Tuesday, April 22, 2008

YFZ Ranch...the lost children

Last week was a light-hearted romp through the pleasant chaos of my life, but more serious thoughts have been vying for attention.

I’ve been following the YFZ Ranch issues, because of the children involved. I don’t share or fully understand the religious beliefs of the YFZ constituents, nor have I lived in their shoes. I don’t know if people feel trapped or persecuted…the spike-topped compound walls might keep people out, rather than in.

From the reading I’ve done, there is nothing to corroborate allegations of abuse. This doesn’t mean it didn’t happen, but none of us outside the compound truly knows about life inside. Possibly, unsubstantiated judgments were made because people condemn lifestyles they find distasteful.

Those judgments ripped over 400 children from the only life they’ve known. Law enforcement officials placed them in mass shelters, separated many from their mothers, questioned them intensively, required forced DNA testing, and are now placing them in foster care. These are psychologically damaging events that can never be undone.

Other religions live in private, self-sustaining communities, discouraging contact with the outside world, shunning members who leave. But…they’re not polygamous. I can’t help wondering if past Texas history--Waco--and fear of polygamy were the driving forces behind the impressively zealous raid of the YFZ Ranch….


Children's lives have been forever altered--were the reasons truly valid? I would appreciate your input and perspective...please share your thoughts.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

My concern is for the children as well. Many have already had children of their own by 13- too young in my book. There is evidence that the compound is funded by welfare, since only one marrage is recognized. The other wives with many dependents go on welfare, that we all pay for. There is said not to be birth certificates, such records hurt the group in the past, therefore DNA testing. They are said to have several goverment employmeny contracts, yet their people are not paid, but instead work for the church( children too- slaves?? I don't know. Young men are competition for the older men and are banished during adolescence, mothers just let them go (abuse to me). I too am watching- I am concerned, I hope government isn't overstepping, I do not claim to understand their "religion" or is it cult? I hope the accusations are wrong- I fear they are correct. C UT

Reverie said...

I haven't come across concrete evidence regarding welfare--it may come to light as the investigation continues.

The following link connects to a well-written article that I consider fair, given the limited facts available: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080420/ap_on_re_us/trouble_on_the_prairie_5

The children in this case are here, we can't undo their lives. From this point forward, we need to consider what's best for them. Is that the foster-care system?

I don't know if we've taken them from something awful--I do know that we've thrust them into foreign, frightening situations.

My goal when I wrote the above post was not to provide answers but to provoke thought. So please keep your comments coming!

The Marathon Man said...

I hesitate to reply because I tend to be militant.
The adults that chose this originally, had their own reasons/issues, but the children didn't get to choose. At some point they become adults themselves and, while their difficulties in "normal" life are real, the fact that they didn't ask for them no longer matters. The rest of us look at what's happened to them and wonder who would do this to kids, but it has been done. The facts are not all out, but the news only ever tells the balanced truth, so I have to believe that there were many situations that "normal" people would call serious abuse...I wonder if the children can recover at this point, or if they want to.

Reverie said...

I value your comments--never be hesitant! I think balance comes from viewing situations from every angle, so I want to hear others' thoughts/feelings re: issues.

Reverie said...

For some reason my entire reply wasn't posted...I'm sure that has nothing to do with my limited computer skills...

Children's lack of choice in the lives they're handed is one of my greatest frustrations in life. Our country was founded on the right to choose, but one person's choice often impinges on others.

I wish the Texas children could stay with their mothers and be educated about other choices in life--I think that would greatly lessen their trauma. However, that would impinge on the rights of their collective fathers...

The right to choose is full of loop holes...that seems to be the American way...

Anonymous said...

My biggest concern is the use of the foster care system. While I know that there are more "good" foster homes than bad, the system is not a good one. The group home situation is even more difficult to contemplate. They have taken sheltered children and trust them into a foreign world of drugs, violence, and sex. While the kids may have experienced these within the walls they were also with people who loved them - they have lost that now. Chris :(

Reverie said...

I think you did a better job voicing my concerns about foster care than I did--thank you for sharing your thoughts and insights. The idea behind foster care is a good one, the reality is often far different...