Family Matters

Why Parents with Disabilities Are Losing Custody of their Kids

Laws designed to protect people with disabilities are failing to maintain the rights of disabled parents to take care of their children

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John Rowley / Digital Vision / Getty Images

Two years ago, Erika Johnson gave birth to her first child. When she had trouble breast-feeding, a nurse soothed her by saying that many mothers find nursing hard at first. Then the nurse called social services.

Johnson and her husband are both blind, which concerned the nurse and caused a social worker to put their baby Mikaela in foster care for 57 days. “It was sickening that they assumed because we’re blind we can’t take care of her,” says Johnson, who lives in Independence, Mo. “I was angry, upset, sad, frustrated. It was my first child.”

Johnson’s story is just one of many that humanize a 445-page report issued by the National Council on Disability about the myriad ways in which disabled parents encounter discrimination. Nearly 1 in 10 U.S. kids have a parent who is disabled, according to the Council. Of those parents, 4.1 million have children younger than 18. Yet there’s a cultural belief that parents with intellectual or physical disabilities don’t — or shouldn’t — raise kids.

(MORE: Supreme Court Rules Against Benefits for Posthumously Conceived Kids)

Robyn Powell, an attorney at the Council, uses a power wheelchair because the arthrogryposis that affects her joints and muscles limits the use of her arms and legs. At 31, she doesn’t yet have kids. But she hopes she will one day. Yet multiple doctors, aware of her physical impairments, have suggested sterilization. “I have been offered a hysterectomy more times than I can count,” says Powell. “It’s like they’re doing me a favor. I say, I think I’m going to need my uterus. But society as a whole views people with disabilities as incapable of raising kids.”

New parenthood is hard for anyone, but Powell suspects that parents with disabilities — accustomed to adapting — may have an easier time than others with the adjustment. Yet the Council’s report — “Rocking the Cradle: Ensuring the Rights of Parents with Disabilities and Their Children” — notes that parents with disabilities face discrimination when it comes to child welfare, family law, access to fertility treatment and adoption.

In 1990, Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to protect those with disabilities, yet parents with disabilities continue to face legal quicksand everywhere. Two-thirds of state child welfare laws list some type of disability as grounds for removing a child from his home and allowing parental rights to be terminated. That’s a violation of the ADA, concludes the report. Still, parents with psychiatric or intellectual disabilities lose their children at a rate as high as 80%.

“Parents with disabilities continue to be the only distinct community that has to fight to retain — and sometimes gain — custody of their own children,” autism-rights activist Ari Ne’eman told the Associated Press.

(MORE: Alaina Giordano, Mom with Stage 4 Cancer, Speaks Out About Losing Her Kids)

Every state permits disability to be considered as a factor in deciding custody issues. In some cases, disease counts as disability; that was the experience of Alaina Giordano, a N.C. mom who had advanced breast cancer and believed she lost custody of her children to her estranged husband because of her illness. Giordano waged a social-media war to raise awareness of her plight before she died earlier this year:

She was fighting for the right to be with her children, but she was also fighting for the rights of sick mothers everywhere in similar situations. As Peter Kaufmann — her childhood friend who became her spokesman — wrote on her Facebook page: “She realized that she had become the voice for those who were in similar situations — with cancer, with custody battles, with insurmountable struggles. Because she faced her mortality on a regular basis she looked at her life as one that gave strength to those who were less fortunate than she — those whose stories did NOT get public attention…”

For Johnson, who regained custody of her daughter when she was two months old, being a capable parent means adapting to her sighted child’s needs. When Mikaela is sick, Johnson and her husband, Blake Sinnett, rely on a talking thermometer to gauge her temperature. They have labeled puzzle pieces in Braille so that they’re able to help Mikaela learn the names of the animals that make up the puzzle.

At 2 ½, Mikaela is well aware that her parents can’t see. Like them, she has adapted. Because Mikaela was taken away even before she was taken home, Johnson wasn’t able to breast-feed her, which felt like an additional loss on top of being pegged as an incompetent mother. As young as 9 months, Mikaela would guide her parents’ hands to a bottle to indicate she was hungry.

Such adaptation is what the Council says should be appreciated and supported. With wounded warriors coming home from the battlefield, the number of parents with disabilities is expected to grow. That just highlights the importance of figuring out how public and private agencies can do a better job of ensuring parents’ rights and supporting those who need help. “We need to shift the presumption that people with disabilities are unfit to raise families,” says Powell. “We need to assume they are capable and we need to support them.”

MORE: An Obese Boy Is Placed in Foster Care. Can It Help?

58 comments
MarcusSmith
MarcusSmith

I also have a daughter who is schizophrenic but has a lots of family backup the state put them with family members but they need to be with i as grandma will be ther every step of the to help my daughter is now living in a shelther  and working to get them home with her she is a great mom be we needs some help with a home  for her kids  and me to be there for her this illness is new to her and me and the rest of her family will be there for her and her kids  help us please.

asadmother
asadmother

I have a schizophrenic daughter who cannot relate to anyone, now 30 without ever had a long term relationship, but sstill hoping. Likely she will age out of fertility, which would be the best solution.

How can a person with poor social skills, no job, no friends,  be a good or adequate mother? 

 She is often angry and disappears without telling anyone.

I think the needs and right of the child have to come before the mother.

A UK story covered the situation of a baby removed from a schizophrenic mother with IQ 63.

People condemned the judges decision without reading the full details - IQ 63, and also without knowing schizophrenics.


Blindness is not nearly so bad - it is not an intellectual disability, nor a mental illness.

with support, a blind parent can manage.


So, I support the principle that children may sometimes be removed from a birth parent, but not in the case of the blind mother.




judderwocky
judderwocky

There are always going to be people that unfairly have their kids taken away and any system can always be improved. However, there are a lot of people that shouldn't raise kids and *big surprise* none of them ever think they are bad parents. Even listening to some of the stories on here, its clear some people are not capable of understanding their own deficiencies. A sob story can not be an excuse to put a child in danger. 


Tanuchenka
Tanuchenka

That is awful. A mother's right to nurse was taken away for what??? I would be so furious. That is a critical time for bonding. Did those foster parents make the same choices, e.g. how and where the baby slept, that the mother would have made for her own child? Did they hold and comfort and love her the same way her mother would have? If there is concern that disabled people might need additional support, damn well give it to them. Don't rip their children from their arms and put them in foster homes. Do they have any idea how much damage that can do to the family bond, to disabled people's sense of trust in the system, not to mention to forever lost benefits of breastfeeding? I'm horrified and disgusted.

kevinbanks
kevinbanks

Hope I am not too late to the conversation.     what about this custody situation between 2 equal parents:    one parent has a mild physical disability and cannot perform cpr, cannot carry child if hurt, cannot rescue child from a fire or get him/her out of a burning/crashed car.    the other parent can.     given both have equal parenting skills, should the parent that can protect the child in case of these emergencies be awarded custody?

AndreaPasko
AndreaPasko

I am in ohio and I have mental issues and physical issues. I was told by Medina County Child Services that i am unable to raise a child because my mental disorders effect the choices I make. That by having the metal disorders I do have I put my children in harms way. I have made poor decisions but we all have but never did I put my children in harms way. My son will be 4 in December and I haven't seen him in 2 years. My daughter was given to my mother so at least I see her. There are people in this county that are mentally worst then I am and it has affected their children but yet I am unable to have mine. I feel that Child Services is more harm then good at times; my doctors stated that I have gotten worst because Child Services stepped in and removed my children.

JulieKosloff-Matejko
JulieKosloff-Matejko

I'm in Tennessee, but it is the same all over USA .  If you have a disability, are broke, or uneducated your kids are as good as gone.

There is no protection from DCS...they are even exempt from child trafficking laws.  Look it up.  Good people do nothing and they will come for your kids one day.

LisaArlin
LisaArlin

Im from Surrey British Columbia and my child was removed because the Ministry for Children and Families said he was at risk in my care because of my disabilitiy and was forced to adopt because both of my disability and mental status. I was a women with disabilities fleeing from an abusive relationship instead of getting assitance I further suffered abuse from the child protection system and as duscriminated against my disability and the outcome of court was my mental status would continue to impair my ability to parent a child appropriately. Parents with disabilies are loosing custody just because we are disabled and no parent is incapable of parenting because of your disabilty. Since what happened I am still fighting the governnent until parents with disablities get equal benifit of the law and protection for all parents because when a child protection worker removes your child because your blind that is discrimination. It is hard to fight because MCFD are never accountable we need to get the word out to parents with disabilies every where discrimination against you for having a disability is wrong we need to empower each other and take back our power like this mother who is blind did we are not powerless because of our disabilities we need to take back our power from a child protection system that discriminates against us for having a disability. We need to speak out and fight because no parent should suffer discrimination believe in your self dont give up fighting for custody my child was adopted but Im still fighting I wanted to say God bless this mother in this story had the courage to come for word I hope other parents in the united states and canada do until we have equality and justice!!

springwater5000
springwater5000

Yes by all means leave kids with a physically or sexually abusive parent but remove them from capable loving parents who just happen to have a disability. That makes a lot of sense! Disability does not equal incapable! The sheep of this world should really stop listening to the powers that be who are so quick to take rights away, yours are next. They don't stop once they know they can get away with it. Less government always is the answer, always.

ShaelaStrata
ShaelaStrata

@MyaB are u saying that people with mental disabilities cannot adapt?   What about people with impared memory ( they can use notes, reminders, charts, graphs, alarms and the like, just as well as non impaired people. Who says parents have to be in Mensa,' to raise kids? I see all kinds of "normal" people swearing, drinking, flirting, with kids around, and letting them run a muck unsupervised. While a caring, concerned  parent with a "mental deficit", won't.

So, in my opinion, actions show truth, good or bad/responsible or not, and that should be the only thing competency is judged on.

If they're neglectful or abusive to kids "normal" or not, then yes, take the kids. 

But don't just take them because they're handicapped in some way.  

How would you like to be born different, and if that's not bad enough, everyone would see you as "defective" and not "fit" to bear, or raise children because you have an affliction you can do nothing about.

What if you fell down some stairs, broke your neck, and became paralyzed? Oooh, here they come!

You are officially unfit!   or your mate comes back from military duty, he/she lost her/his legs/has shrapnel in his/her head.

ooh, you're still alive? My you're so unfit now. We've come to take your kids. Thanks for you're service to this fine country.

 

Sonn
Sonn

My mother is blind and an amputee. She has only 1 leg. She also ran the church nursery, baked a gazillion loaves of bread and batches of cookies every Christmas, sewed all our clothes, went to Girl Scout meetings, and to this day maintains a magazine-perfect garden that is the envy of the neighborhood.

I have one of the most severe forms of mental illness, bipolar 1 with psychotic episodes. But I see my doctors regularly, always take my medicines, and am married to a very stable, very supportive husband. Our two daughters are thriving, happy, at the top of their classes and surrounded with friends.

'Disability' is what you make of it. Kids thrive when they are cared for. This is not hard to figure out! There are people without any sort of diagnosed disability who should never be allowed within 20 feet of a child. There are others with what abilities or health issues that might place their experiences outside the mainstream, but that doesn't automatically mean they are going to be uable to care for their families. Common sense.

nousername
nousername

I agree that too many capable disabled parents have their children unfairly taken away with them, but I'm hesitant to endorse stopping this altogether. I was raised by a schizophrenic single mother, and my life as a child was terrible. She was absolutely incapable of anything approximating child care, and if any social workers had actually been paying attention they would have noticed that I was clearly being neglected. We never had food because she would spend all the money she got from the government (she had no job) as soon as she got it on frivolous items, or give it away to strange men, so the only place I got food at was at school. She had intellectual disabilities as well and couldn't help me with my homework, even in elementary school (she's nearly illiterate, and very innumerate. She cannot make change, for example). My social growth was stunted because I had no idea how to interact with people normally, so I grew up with no friends whatsoever. She stopped making me attend school around 5th grade, so past that point I was responsible for going by myself, as well as anything related to it (washing clothes for school, etc.). We nearly got kicked out of our house (government housing) many times for failure to clean it; it was constantly disgusting, at a level most people cannot imagine. I have no doubt I would have been happier and healthier in foster care, and I believe there are many children in comparable situations to mine who are being overlooked.

ToastedEveryDay
ToastedEveryDay

Anyone who dose not have a PhD, and associates in child care should have their children removed. Anyone who is on welfare having children should be placed in FEMA camps and forced into work labour groups. Anyone person is a repeat violent felon, or gang member should have their children removed permanent as well. All of the above and more should be sterilized from having children ever again.

DougDanzeisenSr
DougDanzeisenSr

One would logically expect the disability "experts" to go after those least able to raise kids- young teens with no support. Wonder why we are not reading them?

DougDanzeisenSr
DougDanzeisenSr

Let's go to the root of this issue- Who cares most for kids? Almost without exception the answer is the parents. The problem is that we have allowed our families to be broken down, and we now seem, as a society, to trust government to meet our needs. As evidence witness I submit 11-6-12. Indeed, I know many who expect the govt. to assist with feeding, housing, educating, providing childcare- AND THEY GET THOSE SERVICES. They do not have to scramble for childcare when Grandma goes to the hospital. The govt has not failed, YET. Little wonder that many put their faith not in their families, but in big govt. Who's your daddy !!!

ChristopherSt
ChristopherSt

Im not saying blind parents shouldn't have custody of their children but it can be hard when the child gets older. A child growing up with blind parents will be able to get away with a lot.

FranticKL
FranticKL

@TIME @timehealthland that is an insult

fulload
fulload

This is a sad commentary on our societal beliefs…My heart goes out to Johnson and her husband, and the other parents mentioned in the story as well as all parents who find themselves in a similar situation!Truly outrageous!

TukaZindabad
TukaZindabad

meanwhile i incapable 16 year old get's to keep hers....

JaniceSchacterLintz
JaniceSchacterLintz

The courts have antiquated notions of what having a disability means or it's impact on the person.  It is time we raise the bar and change our perceptions.  

Parents who advocate for their children who have a disability should not be viewed as "waging a war" as my ex-husband has described my activities.  (Although, he changed it to I was running a business when we finished custody and started the financial portion of the trial.  How convenient.)

The children with disabilities who succeed usually, have a strong parent who stood up to the system and would not accept the crumbs that society offered.  One parent should not be able to use  a parent's advocacy against the other parent.  It is incomprehensible to think that a child with hearing loss can just "wing" an education in a highly competitive school just by adding hearing aids.  Courts need to recognize that this is a just another strategy to gain a leg up for custody and should not tolerate it.  

Janice Schacter Lintz, chair Hearing Access Program

MyaB
MyaB

The only time I would say it is right to consider taking away kids is if the parents have a mental disability. If the parents mental age is under 18 then that is cause for concern. We already know what the risks are for underage parents, at least legally their parents are still the guardians. Without help from a relative or friend who is mentally capable, I would be highly concerned.Physical disabilities do not matter to me, blind, deaf, or anything like that I am sure that you are as capable of being a good or bad parent as anyone else.

JoWalter
JoWalter

I have Aspergers and I have two children, one of which is also autistic.My husband is deployed. I would dare them to take my kids. I may have alot of routines and rituals, but I don't understand using that to takeaway someone's kids. People who molestchildren or beat their kids can have them back, but because my familyrequires adaptations to get around our challenges we could lose ourkids? This makes no sense to me at all. If anything, having kids hastaught me how to better adapt, how to be more spontaneous and how toaccept myself for me. They don't want me to be anyone else. I grew up living near a woman who had an adult daughter who was deaf, thedaughter's husband was deaf and her oldest son was deaf. They usedspecial phones that turned on lights when it rang and printed speech on akeypad. There was nothing wrong with that family. Every family doesthings their own way and to say that because you are in a wheelchair, orhave autism, or are blind you are a bad parent is discrimination init's highest form.How do you know someone will be a bad parent before they have even had the chance to try? I mean, yea, maybe have someone check in on them, but to remove the child completely from a home under the assumption that they are bad parents, is just discriminatory. I could assume the nurse is a bad nurse because she's never had a patient with autism, but that's not going to get her fired.

GuySlater
GuySlater

commentonitall:  While I find your comments to be, at the least, decent in their asking, I also find them to be ignorant and indicative of the fact that you have never been around a blind person in your life.  The old saying of "walk a mile in his shoes" applies to you here.  I am not blind, although I am sight impaired (I wear glasses for normal 20/20 sight), I have experience life with several blind persons.  They ar no more incapable than you of protecting their kids.  Their other senses, in many cases have become enhances to adjust for their loss of sight, and in many ways that makes them more, not less, adept in the rearing of their children.  I have become deaf (I have NEVER be PC and have no tolerance for those who would correct my description of myself:  It is DEAF and not "Hearing Impaired" dammit!), does that make me unfit to raise a child and be a father to one?  I was gravely injured during the Vietnam War, and have had to adapt the use of my right hand to compensate for the limitations I face.  I'm crippled, does that make me unfit to have fathered the three daughters I have?  Sounds to me, wittingly or not, that you are following the Nazi strategy to "cleanse" the population of those that do not conform to a given ideal of fitness.  I hope that your thoughts become enlightened by exposure to those with disabilities.

commentonitall
commentonitall

I do not want to sound like a jerk, but BOTH parents are blind.  People who are blind typically have heightened senses and I am aware of that, however anyone with a little common sense would think that two blind people raising a newborn does not seem ideal in regards to safety for the child.  They can't drive the child anywhere, what if they are out walking somewhere and have no cell phone and no one else is around?  What if the child has a sudden allergy to something, they wouldn't be able to visibly see the child and most likely would not notice as quickly.  How about a cut the child doesn't talk about and goes untreated and becomes infected?  Or what about swimming at a beach, how would they know if their child is drowning?  These are all hypothetical situations and I am sure the people mentioned in this article who are blind took the necessary precautions, but this is America where people have a ridiculous sense of entitlement.  I agree with the article over all, but the blind couple mentioned in the first paragraph is a horrible way to present the thesis, if anything it makes their thesis very difficult to prove.  The article should have just skipped to the woman in the wheel chair, that would have gotten me on board right away.  I'm sorry but I feel the nurse in the first situation did the right thing, nothing personal to the people who just had their child, but common sense is not common in the US anymore and she was only looking out for the child's safety which is her job.

JulieKosloff-Matejko
JulieKosloff-Matejko

@Tanuchenka   happens everyday,  foster parents have been arrested and worse.  DCS keeps it quiet, their own social workers have been arrested and yet, they allow them to continue "supervising" parents they claim are unfit.  


Have you ever wondered why there are thousands of kids on adopt us kids website and people go out of the country to adopt and at a huge expense?   because of DCS.  They are thugs, and if you know someone who has adopted through DCS... they know someone i.e. a former classmate, former associate at the adoption agency, etc.  If you do everything right  and for the right reasons DCS will NOT ALLOW you to Foster.  and you cannot adopt a child without FOSTERING FIRST... 

oh yes, deal with the devil or the kids remain in "foster care"...and those foster parents are doing it for the money or the kids...otherwise, they would GET OUT of the racket it is.  Fostering is painful and DCS abuses those foster parents until they leave.  They have plenty of rules and follow NONE of them.  


This nation does not care about kids


JulieKosloff-Matejko
JulieKosloff-Matejko

@kevinbanks  the better parent should not be the issue as an emergency could happen with either parent.

CUSTODY should be with birthparents unless it is dangerous then there should be a parenting plan that INCLUDES the parents.   DCS takes the kids and gives them to strangers...with family waiting with open arms.

judderwocky
judderwocky

@springwater5000 "Less government always is the answer, always." Yeah... I'm not sure you are really thinking your comments through. If you really believed that... what is stopping you from just picking up and moving to place in the world where there is no effective government? 

You have a vague sense of frustration from an article that carefully cherry picked some stories to elicit this type of response. 

It would be impossible to list all the times in which child services made the correct choice and brought children out of dangerous environments. 

judderwocky
judderwocky

@ShaelaStrata @MyaB

Wow. Ok. I'll just jump right in here. 

You said: 

"are u saying that people with mental disabilities cannot adapt?"

But the specific comment was.

"If the parents mental age is under 18 then that is cause for concern."


So obviously many people have deficiencies, but when they cause a person to act like a child, what makes them capable of raising children? 

You said: 

" Who says parents have to be in Mensa,' to raise kids?"

Nobody did. She said they have to have the functional capacity of adult. Learn to read. 


You said: 


" I see all kinds of "normal" people swearing, drinking, flirting, with kids around, and letting them run a muck unsupervised."

None of that is inherently dangerous. You are (intentionally?) confusing behaviors to make her argument sound ridiculous or over the top. That is a straw man argument. 


Again, you said:

"But don't just take them because they're handicapped in some way."

Not in any way. She specified a cumulative effect from all handicaps that would place them below the functional capacity of an adult.You are attempting to make her argument sound non specific, when in fact its based on something easily obtained through evaluation.

katef22
katef22

@nousername  That's sad to hear. I completely agree with you. While there are situations where children as removed unfairly, in my experience I have found a lot of excuses are made for the parent ("they're doing their best") while ignoring the effects on the child. JulieKosloff-Matejko - There seems to be a lot of thoughts that foster carers are in it for the money, and maybe a few are. But the ones I have met (50+ of them) are definitely not - they are selfless, caring individuals just trying to give back to the community.

JulieKosloff-Matejko
JulieKosloff-Matejko

@nousername   I doubt it.  Most foster parents do it for the money or to adopt when they cannot have their own.  You could have been adopted or fostered by Sandusky.    Your mother may have been less than perfect but FOSTER PARENTS are too.....We fostered and I can tell you, if you are kind, loving, refuse to lie with DCS or refuse the money they get rid of you.  There is nothing "just" about the current system.

pointlesswords
pointlesswords

@ToastedEveryDay But especially people like you, with extremely low English comprehension and communication skills, should be sterilized. I totally agree.

JulieKosloff-Matejko
JulieKosloff-Matejko

@DougDanzeisenSr  amen.  who cares for kids?  I've been researching DCS for 4 years.  They have become a HUGE SYSTEM of $$$$ attorneys, employees, social workers and grunts with one purpose in mind.  Not childen's welfare, theirs.  Gestapo tactics and Good People sit back and say or do nothing.

pointlesswords
pointlesswords

@ChristopherSt Like what? Stealing cookies from a jar? Not doing their homework? Blind parents have figured out ways to adapt to every single other situation as required, there's no reason to assume it'd be any different when the child is older.

JulieKosloff-Matejko
JulieKosloff-Matejko

@JaniceSchacterLintz  I agree...however, courts now reflect this sad society we live in where you and I have to do "battle" for a child's rights.    A CHILD has less support than the Humane Society... "Society" can't even name an accommodation, much less provide one. 

JulieKosloff-Matejko
JulieKosloff-Matejko

@JoWalter keep a low profile, they will, they can and they have your neighbors testifying against you.  If you took the time to research your county or make a visit to family court....you'd be AMAZED at what few rights you have.  I know excellent parents that lost their kids, some not so much, but then few people are perfect...they all work for DCS.  btw

DCS workers can lose their own kids and turn around and take yours away.. ask Brandi in Sumner County TN

Al-KarimAmarsi
Al-KarimAmarsi

@JoWalter thank you for your inspiring personal story. I would like to point out that the story of a nurse getting the child removed etc. needs to be taken in context. All of us have a penchant of emotionally reacting to a story. It is important, however, to be careful not to believe the story because majority of times it lacks a lot of details. I doubt very much that that is the whole story.

commentonitall
commentonitall

@GuySlater 

Sir I having nothing but respect for vets and I thank you for your services, truly.  However, please fully read people's comments.  I said I agree with the article, so your response must not be directed at me.  Secondly my father is legally blind with glaucoma  so yeah I have plenty of experience with blind people and that is precisely why I asked the questions I did, thank you for making assumptions though.  I also have very very poor eyesight like my father,  so now that that is out of the way.  The reason I asked those questions is I thought to myself what i would do without my glasses.  I then asked the very questions I posed.  Next I never made broad statements about people with disabilities  I only posed questions about the blind couple and pointed out it was a poor example to use in order to get people to agree with the thesis.  I also take offense to you saying I agree with a Nazi strategy to cleanse the population.  What are you talking about?  I said I agree with the article, meaning I think people with disabilities should be able to have kids.  I do not know what comment you read but I take serious offense to you calling a Nazi basically when I had relatives that were in those internment camps.  I would have a lot more harsh words for you and I certainly have the thoughts but I respect what you did in the past for this country too much to type such things.   You should think and read before making such heinous and disgusting claims against someone in the future.

Rob2470
Rob2470

@commentonitall I am a partially sighted dad of a very active three and six year old (20/100 vision corrected in one eye, 20/200 in the other).  At the risk of horrifying you, I do take my kids for walks and do take them swimming...usually I am either in the water with them or I choose a beach with a lifeguard.  Because I don't have my nose in a book (or worse yet, am yapping on my cell phone like a lot of the other parents I see out), my kids are probably safer.  Also, its in page one of the "blind guy handbook." I always carry a cell phone with me and one of the numbers programmed into it is that of the local cab company in the event of needing to get somewhere quickly.  In the event of a life-threatening emergency, I would dial 9-1-1 and therefore my children probably stand a better chance than some of getting the help they need...how many fully sighted parents would attempt to drive a child in immediate distress to the hospital themselves out of sheer panic?  Can you really tend to the needs of a child while trying to drive?  In terms of cuts, scrapes, etc.  I've often noticed things before my fully sighted spouse does...mainly because one of my "coping skills" is to be extra-vigilant given my visual disability.  Finally, I'd like to address your own parents' situation.  No disrespect intended, but the challenges of someone "newly blind" are far greater than those of people like myself who have lived this way all our lives.  90% of all information a typical person takes in is visual, so the newly blind need to literally re-learn how to do everything.  Those of us of child rearing age were either mostly born this way or have received the appropriate rehabilitation services needed in order to cope.  For instance, you'd also probably be shocked to know I'm a senior administrator at a major university responsible for a budget in excess of $500K and a department of 15 people.  I also make over $70K a year and own my own home.  We all know what happens when you ASSUME things and you have done that to yourself here.  In the future, please get the facts before you spew.  If you don't know something, don't be afraid to ask.  I could understand if you had the question ("how could they do that?") but to make assumptions as you have here doesn't put you in the best possible light.  

dgdoesstuff
dgdoesstuff

@commentonitall Here's your list:

1.  They can't drive.  Plenty of parents can't drive, either because they're poor and have no car, or they don't like to drive.  A car is not prerequisite to having kids.

2. Going for a walk without a cell phone with no one around.  This one's almost too "wtf?" to even argue with.  This entire argument hinges on assuming not only they are blind, but incapable of planning ahead, which is what blind people do 24/7. Besides, 91% of Americans have cell phones.

3.  Kid with an allergy/injury. They'll catch it through touch/hearing. If you've ever picked up your kid in the dark, (assuming you have one?) you know what I mean. You can hear if your kid is coughing, congested, etc, you just double check it with your eyes. If the kid is over 5, they can speak enough that questions will be asked, and they'll start early. (You get cut, you tell me. I can't see it and you know that.) 

4. Swimming on a beach. Seeing parents miss that all the time. All it requires is turning your back.  That's why there are people trained as life guards on beaches were everyone can see. 

I'll add some more 'legit' ones:

5.  Kid doodles on the wall: Seriously, that's about the ONLY one I can really see happening without the parents noticing for awhile. If it's a concern, check the feel of the walls.  Crayon feels different.  Marker doesn't, so ask a friend. 

6.  Mismatched clothes:  Under 10ish (depending on the kid), handle it the same way they handle keeping their own clothing from being mismatched. Over 10, kid's clothing doesn't "match" anyway, even with seeing parents. 

7.  Bad food in the fridge:  Same way they prevent their own food from getting bad. A personal combination of order, smell, touch, etc, which ever works. 

8. Homework problems:  Blind + written communication is about the *only!* section where life gets really different from seeing.  Blind parents will have to check homework with the teacher, put braille on puzzle pieces, explain why the computer talks, etc.  Does it require special attention? Yes.  Is it an excuse to add extra kids to foster care? Definitely not. The amount of attention the school will have to pay a family with 2 blind parents is less than they'd have to pay 1 blind kid. 

PE_Mom_BizOwner
PE_Mom_BizOwner

@commentonitall  I know several fine adults that were raised by parents that were both blind!  The children of blind children have usually more responsibilities, and they grow up to be exceptional adults because of their parents.  Blindness does not make them Stupid, or mental.  There are kids living in slums, with alcoholics and drug addicts that can be harmed, yet the State will do everything but take the kids away from the home.  It's not right to take away ANY child from their parent, unless their is PROOF that the child is living in deplorable filth or being abused.   Neither of which is the case with blind parents.

mtngoatjoe
mtngoatjoe

@commentonitall What is ideal? Do any of us really qualify as ideal? Your hypotheticals are simply obstacles to overcome. Maybe they don't let their infant swim at the beach. Maybe they can tell the difference between cloths that are wet from water, pee, or blood. Maybe they have their doctor test their child for allergies before they start solid food. And as for phones, well, have you ever forgotten your car (or bus, or whatever) when you went to work? Well, if a cell phone is so important for a blind person, I'm pretty sure they'll remember such an essential tool (however, I am not conceding that a cell phone is so important).

I'm sorry, but your attitude is very symptomatic of what is wrong with this country. You feel entitled to take peoples children away from them simply because you don't understand their situation.

johnnyrenonv
johnnyrenonv

@commentonitall "...this is America where people have a ridiculous sense of entitlement"

Wow.  A ridiculous sense of entitlement... of their own children.  Oh, the arrogance of them!  

 You are evil.  Seriously.

Tonkaman
Tonkaman

@commentonitall You are a perfect example for the article. You immediately assume blind couples shouldn't be raising kids.  And how is wanting kids an entitlement?

commentonitall
commentonitall

@dgdoesstuff @commentonitall 

1:) I never said having a car is a prerequisite to having children, I posed a situation that would apply to anyone, it just so happens that being blind is part of this equation as well.

2:) Again, a hypothetical concerning the safety of the child.  What if the phone is dropped and the child is too young to see it or it is lost, what then?

3:) What if you don't pick up your child and their breathing is not altered, but only a visual cue would tell you something is wrong?

4:) Not all beaches have life guards.

See I can do what you did.  So many people jumped on my back.  I never assumed anything and in fact I stated the parents in the article probably did plan ahead giving them the benefit of the doubt.  I simply posed questions based on a poor example being used to prove a thesis.  Next time read my comment and understand it before posting because clearly you did not.  I know this based on your "legit" examples because none of those involve the safety of the child, whereas all of mine did, yet for some reason none of mine were legitimate, but I forgot you know everything and I know nothing.

commentonitall
commentonitall

@PE_Mom_BizOwner 

But they probably took the necessary precautions.  I never said blind parents can't raise their kids.  I simply posed hypothetical situations and what one who is blind would do.  I also never said blind people are mental or stupid.  Also in regards to your comment about kids in slums and such, well they do get taken away all the time because I work in the system and I see it.  Your assumptions are misinformed whereas I asked a set of serious questions because I was curious.  The whole point of my comment was pointing out the blind parents is a bad example because automatically people will ask the same questions I asked and not read the rest of the article.  A different example should have been used which is the point I was making.  If I were to have a set of blind people watch my children your damned right I would think and ask those questions, that does not mean they are not capable of it.  I was just curious as to how they overcome those obstacles.  So many people jumped down my throat yet no one has offered any answers to my serious and insightful questions.

commentonitall
commentonitall

I never said take their children away.  What is it with people on this site, they read one sentence of a post and then have a knee jerk reaction.  ANYONE with common sense would ask the same questions I posed.  Think about it for one second, BOTH parents are blind.  Would you not have concerns?  As for my attitude I was merely pointing out the blind parents fact was a poor way to get people to agree with the thesis of the article, and had you cared to actually read my comment you would see I agree with the article.  in my mind using the blind parents as an example to show people with disabilities should be able to have kids is like trying to write a paper as to why the death penalty is just and then talking about an innocent person that was executed.  I was showing that most people would automatically disagree with the author before fully reading the article and a better example should have been used.  Do you not agree?  

commentonitall
commentonitall

I never said entitlement of their own children, that statement is nowhere in my comment, thanks for trying though.  What was meant by that is people don't take the necessary precautions when having kids and expect everyone else to pick up the slack while they sit back and do nothing.  That is a problem in America and had you actually read the comment you would see you took it out of context.  I stated the blind parents probably did take the necessary precautions, but pointed a lot of people would not.  I find it funny that you call me evil because I called into question the safety of children, if that is being evil then I must be the most evil person on the planet.  Please tell me how concern for children's safety is evil as your comment clearly alludes to.

commentonitall
commentonitall

@TrajanSaldana 

So I sound like a jerk because I asked serious questions that need to be considered involving the safety of a child.  How is that?  If thinking about the safety of a child first and foremost makes me a jerk then there must be a lot of jerks in the world.  Would you put a blind person in charge of spotting glaciers on a ship? I was never derogatory and I even gave the benefit of the doubt to the blind couple but like Tonkaman you clearly did not read my comment, then had a knee jerk reaction and called me a jerk.  I was not derogatory nor mean spirited and I said I agree with the article.  I was merely pointing out the blind couple was a poor example to prove the thesis of the article.  If asking the tough questions involving the safety of children makes me a jerk then so be it.  

commentonitall
commentonitall

 @Tonkaman

I never stated any of the things you wrote in your comment, for reference please READ my comment next time, go ahead it is right above yours. I also said I agree with the article so therefore I cannot be a perfect example of what the article is talking about. Now I could have clarified more on entitlement so here I will. The entitlement of people in the US is not solely relegated to people with disabilities, it involves everyone. Had you actually read my comment you would see I never wrote disabled people have entitlement, I said people thus encompassing everyone who is a person meaning you and I. What I was envisioning was people who could not see and expecting everyone around them to take over without taking the necessary precautions first and thinking they should not have to do the day to day things simply because they feel entitled not to. One example comes to mind involving a flight I was on. A bratty kid named Jason refused to buckle up for his mother before the flight because she was having a conversation with him and not parenting. Instead of being a parent she called the stewardess over and asked her to explain why he needed to buckle up and then actually expected her to buckle him in. That is the entitlement I was referring to and the US does have a problem with it. Maybe a little off topic and I should have clarified more, but there you go. So the lesson of the day is to actually read things before making statements that are easily refuted by the paragraph above it.

dgdoesstuff
dgdoesstuff

@commentonitall @dgdoesstuff 

1. What's your point?

2. What if the parent can see and the phone drops in a bush?  Still not a valid reason to take kids away from blind people or even throw up a speculative like this.

3. Like...?  I can think of Chicken Pox, and that's about it.  Even that has a sound to it. *itch itch itch*, which will alert a parent who relies on sound.  ("Hey kid, come here, what are you doing? Oh, you have chicken pox.) 

4.  Most people cannot tell when someone is drowning anyway.  Still too specific to take kids away from blind people.

I specifically did not include any "child safety" examples because I couldn't think of any.  Most true problems with blind parents are in the written language area.

Since yesterday, I did think of one: house on fire/flood.  

Even then, to put on a speculative, what about seeing parents who do not plan ahead with evacuation routes knowing they can see them, and leave messes in the hallway because on a normal day, they can see to step over things. 

commentonitall
commentonitall

You do not understand or comprehend my comment.  The fact is the blind parents was a poor example.  Nothing was stated about and precautions taken in order to ensure the child's safety, just that they were blind.  As far as the Nurse going to the patients home you have no idea how the health community works.  All the burden is on the nurse and she can't go to their home, health care just does not work like that.  She had an obligation and by calling about the child she was checking on the home.  Had she not done that and the child died then she could have lost her job and been sued, it's a double edge sword.  You people can't read or comprehend and have a knee jerk reaction.  READ my comment.  The whole thesis of it was the blind parents were a poor example, no other details were offered as to how they will and have coped with the situation, it's like a book without an ending.  Tell me more.  It was a poor example to use.  No where did I state handicap people can't raise children.  I took issue with the ONE example that was poorly instituted.  Anyone with a little common sense would ask the same question I did.  Stop getting so offended and taking what I said out of context and expanding it to levels I never went to.  Learn to read and comprehend before making blanket claims about my comment which never existed in the first place.  Good God people.

fulload
fulload

@commentonitall @PE_Mom_BizOwner The fact is that you commented without due consideration. You stated, and I quote…"

That…"…I agree with the article over all, but the blind couple mentioned in the first paragraph is a horrible way to present the thesis, if anything it makes their thesis very difficult to prove. The article should have just skipped to the woman in the wheel chair, that would have gotten me on board right away. I'm sorry but I feel the nurse in the first situation did the right thing, nothing personal to the people who just had their child, but common sense is not common in the US anymore and she was only looking out for the child's safety which is her job."

Here is where you really derail and put me over the edge…YOU feel that the nurse, who obviously did NOT have a handle of the home situation, "did the right thing…" You go on to further say that "…common sense is not common in the US anymore and she was only looking out for the child's safety which is her job." ???Really?Are you kidding me?I was raised by a "handicapped mom." And let me tell you, not only do I feel that she did an amazing job, but she taught me that "Handicap" is more of a detriment when it is a mind-set than an actual physical condition.The sad truth of it all is that IF the nurse really wanted to "do her job," she would have offered to go out to the home and see if help was needed rather than jump to some preconceived conclusion that just because one's parents are physically 'blind,' means that they really can't see with other senses, or that they are incapable of raising a child.

Really… that 'nurse' is lucky that the parents haven't sued her. She over-stepped her bounds, and in doing so, had their child removed for nearly two months, losing those crucial bonding months, and the ability to have nursed and nurtured their daughter.

Just as doctors take a Hippocratic Oath, nurses take a pledge to do their best for their patients. That creed is often called the Florence Nightengale Pledge, and is often administered at graduation ceremonies. Adapted from the Hippocratic Oath, the pledge follows the mantra of "do no harm." It also swears loyalty in aiding the physician and freedom from the influence of personal matters.

Sad that the 'nurse' didn't remember that Oath.

commentonitall
commentonitall

@TrajanSaldana 

So instead of offering a mature response to post the best you can come up with is "you still sound like a jerk."  You did not answer my question and no I don't sound like a jerk, but the best you can come up with is to repeat yourself and add one word, congrats on being a moron.  NOW I sound like a jerk.