I am so sorry. It seems I have been self centered in my entries for a few, but it was necessary to continue. This blog, film, project are all not about me. I am only a peripheral participant in the story. It’s about improving and in some cases saving the lives of youth put into foster care. Some of them parents already themselves, so the needs are more than doubled. Why are so many young girls having babies of their own while they are still broken children themselves. How can this be combatted and future generations taught what being a prepared parent means.
There are many avenues that would lead a young girl in foster care to get pregnant. And many reasons she would be having unprotected sex at such an early age. Before we discuss those, I need to first make a point to be applied unilaterally. There is no judgement upon any of these people. It is not their fault that they were introduced to sex, in most cases, too young and usually in traumatic ways. My heart goes out to all of them and the babies that are caught up in this wave of dysfunctional sexuality. If you have no money, much less a real doctor, which in many cases are not provided by the state or foster parents, there is nowhere but Planned Parenthood to obtain birth control. But if you don’t happen to be blessed to live in walking distance to one, access is often severely limited.
So, there’s the old standard; she didn’t think it would happen to her or she is not well educated in reproduction to understand the consequences of her actions. Some seek the love and parental nurturing they are lacking by having sex. Others are forced into the act that causes the pregnancy; rape or forced into prostitution by someone in a position over them. Many are drug addicts that have no means of paying for drugs except their body and introduce drugs into the baby’s system without understanding the consequences. Then, some just don’t care about what happens to them anymore. Life has shown them such cruelty that they will do anything to get out of their own head. Sometimes it’s a purposeful act of desperation. A baby needs you and loves unconditionally. That’s got to be really tempting especially for those who have spent their life literally alone.
I ws shocked to learn about this from my friend Candice Cruz, founder of Young Seeds of Virtue. It is an organization that specializes on working with the girls and young women. Rape is so prevalent on the street that many of the girls began living on rooftops wherever possible to provide some protection. What Candice does is first to give immediate assistance, like food, clothing, shelter. Then she works with the girls to try to get them proper pre-natal care, helping them acquire jobs and education and distributes baby supplies. One Simple Wish has also received requests for baby supplies for the babies of the babies.
Then there is the question as to why so many of these girls carry their pregnancy to term. Keeping religion completely out of the conversation, it’s easy to see why abortion would seem like a tragic but understandable choice. If you don’t have enough to take care of yourself, how are you going to take care of a baby? How are you even going to get the care and nutrients women need while pregnant. I’m not advocating abortion, I’m only observing and doing my best to find solutions to be seemingly no-win scenarios.
What most of these girls don’t think of is how are they going to make a life for that baby when their own life is a constant challenge? In one conversation off camera, a foster child confided how she fantasized about holding a perfect little baby, how it would be the only pure thing she has in her life. But then she thought about what being removed from her own mother did to her and realized that she had no idea how to be a parent.
Giving up a baby for adoption, or to be placed into foster, is no Mary Poppins musical number. These girls have either been in the system so long or run away from it, they don’t want their baby to go through the same. For these women, if they love the baby they are carrying, there are no good choices. They don’t want to abort or abandon their baby but they have no means or experience to care for one. I read 15 books, watched documentaries that scared the living hell out of me, took lamaze, pre-natal coaching, infant care, cpr, first aide and rescue breathing…and I didn’t feel prepared.
That’s why what Young Seeds of Virtue is doing is so important. They give the girls a safe place to live, much needed positive attention, and helps them get on their feet to find employment and eventually housing of their own. Candice and her team do and give all they can to help these young mothers break the cycle they were born into. With God’s and the people who care’s help, anything is possible.
There are several approaches to the problem. Birth control should be readily available without questions asked. Schools need to reach out and offer classes that correspond to child care so that these women are able to earn a degree essential for most jobs. Sexual education should be provided but tweaked severely to speak to the daily reality of this group. But we have to assume that at least half of the sex had is non-concentual. That means they always need to be prepared and provided some kind of long term birth control for their safety. That as well as parenting classes would help exponentially.
That’s all well and good but what can we do as individuals and as a society to help the ones who need us right now? These’s so many great ways. Diaper Drives are usually monthly and in constant demand. Donating to them will make a difference. Along with all of the other baby essentials we know are necessary; clothes, cream, bottles, formula, toys, a proper crib and a competent pediatrician. If you would be interested in helping, please contact Candice via her website youngseedsofvirtue.com, Danielle via onesimplewish.com and Eryn Vargo via Facebook who does local diaper drives in the central Florida area.
So please, be generous. $5, a onesie, coupons as well as the items themselves are all helpful. For more information about KINDRED, please visit our website kindredmovie.wix.com/kindred