When you're the parent of a child with special needs, your one constant worry is how your child will be cared for after you're dead and gone.
Will anyone love him like I do? Will they be kind to him? Will they "get" him? Will he have a life of possibility, or be warehoused away from the rest of society?
I'll be 55 in a few months. The Boy will be 17; he has a lot more life left than I do. This worry about the quality of his life in the future occupies my mind all.the.time.
And the worst part about it? Realistically, I have no control over his future - it'll be up to him and whomever is acting as his advocate. With mental health budgets being slashed across the nation, I don't know what kind of services will be available to him when he's an adult.
Will he be able to live independently? We don't know that yet.
Will he be able to earn enough money to support himself? I dunno.
Will he seek out help and support? Will he take his medication?
Will he end up in prison? (That's the thought that plagues me most, especially after the recent macing and arrest adventure).
I guess I just need to count our blessings right now, and not fret about what we can't control.
I know I'm glad that we are living now - where we know more about the treatments and services that help the most (although there is a zillion things we don't know yet).
Here's some information that will keep you awake for nights on end.
See, there is a point to this post.
Eugenics is the study of hereditary improvement of the human race by controlled selective breeding.
I automatically think of Hitler, and how he killed mentally ill and physically disabled children and adults in his effort to create a master race.
But eugenics was also carried out in the United States, long before Hitler came to power in Europe.
If you were an inmate of a prison or mental asylum, (like the Pennsylvania Training School for Feeble-minded Children, for example) and were diagnosed with a mental illness or physical or mental challenge, or have a child or sibling who has one of these challenges, thank your lucky stars that you didn't live in the late nineteenth or early- to mid-twentieth centuries.
In the US, some 60,000 Americans (mostly female) were sterilized during that time. Compulsory sterilization was carried out in thirty-two states. To see how your state fared, click here.
California had the highest number of sterilizations at 20,108; Virginia performed sterilizations until 1979...whoa.
And the U.S. Supreme Court said it was okey dokey.
Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said, in his written argument: