"Mommy, why does Baby G. have to go to jail?"
That was the question my 9 year old daughter Betty asked when she saw me crying. The news had just come that my friends unbelievably and incomprehensibly lost their adoption case. (You can read my previous posts on this here.)
I struggled to explain the unexplainable to Betty.
"D. and S. love Baby G. very, very much," I stammered through my tears. "And they want to keep taking care of her, to be a family. And, well ... there are some people who think she should be with her birthfather, and I don't know why they think that."
I had already explained that the birthmother chose D. and S. to raise Baby G. because she knew that they could and would provide a better life for her ... but that the birthfather was in prison and didn't agree with that.
"But he's in JAIL! How in the WORLD can he take care of a baby when he is in jail?"
"I don't know, baby."
"I want to write a letter," Betty declared, offering up her solution for everything.
And indeed, that was our collective response and call to action too. When we learned that this was a potential outcome, a campaign was launched by D.'s sister to write letters of support to the Wisconsin judge who alone had the power to grant Baby G. the chance to grow up in the loving arms of the only people she has known as mom and dad for her first 6 months of life, instead of in the foster care system.
The "Save Baby G." campaign was supported by a Facebook community that, as of yesterday, had grown to over 450 supporters. Some of us (yours truly included) offered to try and mobilize our media contacts and take this national. (The lawyers advised against such and in keeping with our friends' decisions to honor such, we reluctantly didn't pursue that.)
I don't know how many letters were received. I do know that more than a few of my blog readers wrote one, and for that I will be forever grateful. (D. wrote and said how touched she was by the letters from my friends, so I know she at least saw them.)
But I don't know if the judge did. He couldn't have, because he decided yesterday to dismiss the case and order Baby G. to be returned to Wisconsin and into the foster care system.
Read that sentence again, because trust me - it takes a little while for the magnitude of this to sink in.
A judge in Wisconsin ruled yesterday that a 6-month old baby is better off in the foster-care system instead of with two loving, adoptive parents who can give her a life of promise and potential, of abiding faith, of joyful love.
I don't know what recourse or appeal options are there, if there are any to begin with. There's not much money left to pursue any.
But what I know is this.
A judge in Wisconsin (never mind the damn judicial system itself) horribly failed a little girl yesterday and the parents who desperately want nothing more than to love her.
I know that the heartbreak spilling out via Facebook messages this morning is palpable among our group of friends.
And so is the raw anger and the declarations (mine included) that we hope karma is a bitch.
And the shaken and broken faith in God, in prayer, in everything that we're taught to believe in.
And the disbelief that we live in a country where this can actually happen.
And the helpless feeling that maybe we could have done more.
And the fear of what Baby G.'s future holds versus all that it could have been.
And the lack of answers to questions about why a 6-month old baby needs to go to jail.
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