Friday, March 15, 2013

I'm a Republican Because...

Today we're driving behind a huge SUV with a bumper sticker that reads "I'm a Republican because not everyone can be on welfare." I wanted to get out and punch the person in the head. I suspect that person is prolife too. You know prolife only in the sense that they oppose abortion. Everyone else who deserves life has money of course. And if you don't have money, you shouldn't get an abortion but you better not expect any help in raising the kid either. If you're white and the baby is "healthy" or "perfect" you luckily can adopt your baby out. Of course if you're a minority chances are your child will languish in foster care.

When we found out Jude had Down syndrome, we knew we'd keep her. I wasn't interested in an abortion for a number of reasons. But I knew we were going to be judged. I knew people were going to talk about how we were irresponsible. How we were using the system. I suspect there were even some racial slurs thrown about. You know things like how Hispanics can't stop breeding etc. I'm not going to lay out why I think this is unfair. I don't think it's necessary. I wish very much I lived instead in a society that was willing to support each other. To find new ways to help those in poverty. To pay people the wages they deserved.  A society that thinks that good parenting doesn't begin and end with questions of money. 

At one point, when I was weighed down with the fears for Jude's future, I did think about adoption. I was seven months pregnant, and still caught up in the terror of everything that could go wrong. And I began to feel also the burden of judgment. Sometimes when you read what people say about those on welfare, you start to wonder if those people are right. Should I give Jude up to people who could pay for her? Would it not be better for Jude to be with people who were well to do? There was no other reason I thought about adoption. None. I knew we would love Jude. That we could and would care for her. Jude would be valued and adored in our family. More importantly she would know life as a beastie, part of a family who didn't see her as different but just one of them. But it was money, that filthy thing, that made me thing for a very brief period of time that maybe she would be better off. Luckily I came to my senses.

While I understand that of course the financial situation of a child with disability can be over whelming, it strikes me as sad that this even needs to cross the mind of a parent. I wonder how many potentially wonderful parents lost the chance to love a child with a disability because they feared they could not provide. I also wonder if this fear perpetuates the idea of a child with a disability as a burden, draining their parents of energy, money, and time. And I wonder at a society that doesn't want a woman to abort but also wants to do nothing to help if her if she wants to raise and carry said child. 

Our Dr. is the one of the few doctors in Athens who will take Medicaid. While it shouldn't matter, there is a special provision for parents who had a child with disability to receive Medicaid. Yet even these parents often had a hard time getting care. As I was sitting in our Dr's office, waiting to be seen, the room filled up quickly and I listened in on a few conversations. One woman was talking about what a hard time she had finding a Doctor. Offices were telling her they would only take Medicaid  if it was her first child. We had little choice as we sat there but we were lucky that our Dr. is a good one. And he is also a good man. That is clear because he continues to take us even though his practice is very busy. 

For me the saddest part of this story, is that these people are judged. They have to read bumper stickers insulting them. They likely feel shame, as I often did, at being poor. This shame no doubt keeps them from questioning why the system is the way it is. Why those who are poor have so few options. So very reasons to feel pride. Why we feel shame at being poor but we do not question why bankers get bail outs, and why corporations get tax breaks. Instead, we question, if we are worthy of raising children with disabilities. Of raising children period.

(For the record, this is NOT a take down of adoption. I fully support adoption as an incredibly valid choose for many woman. Sometimes the burden is too much especially when it involves a combination of lack: money, support, etc. But i don't think there should be one problem alone that leads to such a momentous decision).

1 comment:

jisun said...

"A society that thinks that good parenting doesn't begin and end with questions of money."

Yes, yes, yes.