Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Families in the News

On Tuesdays, I've been sharing family news from around the world. I try to find the more interesting and unusual stories, of course. In the future, I'll be breaking these down and offering them daily instead of in one big clump once a week.


One of the points of this blog is to talk about how we can extend our family circle to include friends and community. In
Secret's out: Join family at Kwanzaa
we learn about a family doing just that for Kwanzaa.

One of the most devasting problems families can face is addiction. It destroys many family efficiently and without mercy. And most families don't recover.

In Maryland, courts can order parents who lose their children to go through the Family Recovery Program, an experimental program. The Washington Post followed one of the first families to go through the treatment program - a mother and father who lost their child shortly after her birth in 2005. The mother tested positive for cocaine.

In the last installment of the series, reporter Mary Otto catches up with the family just as the courts decide whether or not to return their one year old daughter to their custody. What happens is heartbreaking, but with a touch of hope for two members of this family.

While it's sad the choices these individuals have made, what frustrated me most was the fact that the father is threatened with his job when he leaves to take care of his daughter. I've read about poor families being forced to make this choice over and over: If they must leave to take care of their children - and usually the situations were it's obvious they do need to choose the children - they lose their job. If they choose the job, then their children are endangered and they can loose their children. Most middle class families wouldn't face this choice because their employers value their skills and won't dare treat them so disrespectfully.

What I don't understand is why any employer would threaten to fire an employee for choosing to help their child. And you can't say, "Well, maybe the guy did it once too often," because he hasn't even had custody of his child for over a year! Clearly, this is an employer that didn't value this man as a person with a child who needed its father.

How do we expect to break the cycle of poverty if employers keep giving people these type of choices?

I'm not even quite sure how I found this, but since we're always hearing how gay unions and gay parents are ruining family life for all the straight people, I thought it was interesting to see how gay families are changing things for gays. Gone are the wild days of open sexuality, it seems. Everything's turning kid-friendly as more gays become parents.

And if you think you had a rough time with travel this holiday season, you might get a kick out of this story about a family - we're talking major extended family here - who has been coming home for Christmas to the same house for 101 years.

Finally, here's a profile of a family that probably has too much togetherness. Many people are glad to just to have survived their family during the holidays and are looking for a few months of reprive. But for the Droppo family, getting back to work means even more family time. They explain what it's like to run a family business in
Working with relatives can be tricky business.

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