spend much time on her case, and because there are more serious cases out there, it's easier for them to not deal with it. I don't agree with this, but that's what happens.

I think the problem is that there aren't any clear guidelines in place in the system, kwim? There aren't any rules that say "if you do XYZ then you will lose your child", everything is subjective, and it boils down to what the judge thinks. You can have case workers and CASA workers saying/recommending the same thing, and the judge can totally disregard them and do what they want. I think if there were guidlines, laws, etc. that were specific to children and child abuse than it would be easier.

Well, gotta run.....

Kristi
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I didn't really start this thread to talk about her problem. Although, I understand when you first hear about it you are naturally drawn to talk about her and her addiction. I have come to terms with the fact that this is the life she has chosen for herself. What I can't deal with is the fact that she is got pregnant again. It was planned. They both were. She won't look you in the eye and tell you that.

What I can't seem to answer is this: Does she have the right to keep getting pregnant and intentionally using while preg? Should there be a law or a way to protect the fetus? Should women be put in prision who use until their baby is born and taken away? What happens to these children who are left in the ashes? If you think that her daughter has not suffered think again. She has had a lot of health problems lungs, digestive etc. What about emotional down the road? And other problems that we might not know about until she is older ie behavorial? The doctors have said that they don't really know the extent of damage she has sustained.

These are the things that bother me so much. There's this part of me that is pissed off at the system for not protecting this 2nd child. But at the same time I don't want the courts telling me what I can and can't do with my body. I mean lets be honest the thought of someone taking your child away is scary...And given away our rights is scary. But what's the solution? Trying to get a rational response out of her...forget it. She isn't going to do anything to help the situation. She doesn't think she wrong or that it's any of our business(the family). She is an addict and lives the life of an addict. And there are thousands of women out there just like her? What about the baby?

I don't expect someone to write me and say hey Tina here's the perfect answer. But I would like to talk about this. This is happening in my family but it's also happening in a lot of other families too. Maybe it's Crack or Alcohol or Meth. What is our responsibility as a society to these children? These kids are going to grow up and their lives are going to effect my son's life and your children as well. They already know some of the horrible effects that addicted children can have. Type in crack babies in your search engine it's gut wrenching. There's this part of my soul that aches and a part of my brain that cries out there has to be a solution...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
No she doesn't live in AZ. Abortion and birth control not really an issue when you plan your pregnancy. She is in detox as we speak.

Forgot to answer questions asked. Thank you for talking with me. Tina

edited to add:
I can't really answer some of the questions asked about her feelings and thoughts as I can't really get a straight answer from her.
 

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I think you raise a very interesting question, one I have thought about myself. (and, I am really sorry you have to deal with this. one of my best friends was a heroin addict and so i have a small inkling of what its like).

Back to your question. I have had conversations about this very topic with my MIL who is very much in the babies rights camp. She believes that while we are all capable of having children (well, unless you can't) she doesn't believe its a right. she thinks that if you are living an unsustainable life and cannot provide for a child, then you should not be allowed to have kids (be it addiction, chronic welfare, etc..). She *says* she would support involuntary sterilization. Now, I am just repeating her point of view.

I have a very hard time with this. There is no doubt that the children need to be considered and they do not have a choice (well, depending on your spiritual beliefs, but that's another topic). But- who decides? Do i have right to make a judgement on someone else's life as to whether or not they are fit to have kids? I mean, some of the most amazing people have come from the worst circumstances. I have read some amazing stories right here on MDC about some mamas' childhoods- and look how they are raising their own. People change. Many don't, but some do. I would hate to see us in a society where a third party, largely probably influenced by politics (ie, white men), starts dictating who can and cannot have children.

So, that's the extreme. In the reality we have now, I think that children who are born to moms or dads who cannot raise them responsibly (ie, addiction/violence/abuse) do not have the right to keep them while they maintain such behavior. Yes, this requires a third party to make that decision. Ideally a non-government, non-religious affiliated party, involving the extended family. When and if the biological parents demonstrate that they are ready to commit and raise their children safely, then I think they should be given the opportunity to be reunited.

I don't know. I mean, I could go on, but those are some of my initial thoughts on the topic.
 

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I think that situations like these don't really come down to rights or "right/wrong" issues. In the end, they come down to all these grey areas. I agree, it's so difficult - figuring out how to change this situation because it's so complex.

Urgh, I can't imagine how heart breaking it is to be so close to a situation like that. Hugs.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by JoshuasMommy

What I can't seem to answer is this: Does she have the right to keep getting pregnant and intentionally using while preg? Should there be a law or a way to protect the fetus? Should women be put in prision who use until their baby is born and taken away? What happens to these children who are left in the ashes? If you think that her daughter has not suffered think again. She has had a lot of health problems lungs, digestive etc. What about emotional down the road? And other problems that we might not know about until she is older ie behavorial? The doctors have said that they don't really know the extent of damage she has sustained.
Well, let me see if I can take a stab at this... She does have a right to be PG, she does NOT have the right to use drugs while PG or not, as all drugs are illegal. So if somehow it can be proven and she can be jailed for it or put into a strict rehab program for drugs that would be the way to go. I don't think the baby should be taken away, but I think that there should be some sort of interference for the drugs....and not in the matter of *rights* but in the matter of law, which will kill two birds with one stone.

As for children already born with these complications of drugs, I think all one can do is pray in whatever manner they see fit, that these children will have a good happy life. I don't think much else can be done.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by IdentityCrisisMama
I think that situations like these don't really come down to rights or "right/wrong" issues. In the end, they come down to all these grey areas...
ITA....

I feel so sorry for these babies - thousands of them across the globe.

I also agree with wemoon

Quote:
She does have a right to be PG, she does NOT have the right to use drugs while PG or not, as all drugs are illegal. So if somehow it can be proven and she can be jailed for it or put into a strict rehab program for drugs that would be the way to go.
But I also think that the right to fall pg comes with responsiblity. Using drugs while pregnant is NOT responsible and is detrimental to the child. But does the unborn child HAVE any rights? Should they?

I think its a very complex topic as it too leads into a whole other plathora of debates....
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
all drugs are illegal. So if somehow it can be proven and she can be jailed for it or put into a strict rehab program for drugs that would be the way to go.

Everyone does know she IS using...CPS, the courts, her doctor. See my frustration? NOONE has jailed her, forced her into rehab or lifted a finger to help her baby.
 

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Politically speaking, I think these are people who have slipped through the cracks (aka gaping holes) and that is so sad. I imagine that there are some programs in your area that deal in some way with problems like this but it may come down to an execution problem.

I think the most beneficial programs probably just take up too many resources. She probably needs extensive, expert and on going treatment for her addiction including therapy. But even these things can not help if she doesn't want help. If you don't mind my asking, why does she intentionally get pregnant? Does she want children? Oh, it's just so sad for everyone involved. How much contact do you have with her? Please don't answer if you don't feel comfortable.

Another thought I have is how detox is handled for a pregnant woman. The baby must also detox so maybe the process is more complicated. Also, there are probably some legal obstacles that interfere with forced rehab or jail time. And as far as forcing her not to have children, well that just opens up another can of worms.

About the drug issue, 1st the statement about all drugs being illegal is false. Illegal drugs are illegal. Besides, being jailed for using illegal drugs requires the burden of proof and a conviction that requires jail/treatment time. It's just not nearly as simple as "break the law - go to directly to jail". The US politics on drugs is seriously messed up so it's not surprising in the least that things like this happen. Unfortunately, people who use are seen as criminals and not as victims of an addiction. They are not a priority and that is truly sad.

OP, I'm sorry for what your family is going through. I am also angry that there isn't more assistance (and prevention!) for issues like this. If you like, I could do some searches for programs in your area. I assume that you've don't something similar already though. Maybe you could get some support from a group like Alanon or something like that. I'm sure some people here could point you in the direction of groups for family of addicts. Hugs again, Hannah
 
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