Feral Kids

They’re slinking down alleys and rummaging through your trash. They’re problems and they’ve got to be dealt with.

Feral kids.

They’re now loose in the streets just like the parents who should be supervising them. The only difference is the kids don’t know any better. Scratch that. There is no difference.

Taken from their parents because they were born drug addicted, left unattended, or otherwise passively endangered, they now find themselves reunited with often well-intentioned but seldom equipped parents who still aren’t in a position to care for them.

You know, I keep saying, “parents” but let’s face it: I’m talking Moms. Dads are so far gone literally and figuratively that they’re not worth talking about. So, Mom-in-name-only is left holding a bag clearly too heavy to be hers.

‘Why are they returned then?’ you might ask. Because that feels good. To the State.

You see the State has what’s called a “Reunification Policy.” Simply put, it means families should be kept together barring extraordinary circumstance. Sounds OK, right? I mean, who could argue it’s better to keep families together than to rip them apart?

But isn’t the reason we’re having this debate is because Mom’s done something to lose her kid in the first place? ‘There but for the grace of God’ you’re thinking. People make mistakes. But we can change. Grow. Learn. Let’s stay positive.

OK. Let’s say Mom is working on pulling it together. She’s committed and trying. But have her circumstances really changed for the better? How’s her housing? Employment? What about her other children? When we give them all back (often all at once) with their dirty diapers, hacking coughs, and piercing cries in the middle of the night how will she hold up?

You might speculate that there are five-to-one odds she’ll be able to handle it. (That is a very, very generous estimate in my opinion.) You could look at it like one in six children will face some further problems, while the other five will do just fine. Most folks would say that’s the best we can realistically hope for. It’s an “acceptable outcome.”

That’s one way to look at it. But couldn’t you also look at it like there are six chambers in the gun. One has a bullet. Literally. Now you’re putting that gun in an eight-month-old baby’s hands and “helping” him squeeze the trigger. It’s DeNiro and Walken in The Deer Hunter.

How’d that feel? Not good?

So, what to do?

Option 1, pull down the blinds, turn up the music, pour a big glass of Super Tuscan and hope they find someone else to haunt.

Option 2, track down the Moms and ensure they have no more kids.
But how? I guess on one extreme there’s forced sterilization. That’s a sentence I never thought I’d write.

On the other extreme we could continue to ask them to please, please refrain from having more children they can’t care for. That sentence felt better. A little.

And if they refuse?

Hmm. Yes. That’s where it gets tricky doesn’t it.

So if your Christmas carols are interrupted from the shadows, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

“Mao! Mao!”

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