Policing Unconventional Black Motherhood

by Stacia L. Brown

According a 2010 study titled “Historical Changes in Stay-at-Home Moms: 1969 to 2009,” black mothers are half as likely to remain in-home with their children as opposed to working full-time outside the home. This isn’t a new or surprising revelation to those of us who’ve grown up watching generation after generation of matriarchs leave the home to help provide income for their children. But what’s less examined in the black community are the differences in parenting styles among black women who do opt to stay-at-home–particularly among those who do so as single parents or as parents whose income doesn’t allow for many conventional comforts.

Single stay-at-home moms are an even smaller subset, as it’s rare to find work-from-home employment lucrative enough to make the option possible. But a few mothers are able to manage it. One is blogger Ani Lacy, who chronicles raising a son with special needs at her personal site and on Twitter. Lacy decided to homeschool her son, to ensure that he receives the individualized care and attention he needs to intellectually thrive. She believes in simple, sustainable living, which prioritizes homemaking over financial gain. Recently, she embarked on a campaign to take their at-home classroom on the road. She began raising money to buy an RV so that she and her son could “roadschool,” which is a growing trend among homeschooling parents.

Roadschooling” is the practice of educating by way of extended road trip. The idea is to allow the child to learn about different regions and cultures and practices by seeing them firsthand. In addition to roadschooling, “unschooling” is another learning style on the rise. Unschooling is allowing your child to find his or her own interests and to be educated through a daily practice of self-exploration. With less oversight than the traditional homeschooling model, roadschooling and unschooling have come under protest and debate. Each state has homeschooling laws that parents/home-educators must adhere to. Parents to ascribe to either of these more unconventional models are still expected to meet those requirements.

It would seem that if no harm’s being done to the child, each parent should be able to define the educational and rearing style that works best for her own child. But what happens in a community or extended family unit that is unaccustomed to parenting that’s a bit left-of-the-middle? If choosing to stay at home is an unconventional choice, homeschooling is even more unexpected–and roadschooling or unschooling can be nearly unfathomable.

Extended family has a penchant for sticking its nose into parents’ choices. Whether it’s their decision to raise a vegan or vegetarian child, a resistance to perm, a neighborhood the family finds questionable, or language the child’s allowed to use, we’re used to aunts, grandmothers, and cousins chiming in. But sometimes, “chiming in” crosses a line.

It certainly has for Lacy, whose latest blog entries and tweets have chronicled a series of police and social service visits prompted by her extended family’s complaints about her parenting. The complaints followed their discovery of her intent to roadschool. The situation escalated until her son was forcibly removed from the home for seven days, while an investigation into her mothering ensues. Despite a lack of evidence, save the dangerous accusations of three family members’ who haven’t seen Lacy or her son in a year (and thus have not witnessed any of the misconduct alleged, during that time), Lacy’s custody was rather easily stripped.

It’s an extreme and tragic case that raises a series of concerns. Should unconventional parenting choices be grounds for involving social services? Should concerns over practices with which you’re unfamiliar lead you to call a parent’s competency into question? Should a lack of interest in earning more money than is absolutely necessary to fulfill your personal parenting objectives (like roadschooling), be grounds for serious concern and accusation?

In less severe cases, where the law is not involved, extended family’s policing of non-customary parenting practices can still lead to accusations, threats and heartache. If you’ve ever heard someone admonish, “You’re gonna turn him into…” or “She’s going to be _______, if you keep _______,” then you know how difficult it can be for a parent defend her choices among family who believe they know better.

<Were you raised in a way considered unconventional by your family? Is another family member raising their child in a way that isn’t “the norm?” How is the extended family handling it? 

  • Natalie B.

    My parents were pretty conventional except where politics and religion were concerned; they were pretty liberal, and that allowed me to form my own relationship with God, explore educational and career opportunities, and live my life on my own terms much to the chagrin of well-meaing extended family members. When realitives would begin their commentary on my infrequent church attendance, nomadic lifestyle throughout my 20′s and my carefree attitude towards relationships, my late mother would remind them, first and foremost that I was “her child”, not theirs, that I hadn’t brought home any trouble, or anything she had to help feed or clothe (i.e., a baby), and that a lot of folks sitting in pews every Sunday are going to end up busting hell wide open. That would pretty much shut the brave soul that dared to broach the subject in the first place.

  • I got sense!

    Wow, it’s really horrible that they took the child away on nothing but a complaint with no witnessed wrong doing. I mean is it really that easy? No eye witnesses to any abuse of any kind and after a preliminary investigation the charges should have been dropped. This is RIDICULOUS! That little boy should never have been taken from his mother.

    As far as other people disliking your parenting choices that’s their problem. I am a firm believer that children are a gift from God and there is no greater responsibility. If anyone if my family didn’t like my choice they simply would have no contact with my or my children every again. I would move if possible, change my cell number and any other contact info and simple never speak to them again. With all the issues going on in the black community for your family to contact child services or the police because you are taking care of your kid is outrageous. As soon as I got my kid back I would leave and they would never hear from me again.

  • isolde

    Well, as long as the child is meeting state requirements and standardized testing benchmarks, then, in theory, homeschooling and roadschooling shouldn’t be a problem.

  • http://www.myblackfriendsays.com myblackfriendsays

    I am fine with homeschooling and roadschooling, but I think unschooling is a bunch of bunk. Kids need to learn how to read, we’re not living in olden times anymore. However, I am open to the possibility that perhaps I just don’t know enough about it.

    That is really unfortunate that woman’s son was put into foster care based on reports of people that haven’t even had recent contact with them. If my kid was put in foster care, I would be piiiiiiised.

  • ms_micia

    I am a single stay at home mom with very strong religious conviction. Because of my decision to stay home with my son and exclusively breast feed for a year if not more, I get the side eye from not only family but friends. I think you need to stand your ground with in laws and family, something i get better with every day but trust me it’s not easy. I am a contributing person in my household but that household includes my mother and father who to say the least don’t always take MY wishes into account when it comes to my parenting style. Because of the living arrangements I don’t always voice my opinion like I should for fear of offending or them telling me that I’m somehow unequipped because I don’t do things the way they did them with me. I think it’s tragic this woman because of her reasoning to live outside of society’s norms is having her child taken. The state should not have control or decide how to educate OUR children. If they were doing such a slam up job the drop out rate and college graduate rate for Americans wouldn’t be in the toilet like it is compared to other states. I WILL home school my son because their are many things i don’t want him exposed to that public schools are at this point unable to deal with properly (i.e bullying and harassment and assault of children by other children) or to my satisfaction. There’s many who side eye home school in our community because we as black people are used to taking what where given instead of taking responsibility for our children and our own education *the way our ancestors did* we leave it up to the state.The rights we have as Americans are slowly fading away because of people who think like this woman’s family. We need to stop going for the okey doke and also support our families choices be it traditional or otherwise. Things like corporal punishment and familial dysfunction in discipline, learning and parenting have been passed on from generation to generation. It’s time we start thinking differently. These practices have not served us well. Taking PERSONAL responsibility for our mental and physical health and the physical and mental health of our children should trump any worn traditions that we may have as a people. Women like her should be in an environment where they are nurtured and their way of parenting is nurtured. Not criticized for being different. I say when she gets her child back she move, faaaar away to a place where she can get some support for her and her child. Because clearly the family didn’t think enough of her child to think of the ramifications of pulling a child out of the only home they know to be placed in temporary foster care while an investigation goes on for a week. That to me is endangering the child more than them not being in traditional school. Sometimes you got to know when back off and mind your own business. And women stop being afraid of the older generation, take the gems and leave the garbage. If you don’t want your child to do something, you express with respect that you will NOT be doing so, and leave it at that. If they love you they will back off.

  • CurlySue

    Unschooling sounds like a bunch of hippie bs. Really? You think a kid can learn algebra/chemistry through what? Osmosis? GTFOH.

  • isolde

    It’s a personal decision , but I’d be lying if I said that I’ve never given some ideological homeschool parents the side eye. There are parents that do just as good or better of a job than the public schools possibly could, and then there are parents who don’t produce results as good as the local public schools. The NYT just did this whole investigation on K-12, but it’s not like you have to use that curriculum.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/13/education/online-schools-score-better-on-wall-street-than-in-classrooms.html?pagewanted=all

    My former neighbors were religious and decided to home school because they didn’t want their children picking up certain secular habits and spending too much time with children who weren’t of their faith, not because the schools were of poor quality. The zoned school they would’ve sent their kids to has a mostly middle class population and a strong parent volunteer contingent. Again, it’s a personal decision, but one that’s worth researching, if you haven’t already done so.

    My ward is 3 now; so I’ve been looking at kindergartens, and I have been pleasantly surprised with the public schools. The private schools in my area, even the high end ones (10K + tuition), really aren’t offering much of a difference in curriculum that can’t be supplemented for far less via after school enrichment activities. I’ve already looked into the city wide TAG (gifted talented) program requirements, and those admissions exams are completely gameable. Even though the test isn’t until the second grade, he’s prepping for it now, and he doesn’t even know it. So, when he gets in, he’s going to get even more of an enriched education for free.

    Like I said, I don’t know anything about you or your neighborhood, but a lot of times public school is what you make of it.

  • TopMpm

    Im a stay at home mother and a former public school teacher. I have never heard of roadschooling. I love the concept. Kids learn greatly through experience and visualization. Im not sure about unschooling. I dont have a problem with homeschooling as long as those being homeschooled are given adequate opportunities to increase their social skills.

  • Kacey

    We’re being told to accept homeschooling, roadschooling and un-schooling, all while the Chinese, Indians, and darn-near the rest of the entire world, surpass us in math and science in conventional schools! *smh*

  • I got sense!

    That’s cuz they still beatin’ the hell outta they kids.

    In all seriousness, education is pushed by EVERYONE. Parents, neighbors, relatives, friends, teachers, and government. When the US get to the point that they realize dividing itself only makes us weaker to other countries they will make the necessary changes. Until then they will continue to do what they have always done.

  • tisme

    Self education is a huge part of why those other kids surpass ours.Conventional and unconventional may be the way.A lot of people tend to forget that learning does not stop or start with school and they also forget that children that tend to test best come from households with educated parents.There are a lot of reasons why our kids are failing home school along with out of home school could be the answer to a lot of our problems

  • Candi83

    That was ridiculous that they took away Ani Lacy’s child. I was raised traditionally but I am open to other forms of teaching your children. Home/roadschooling is good but unschooling is nonsense. If you unschool your child, you are doing them a great disservice as a parent.

  • H

    Exactly. They are doing more than white kids. Black folks need to adopt some Asian parenting techniques because what we’re doing ain’t cuttin’ the butter. Have you heard of that Chinese mother Amy Chua? She was no joke. I think she was too much though but some of her ideas could work for us. No TV was one I really support.

    Black folks definitely shouldn’t start slacking in education. We need to catch our kids up to the level of white kids, but even white kids are underperforming compared to these Asians. What politicians are talking about education? Not college education high school.

    These Asians know that education is key and they are very serious about it. I think Americans view school as a place to socialize. It’s too much like Glee or High School Musical.

    Most American parents are not educated enough to educate a kid that can compete with these Asian kids, but seriously. Black folks need to start adopting Asian techniques when it comes to education. Heck. White folks too!

  • Kam

    African and Caribbean parents already have practices similar to Asians. I believe it’s because they all share a similar educational system. Everything rides on one single test at the end of highschool. This is different to the American system where you can do fairly poorly yet still attend a college. This is NOT how it works in Africa and the Caribbean or most of Asia. There, if you don’t do well in school, you will be shut out point blank from high paying jobs with no second chance.

    I agree that Blacks could learn a lot from Asians in education. Some people get upset when I say that but Asians have been doing standardized testing since 600 AD (more specifically Chinese). They freakin’ know education. Just accept it and learn. Also some people complain that they are not creative and just memorize. Well apparently that’s a good strategy for passing math and science so just use it! My university’s engineering courses are filled to the brim with Chinese students.

  • Moni

    In these countries, parental participation is the norm. I dont just mean parent teacher conferences or attending sport events. This country isnt designed to allow parents to be at the schools on a regular basis. In this country, life is designed around work. Whereas in other countries (European nations included) Mom’s job is designed around her home/parental resposibilities. America is a nation where parents expect others to do all of the dirty work- breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner in school or after school care (meals at the table are perfect for discussion about school, lessons, social life); after school for homework, parents dont drop off nor pick up their children. These countries have conventional homes, traditional family values therefore their children will prosper. Not just America, but other countries where non traditional homes are the norm; where social benefits are ‘high’, poor education is becoming more prevalent- G. Britain, Germany.

  • ms_micia

    @isolde I’m definitely not over idealistic mainly because I am in school for education and my mother has been an educator for over 25 plus years. I am also a huuuuge advocator for a support system when it comes to homeschooling. Yes, you are correct to assume I didn’t want my son to be around certain habits and behaviors that can’t and won’t be policed by teachers or faculty but that myself and my family find unacceptable.I don’t. And I do live in a rural suburban area *mostly white* in the South. I also don’t want my child to be subject to the immense amount of racism that still exists in this area. While in his formative years k-5 ideally, I want to have as much control over what he’s exposed to as possible. My situation is unique and I have alooooot of support, not only from my family but my son’s father’s family and my place of worship. I wouldn’t suggest my path for everyone but I do find the American school system, as it stands, to be lackluster in it’s methods for what I want my son to learn. Early childhood homeschooling is difficult which is why I won’t be doing it alone. My mom and a sister from my church who also home schooled her children are going to help. I’m just advocating for the stay at home black mom, as well as the mom who wants to be able to raise her child how she wants. As long as the child is thriving and he’s learning, which most children don’t do in the same way, she should be able to develop her child how she sees fit. What happened to the child mentioned in this article is a complete disgrace. People should take their children and a lot more of their lives out of the hands of the state and give it a chance before judging it or deeming it too difficult.

  • Leo the Yardie Chick

    Yea, the reading part was my record-scratch moment re: unschooling. In this day and age? I need to do more research into that one, because it has me scratching my head over here.

  • ms_micia

    *from my original post I meant other countries not other states. Jeez, I didn’t proofread. Shame on me :)

  • Paula

    I Got Sense! do you know how many instances occur where children are being abused. Being an “unconventional” parent will raise flags and seing as the child is the important one here, I don’t have a problem. Remember this mother is not “normal” by society standards so why leave things to chance. Although the child was taken away the mother should understand its because of her methods. It is better for the authorities to check the situation out than to leave things to chance. I’m suprised that it happened so fast!

  • I got sense!

    @Paula

    Okay, so apparently you read the parts you wanted and skipped the rest so let me posted again. “No eye witnesses to any abuse of any kind and after a preliminary investigation the charges should have been dropped.”

    That means, complaints should ABSOLUTELY be investigated BUT if there is no EYE WITNESS to any misconduct or abuse and evidence to suggest that their is, charges should be dropped and the child NEVER should have been removed from her home.

    If someone can come take your kids simply because they don’t like the way you are raising them, the USA is even more screwed up than I thought. Again, what’s “normal”, “unconventional” and “traditional” is irrelevant because nothing today is normal or traditional. I don’t give a damn what methods the parents are using as long as the child is being taken care of properly and no laws are being broken. This a shame and if I were her I’d move and cut ALL CONTACT with my family. I would never want my child to be around someone who is as vindictive and cruel as to traumatize a child for no reason other than “we don’t like how she raising him”. I guess those “concerned” people didn’t think of how horrifying it would be for the child to be forcibly taken away from their parent(s), surrounded by strangers and questioned, and to live in an unfamiliar surrounding too young to truly understand what is going on. They don’t give a damn about the child. They did that to hurt the mother. If they were really concerned about the welfare of the child they would be looking for signs of abuse (which I hope you know) and making a decision from there since they had ABSOLUTELY NO PROOF TO ANY ABUSE and OBVIOUSLY there wasn’t any since the child was returned. Try that crap somewhere else. They are horrible people for putting that mother and child through that and I hope she never has contact with them again.

  • Shera

    You’ve got some of the facts incorrect for this article. If you read Ani’s posts on Twitter, you’ll see the child was removed when she resisted police–not because she was a bad parent. Granted, the police shouldn’t have been there at midnight, and her ex’s relatives are complete jerks. But this could have been avoided if she hadn’t resisted the police and gotten arrested. She played into the grandmothers’ and ex’s hand when she did that.

    When the man comes to your house, be cool. Don’t put up a fight. Bad things happen when you do.

    I pray Ani and her son can get the help they need to resolve this sad situation.

  • Momtoo!

    Thank you! That fact made a big difference in the intention of the story.

  • NoitAll

    The very people who called Child Services on Lacy are probably the types of parents who believe that beating a child is the way to make him/her obedient and successful. How ironic. If the child is not being abused, neglected, or starved, I don’t see a problem.

  • James

    I got sense! while I can understand how you feel about the apparent tragedy you see. I have to remind you that as an internet bystander we have even less perspective on the situation that the family or authorities involved.

    For instance maybe it wasn’t easy to have the child removed, maybe school instructors worried about a child being put in class and removed frequently, might have started the whole thing, Maybe a mother who removed all contact from the grandparents of a child started calling them to threaten that she would kill her child. Maybe when that happened it resulted in multiple non positive encounters with the police that were all documented and serve as proof of instability. Maybe this mother has a long history of instability stretching before the birth of her child. Maybe the father of her child isn’t a deadbeat that doesn’t care about his son. Maybe the father has been in contact with the social worker for the past month and a half and is preparing and changing his entire life to take his son into his custody as it should have been in the first place.

    Just sayin’

  • Shera

    Ani’s website, blog and Go Fund Me page have been removed. I pray she’s okay.

  • L

    Ani and son was in my spirit today….She was suppose to see him or get him back on today…her blog, twitter, Go fund me is gone. I pray everything is okay, too.

  • Farren

    Praying for Ani and her son. Her poor son, who is special needs and probably in a group home right now, confused and scared, with a new staff on every 8 hours just to keep things frustrating for scared children. Shocked that people are focusing on Ani’s choice on how to educate her own special needs child instead of the tragedy that is removing a child from the person who knows and loves him best.

    For the record, I’m an educator and I fully endorse the choice to “unschool” which is simply a dramatic term for full immersion discovery learning. Parents who choose this route become facilitators for discovery, encouraging children to explore, ask questions, and help them find their own solutions to problems which leads to learning to be intrinsically motivated as well as a deeper understanding on the subject than any text-book could provide. Many many schools would gladly use these strategies if they had the resources and teacher-student ratios to support it. Please do some in-depth reading about unschooling

  • Rachel Goldberg

    Firstly, I wish the people bashing unschooling would do a little research first, because the idea that unschooling = not learning, or that unschooled kids don’t read or do higher math/science, is patently ridiculous.

    About Ani’s case- if you have been following, you know that she “resisted” police because they had no warrant. They showed up at her door at night, while her son was sleeping, without a warrant. Really? You let cops into your house without a warrant? The social worker had previously seen and spoken to her son. She had received an email stating that her case would be dropped. She had been calling and emailing social services to make an appointment with them in the daytime, but instead they broke down her door at midnight and took her child from his bed.

    Her child was not taken because she was arrested- rather, she was arrested because she was trying to hold onto her crying child while they ripped him away from her.

    And do NOT tell me that if you parent differently from the “norm,” whatever that is, that you should expect your child to be taken from you on the basis of an anonymous phone call from someone on the other side of the country. Puh-lease.

  • http://brainyfeet.com Larah Ritchie

    I am an unschooling mom of 5yr old twin girls and two older young adults ages 21 & 18. We’ve even done our fair share of roadschooling, though we didn’t call it that. Extended road trips have endless educational value!

    I can assure you, if you think unschooling kids don’t learn how to read, then you are definitely misinformed. My girls are leaps and bounds ahead of their traditionally schooled counterparts. My 18 year old chose to attend college for her senior year of high school, is extremely active in the community and is a national poetry competitor. My son moved 3000 miles away on his own at 20 to pursue his interests in music.

    The only difference between homeschooling & unschooling is that we allow the girls’ interests to steer their education. We help them learn about the things they’re curious about…when they’re curious about them…because that’s when the best learning takes place. Instead of being taught what a curriculum schedule things they should know from a single textbook, they learn by living, exploring, trying, reading, researching (with our help), observing and doing.

    Traditional systems keeps kids from the world and tell them the have to “get prepared” first. But they don’t. The only preparation the schools do is to stifle their natural curiosity, cause them to question the validity of their own interests and make them dependent on an authority figure to make even the smallest decision.

    Granted, there are some “radical unschoolers” out there who take the concept of child-directed learning too far in my opinion. While allowing a child to direct the grocery shopping or their own hygiene, manners and bedtimes is potentially great learning experiences, it’s probably a better idea for an 8 or 9 year old than a 2 or 3 year old. I think it’s best to first allow them to developed some concept of why we do these things the way we do them and *then* give them some ownership allowing them to experiment with what works for them.

    We don’t know the details about this poor woman’s story. It would seem that the charges were completely unfounded and vindictive since the child was returned to her custody after the investigation. The fact is the child should never have been removed from the home…especially not in such a traumatic way.

    The scariest thing is that CPS was able to take this woman’s child away from her based soley on the fact that someone didn’t “like” her parenting style. Yes, CPS has a tough job sorting out the vindictive claims from the real ones. But there has to be a better system.

    What’s next? Will CPS take children from women who choose not to breastfeed? Or from families who buy too many sodas in a month? What about situations where for generations the kids have help out on family farms? Oh, wait…the gov’t is already trying to put a stop to that. You see? The gov’t has interfered WAY too much in our parenting choices.

  • http://www.rebellionpress.com Davina Rhine

    Roadschooling as part of discovery-learning-immersion is well documented courtesy of http://barenakedfamily.com. CPS can be very predatory if you are poor, or different, unorthodox, and if you are all of the above and of color, it’s even more magnified! And the supreme court recently ruled (in my own sister’s case) that the state (via CPS of your city of residence) can terminate your rights and there is no obligation for counsel to be provided as there is in criminal charges. My family has been torn apart by poverty, exploitation, war, and there is no point in being a cog-in-the-wheel. Most public schools are full of violence, overcrowding, bullying, and mediocre (at best) administrators and teachers, and that will not close the gap in our performance internationally. But perhaps effective and open learning styles and engaged parents whose sole purpose isn’t solely to work out of necessity, or choice, or oppress others will.

    Most people want to be great parents, great peers, just like most teachers want to be great teachers, but then the oppressive or exploitative natures of others, business and the state get in the way more than they help.

    When I wrote my book Rebel Moms which features over 50 rad moms sharing it all to help others rock motherhood, some shared the same fear that CPS or busy bodies would cause disruption in their lives or that of their children due to un-schooling, veganism,being heavily tattooed, being poor, being sexy, being Buddhist, being awesome, and well we see their fear was valid. I just hope Ani knows we’ve got her back!

    Davina Rhine aka Rebel Mom

  • Alleyne Evans

    That doesn’t even make logical sense. There wouldn’t have been anything to resist if YFS & police weren’t already at her home for the purpose of removing the child. They were there to remove him because of the report/investigation, and she was consequently arrested for “resisting” because she wouldn’t let him go as they woke him at nearly midnight and yanked him from his bed. There was no reason why police or child protection would’ve been at her house at that hour if they weren’t there for the specific purpose of removing Nick.

    At 11:39 pm on May 28th six police officers and two social workers kicked my front door in and dragged my screaming & crying child from his bed. I was handcuffed, dragged to a police car and my left wrist was fractured. I spent the next three hours in jail and my son (who is on the autism spectrum) was whisked off to emergency foster care.

    Let’s don’t get this story twisted around.

  • TM

    as of today Ani still has not had her son returned. Her Blog and Twitter accounts are active again And a petition is in action to try and get her son returned.

  • CM

    There’s much more to this story than people realize. Ani gives unschooling, and black stay at home moms a bad name. I’m really amazed at how gullible people are. Don’t you know by now that you can be anything you want online? Ani had a private twitter account, and there she spoke of how she hated her son. Wondering why she had to be the one to raise a special needs child, wishing she had aborted him when she had the chance. She also talked about leaving him home alone with peanut butter, cartoons, and melatonin(a natural sleep aid). She also talked about how she wished someone would call CPS and take him from her. I wish I had took screen caps of these conversations. If you go back far enough in her blog, she talks about how she left him alone as an infant while she ran to the store. Yes, Ms. Ani has a lot of people fooled. CPS won’t show up at your door at midnight to take your child unless they have serious concerns. She got what she wished for! Oh, and the reason she’s roadschooling….she is being evicted. Why? Because she quit her job. You see, she’s not like the rest of us. She’s a single mom with a special needs child that doesn’t need to work. It wouldn’t surprise me if she removed those posts from her blog. Gotta keep up apperances. I wish more people who know of her shenanigans would come forward. There are red flags all over the place. Wake up people!

  • S

    I read the same tweets on the same private account. Old blog posts etc. I don’t think her son should have been removed. He is not abused. He has not been neglected. He is loved. He is cared for.

    What she tweeted was what she was feeling at that time. She was at wits end and with no support of any kind she wrote what she was thinking and feeling—-not what she was doing. If one cares about these things, and is truly concerned about a child? You do not condemn the mother who tweets she needs help. Instead you reach out and try to help however you can.

    No one is being fooled. Just because someone is distraught and stressed, overburdened with the demands of single parenthood, without the village, without the help they were promised when told by family they should keep their child, doesn’t make them a bad parent. It doesn’t mean their child should be ripped out of their bed short of midnight and kept from a loving parent. Many of us have wished we had not given birth, aborted, given up our children for adoption, many of us have met that wall of desperation where we feel we are not good enough for our children and want someone, anyone to come help us, take them away. Then we get past it and we move on, we get better. We focus on other goals to solve our problems. Like road schooling.

    There is injustice here.

    North Carolina has a lot of programs already in place to support mothers like Ani but it rarely applies them to situations involving the poor. North Carolina is actually well known for removing children from poverty stricken, minority homes for reasons less than ones given to Ani for the removal of her son.

    Please believe that CPS removes children for far less than what was reported about Ani. Unconventional parenting, homeschooling? According to the HSDLA are causes for removal every single day in the US. A child in Albany, NY was just returned (finally) due simply because the parents chose to homeschool, paperwork was misfiled by the state so the child was taken out of the home.

    It happens. All the time. The government is not always right, it is actually often wrong. It abuses power. We all know this. There are better ways to help children like Nick and their mothers like Ani. The disproportionate number of Black and other children of color in foster care says quite a lot about who the government deems to be suitable parents and who it doesn’t. Being unconventional, Black and a single woman? Can and will take your children away.

  • S

    No, that is not true. The papers to pull Nick from his home were already filed when they came to her house. CPS does not do home well checks at midnight.

  • C

    Lots of people tried to reach out to help her. We were sending private messages back and forth asking if anyone heard from her yet. Those tweets weighed heavy on me, and they still do. It bothers me that when we offered help she never responded. How many times to you offer help and suggestions to someone and they continue to ignore you, or shoot you down before you give up? It seems she only wanted a certain kind of help. I knew if I finally spoke up someone would tell me how wrong I am about her. Something just isn’t adding up, and I know I’m not the only one feeling this way, or thinking it.

  • me

    People are also forgetting that Ani’s plan to run away with the child was calculated to deprive the child’s father the right to see him. That is reason enough to put the brakes on her plan. She is not the victim here.

  • http://www.thoughtremixer.com Nukirk

    The father lives in another state, tho. So, how exactly is she running away from him?

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