Sunday, May 20, 2012

Child Welfare


On Friday, I took a break from working 12-hour days writing a huge grant to benefit children in the foster care system in Santa Clara County so that I could fly down to San Diego for the college graduation of my son’s girlfriend Tina (from San Diego State University). Tina and Akili have been going together for over four years and he is pretty much part of her family by now, as she is part of ours. Yael drove down from L.A. to celebrate with Tina too. And after the incredibly long ceremony (Tina was at the very back of a huge number of graduates who needed to walk), Tina’s family and ours went out to eat. Her parents, siblings (with spouses), and their children, plus our family (minus Sudi) were at the table. Included in the group was Emmett, Tina’s new nephew, born a month ago. After spending the whole week working like crazy writing about the impact of childhood trauma on infants, toddlers, and preschoolers; and attempting to craft a complete description of the wonderful safety net that Santa Clara County is trying to put into place for these unfortunate little ones, I was especially moved to behold the way in which Tina’s family cherished their newest little member.

Emmett was a preemie so he doesn’t do much yet other than sleep and eat. He slept most of the time, but did grace us with a few waking moments so we could see his eyes. While awake, he peered ever-so-intently into the faces of each member of the huge bustling family into which he had been born as he was passed from hand-to-hand and adored by everyone; welcomed over and over again by this mob of loving family eager for him to begin to participate actively in their lives.

So should it be for every baby.

Tina is “the baby” of her own family, and yesterday her parents were the first ones in the arena and just about the last ones to leave, and we screamed and hollered when Tina walked across the stage. From birth to adulthood. So should all children be cherished and adored.

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