Sunday, August 15, 2010

Love is NOT Blind

Take a moment and close your eyes. Just picture what it's like to spend 9 months anticipating the arrival of your newborn. Picture yourself buying baby furniture, onesies, and reading all the new mommy books you could buy. Then, picture this last scene...that hours after giving birth, the state takes custody of your newborn...simply because you are blind. This is exactly what happened to Erika Johnson and Blake Sinnett in Missouri.

According to the newspaper, Johnson's first attempts at breast-feeding were clumsy. A nurse noticed that the baby's nostrils were covered by Johnson's breast.  Johnson felt that something was wrong so she switched the baby to her other side....but not before the baby turned blue.  Okay...Let me be the first to acknowledge just how serious this is.  However, let me also share that my first attempts at nursing my 1st born were extremely clumsy!  I was nervous and stressed...and it didn't help that my anti-breastfeeding mom stood over shouting "You're choking him!" (Insert strong Haitian accent)  But I digress...

Reportedly, a nurse wrote in Johnson's chart: "The child is without proper custody, support or care due to both of (the) parents being blind, and they do not have specialized training to assist them."  That's what it took to get the system involved.  It would ultimately take 57 days before the young couple were allowed to reunite with their baby.  The couple shared that they fielded questions from the social worker just as soon as the baby was born.  Questions like... How could they take the baby's temperature? How would they get her to a doctor?  Whatever solutions offered by the couple were not enough, and they were told that they would need 24-hour care by a sighted person at their apartment. However, the couple simply could not afford this type of assistance.

They weren't even allowed to hold their baby as official took her from the hospital. All they could do was touch her arm or leg.  Again, close your eyes and imagine that this is your reality.'s my vent!  We live in a world where kids are abused, murdered, emotionally harmed, and molested by SIGHTED parents.  Why such swift and reckless action simply because these parents have a disability.  Would my children be taken away from me if my husband and I suddenly lost our sight.  What if both parents have amputated legs...or arms.  You see where I'm going with this, right?  Instead of breaking up the family, the state should have supported this young couple.  Surely, they qualified for some kind of support!  But I think Erika said it best when she told newspapers "I needed help as a new parent, but not as a blind parent."

Erika also appears to want to put this nightmarish ordeal behind her, saying, “I’m a forgiving person,” and added, “Disability does not equal inability!” The couple plans to pursue a lawsuit, in the hopes of preventing other disabled people from having to endure similar bias.  I HOPE THEY ARE AWARDED HANDSOMELY!!!! 

Happy (Unbiased) Parenting,

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An open and honest blog about what matters most...children and families!!!

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