1. Magdalena by Matthew Hennessey
It’s good that Magdalena loves potatoes because it’s good to love something in this life, and the list of things she doesn’t love at the moment is long. She doesn’t love loud noises or broken promises. She doesn’t love waiting. Most people suffer from mild to moderate impatience, but most people don’t break down in tears and screaming when the shower takes a minute or two to warm up.
Some good news: Ohio just abolished life without parole sentences for children, becoming the 24th state (plus DC) to do so. This is important and moves us closer to a society where no child is sentenced to die in a cage. Shout out to the advocates & organizers who made it happen.
— Clint Smith (@ClintSmithIII) January 11, 2021
3. New Mexico sued after returning kids to allegedly abusive parents
Both complaints allege CYFD officials returned the children to their parents despite knowing their parents were unfit in an effort to avoid having to deal with the case and obstructed the initial investigation into the family’s disappearance, slowing law enforcement’s search for the missing children.
4. Japanese obstetrician pushes for confidential births amid apathy
Despite opposition from authorities as well as apathy in society, a hospital president in southwestern Japan is continuing to fight for the right for women with unintended pregnancies to be allowed to give birth anonymously.
5. Asheville Citizen Times: Reports of child sexual abuse rise sharply in Asheville, Buncombe County
Geoff Sidoli, executive director of the nonprofit Mountain Child Advocacy Center, which offers counseling and advocacy for abused children, said the agency saw an increase in physical abuse cases when COVID began, but he said sexual abuse is often harder to discern. He said there are typically no visible marks, but can manifest in a child’s behavior, such as becoming withdrawn.
“Over half don’t report sexual abuse in the first year. It’s going to be five-10 years down the road before we know effect of COVID. It’s tough to tell. Since school has started, our reports of sexual abuse have increased,” Sidoli said.
6. South Korean toddler’s death sparks call for stiffer penalties for abuse
What was supposed to be the beginning of a happy life for Jung-in, however, turned into a nightmare.
She was just 16 months old when she died on Oct 13 last year, her pancreas ruptured and her stomach bloated with blood, after months of extensive abuse by her adoptive mother, who has been arrested and will go on trial on Wednesday.
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Child abuse has long been a problem in South Korea, where abusive parents consider their children as their “property”, and feel they can do anything to them, including being violent and neglectful. If questioned, they are known to retort “this is my way of raising my child”.
Official data showed that there were 41,389 reported cases of child abuse in 2019 – up from 29,671 in 2016. Experts believe there could be a lot more unreported incidents, which are considered family matters and not police cases.
7. USA Today: Millions of Americans with intellectual disabilities, at ‘particularly high risk’ for COVID-19, are still waiting for vaccinations
. . . Life remains complicated in group homes, according to Patty McGoldrick, a nurse practitioner who cares for patients with developmental disabilities as co-head of neurology services for Premier.
Occupational and physical therapy has been canceled or moved online. Supported social interactions which are so important for this group, have been curtailed.
It remains challenging for her patients who can’t manage to wear a mask to go outside, even for a walk, McGoldrick said, because they get harassed by people who don’t understand their condition.
The current situation is “hard on us,” she said. “It’s doubly hard on them.”
8. A look at how Christianity elevated children
Early Christians, in contrast with their Greco-Roman neighbors, saw children as complete human beings, made in God’s image, and redeemed by Christ.
To destroy God’s image was an offense against God himself, and given the biblical prohibition of murder, the early Christians were resolutely opposed to abortion and its corollaries, infanticide, and exposure.
The ancient Christian tombs or catacombs beneath the city of Rome are filled with tiny graves and accompanying inscriptions such as, “the adopted daughter of…” or “the adopted son of….”
Christians routinely rescued exposed infants, adopting them into the family or caring for them until they died and giving them a proper burial.
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Christianity’s condemnation of abortion, infanticide, and child abuse was the result of its radical understanding of children as fully human image-bearers of God, created to be cherished, cared for, and to be object lessons of discipleship rather than objects to be exploited.
9. New York Post: Woman discovers shocking truth of maternity home where she gave birth
In the decades after World War II, more than 3 million women would give up their children for adoption — most, like Margaret, young, unmarried girls who, according to Glaser, “found themselves funneled into an often-coercive system they could neither understand nor resist.” They were exploited for profit and science. And it would take decades to change that.
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. . . After World War II, parents had greater aspirations for their daughters and sons. They wanted them to attend college, move to the suburbs and join America’s growing middle class. A surprise pregnancy wasn’t just an embarrassment, but also, writes Glaser, “an obstacle to a better life that needed to ‘go away.’ ”
10. Ohio unveils limited plan to pay relatives caring for kids
As part of the new law, DeWine signed an executive order directing the state human services agency to come up with a plan for making the payments by July 1.
Payments will be retroactive to Dec. 29, the day DeWine signed the bill. The state estimates it will pay about $17 million a year to the state’s approximately 2,600 kinship caregivers.
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The plan is inadequate and won’t stop the lawsuit from moving ahead, said attorney Richard Dawahare. He said the promised payments are “a fraction” of what foster parents receive, and he criticized both the nine-month time limit and the fact the payments are contingent on whether the state actually allocates the money.
11. Knights of Columbus: A K of C family helps a young mother to choose life, return to God and find love
A turning point came just after a trip to Washington, D.C., with the Daltons in January 2019. Faith was invited to share her story with lawmakers as part of Heartbeat International’s Babies Go to Congress event during the March for Life. There, she met Vice President Mike Pence.
“I got to tell him how I started out as a homeless, pregnant, part-time waitress, and went from that to being a mom, a college graduate employed in my field of study with a 401(k), and had started a business,” she said. “If that’s not a story of God’s miraculous way of turning things around, I don’t know what is.”
12. Why adoption is a life-giving choice for unexpected pregnancies
13. 7 phrases not to say to a foster parent — and why
14. HHS issues final rule protecting faith-based adoption agencies
On Thursday, the legal group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) praised the new rule for upholding the religious freedom of faith-based adoption and foster care agencies.
“There are hundreds of thousands of children in the foster care system, many of whom are eligible for adoption. Faith-based adoption and foster care providers play an integral role in serving these vulnerable kids,” said ADF Senior Counsel Zack Pruitt.
The new final rule, Pruitt said, “offers hope for children, more options for birth mothers, support for families, and increased flexibility for states seeking to alleviate real human need.”
15. Runner with Down Syndrome Defies the Odds
Kayleigh became the first woman with Down syndrome to complete the Austin Half Marathon in 2017 and has competed in multiple races over the years, including a half marathon in Detroit — Kayleigh’s favorite race to date — and an event in Canada.
“I never doubted she could finish the races,” says Williamson. “I don’t believe that our circumstances should dictate who we become. I think our circumstance becomes a part of who we become. And the true testimony of who you are and your character is what you take of those circumstances and make yourself out of.”