I have partnered with Prevent Child Abuse America, on their 50th Anniversary year of being a champion for children. PCA America is the oldest and largest organization committed to preventing child abuse and neglect before it happens, and to support their 50th Anniversary celebration, I am sharing with you how pressing this problem is, and what we can do to help lessen and prevent child abuse and neglect. Coming out of a two-year pandemic, which has stressed families out in unimaginable ways, also presents additional challenges in this area that we need to talk about. And as an adoptive parent, there were many hoops to jump through, all for the protection of children. Support us by wearing blue on April 1st, the first day of Child Abuse Prevention Month!
Child abuse, and its prevention, is an issue that has been in the forefront of my mind since I have been an adult. I have always loved children, and always wanted to be a parent, but was born in 1959, and am gay, so that was not always an option. Luckily, society has grown and matured, and my partner and I became dads in 2003. We adopted an infant at birth. It was a remarkable process. Social worker visits, testimonies from family and friends, and living under a microscope are all things that prospective adoptive parents have to deal with in order to be approved to become parents. And that is all before the process of finding an available child. The process is to protect prospective adoptive children from abuse, before it can happen.
We were always aware that we were basically being investigated to make sure we would not be perpetrators of any kind of child abuse, that’s just the adoption process, designed to protect the young and defenseless. And it is great that this is done, because preventing abuse to the youngest of our population gives them the best chance to grow up to be productive adults, who won’t repeat the negative situations that they might otherwise have experienced while growing up!
It was a rigorous process. Meant to weed out candidates that are not ready to become parents for a myriad of reasons. One of which would be to weed out those who’s frustration levels may be quite high, and those folks might not have the temperament to be parents. The social workers employed in these cases are trained to see which families present a road to the lowest possibility of abuse. Wouldn’t it be amazing if everyone had to go through a similar process?
Adoptive parents have to get approved to move forward on the road to becoming parents. This is true for all, not just gay or straight folks. There are no background checks for anyone else to have a baby. Almost anyone can get pregnant and have a baby without any instruction as to how to raise the baby, how to care for the baby, and how to protect the baby. Most folks figure it out. And most folks aren’t supervised during the early part of this process like we were. We have been very conscious regarding the safety of our child, at home, in school, and at playtime. As a same sex couple, we had the additional concern of our child being bullied for having gay parents. Luckily, raising him in New York City, we were dealing with folks who were hugely supportive of our family.
Prevent Child Abuse America (PCA America):
- promotes programs and resources to enable kids and families to thrive in tough environments.
- helps to ensure that kids are raised in safe, stable, nurturing environments (this guides their future success).
- has a nationwide network of state chapters and home visiting sites throughout the United States.
- has a staff of experts developing innovative research, and this is ongoing.
- helps raise public awareness and advocate for family friendly policies at all levels of government, something that we can support as well!
Healthy children become healthy adults: kids need to be raised in safe and stable environments. They need nurturing relationships. This helps them to achieve their most successful futures. I have tried to be conscious of this in the raising of my child. Even today, when we talk on the phone, almost every conversation ends with an “I Love You.” I have tried to maintain a stream of positive messaging throughout his life. He had some tough times in elementary school, possibly because of circumstances beyond my control. I advocated for him on several occasions. And I always let him know that I did that, that he was my priority, that my job was to protect and defend him. I wanted the feeling that his dads “always had his back,” ingrained in him, that his parent was his staunchest defender, his dad would always support and defend him, and fight for his rights. Every child should be raised with some form of security knowing that their primary caregivers are there to protect them, no matter what.
Not all families have a two-parent household, not all families have an income that allows a parent to have extra time with their child (I had a flexible job), and not all families have a one child household where it is easier to maintain stability for all. That is where PCA America’s work to support families across America is so important!
It’s much easier for a parent to raise a confident child, when they have self-confidence. It’s easier when a parent doesn’t have to worry about where their next meal is coming from. Parenting is easier when you can provide proper healthcare for your family. Shouldn’t we all have the right to have the tools to raise healthy (mentally and physically) children? This is what PCA America aims to accomplish.
What a great way to celebrate the Prevent Child Abuse America’s 50th Anniversary and Child Abuse Prevention Month in April by going to: https://pinwheels.preventchildabuse.org/. Healthy families create healthy communities, isn’t that our collective goal?