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Woman Told She Can’t Adopt Foster Sisters She Has Cared For Since Birth Because She Is Old

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shutterstock_73526500__1374577975_74.134.205.46Melba Haynes is a 72-year-old Bronx foster mom. There was a time, back when I was drinking room temperature bottles of Cold Duck and contemplating where I should get a new facial piercing, that I thought 72 was ANCIENT. Like old, old, old, old. Now that I’m at the very ripe age of 43 I just don’t see 72 as being that OLD, like it’s not an age that seems so far off in this distance and I have a hard time believing, if the fates allow, that I will be like some feeble old lady sitting with an afghan throw I crocheted on my lap, eating hardened ribbon candy from the Christmas before and talking to Murder, She Wrote reruns on my television. This s 2013 people and 72 is the new 42 or something and people are living a lot longer these days plus Botox and advances in health care and viagra and MADONNA. Shit, everything is old. But young, because age ain’t nothin’ but a number. Which is why my heart is all sad because Melba Haynes wants to adopt two sisters she has cared for since infancy who are now ages two and four, and a judge has ruled she is too old to adopt them. From the NY Daily News:

Bronx Family Court Judge Carol Sherman ruled earlier this month that the girls be transferred to another home within two weeks, Haynes said.

“The judge said I’m too old to have small kids in my home,” the discarded — and disappointed — foster mom said, adding that Sherman told her that “Nobody lives until they’re 100.”

Sherman issued the ruling despite that fact that the Catholic Guardian Society — which enlisted Haynes as a foster mom — supported her adoption bid.

Haynes said her son, Dale, who lives above her, offered to adopt the kids himself while his mom helped out, but she said Sherman nixed that plan, as well.

“Okay, she’s 72 — but she’s in perfect health,” Dale said. “It would be devastating to see them split apart.”

It should be noted that one aspect of this particular story is disturbing, and that is that:

Complicating matters more, a courts spokesman told the Daily News that Haynes had a prior record of abuse issues with other children in her care, but the spokesman said the judge was unaware of those issues until the day of the hearing.

Haynes said a disgruntled foster child made the claim 10 years ago, and she expected it would be expunged from her record.

If she was such a bad foster parent, she asked, then why was she allowed to continue caring for other foster kids?

“I could understand when kids get abused,” Haynes said. “but when kids are in a good home, they should stay.”

No one wants to see these girls in an abusive home, but if we are going by what the judge says and the reason the sisters have to be taken from the only home they have ever known is because Haynes is too old, that is a stupid reason. She has the help of her son. True, she could die at any time and maybe she won’t live to see the girls into adulthood, but judging from the photos it seems like she loves the sisters and they love her. But now they have to be in a new home within two weeks, and considering the lack of foster homes in NYC they could easily end up in a group home. I don’t understand why they couldn’t stay where they are and have more visitation from social workers or something. If Melba is in good health and the girls are happy and well-cared for, I think letting them stay where they are instead of rolling the dice and seeing if they can get a new permanent home with a YOUNG mom is too much of a risk, and who is to say they would be happier with a different family just because the parents are younger?

It’s ageist, and not a good reason to tear a family apart.

(Photo: somchai rakin/shutterstock)