Disabled mother fights for right to r...

Disabled mother fights for right to raise her child

There are 26 comments on the Chicago Tribune story from Jan 8, 2008, titled Disabled mother fights for right to raise her child. In it, Chicago Tribune reports that:

The first time Sabreena Westphal went to court to try to keep her children, she became a celebrity.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Chicago Tribune.

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ams

United States

#1 Jan 8, 2008
This is a sad story. I feel for this mother. I'm not sure that she can do all the things physically she needs to do to raise the child, but it seems sad that her grandmother or other family can't step in to help her raise her own child. I certainly think that the real parent, with help, can do a better job raising this girl than the foster care system, and even if adoptive parents are available, this mother still has the greater right to be involved in her daughter's care. There are cases of kids being left in the care of parents who abuse them...,I'm not sure why the system is so ready to take away this daughter from a mom who obviously loves her and wants to do right by her.
Dienne

Chicago, IL

#2 Jan 8, 2008
ams wrote:
This is a sad story. I feel for this mother. I'm not sure that she can do all the things physically she needs to do to raise the child, but it seems sad that her grandmother or other family can't step in to help her raise her own child. I certainly think that the real parent, with help, can do a better job raising this girl than the foster care system, and even if adoptive parents are available, this mother still has the greater right to be involved in her daughter's care. There are cases of kids being left in the care of parents who abuse them...,I'm not sure why the system is so ready to take away this daughter from a mom who obviously loves her and wants to do right by her.
I agree. Especially since the law says that parental rights trump the best interests of the child (not that I think parental rights are in conflict with the best interest of the child in this case) and that the state has to provide assistance to allow the biological parents to be able to raise their own children.

Any of us could potentially become disabled - car accident, illness, etc. How would we feel about losing our children because of such event?
Julie

Chicago, IL

#3 Jan 8, 2008
My concern is not that she is not going to do right by the child, but can she physically care for the child.. bathe her, help her dress, take her to school, cook meals, help her if she is injured, if there is a fire or an intruder.. she can't even get out of the bed to open the door if someone comes to the door.. how will she take her to the park, to the museums, to dance or music lessons, to a friend's house?? If she had the support it would be one thing.. have they interviewed the child at all??

Since: Aug 07

Evanston

#4 Jan 8, 2008
"all I ever wanted to be was a mom" and despite the fact that I will never be able to properly care for my child myself; that If she falls I cannot pick her up, if she is sick I cannot care for her, if she is hungry I cannot feed her. The State will have to expend substantial amounts of its limited tax dollars to provide me with the support I need to raise my child, dollars that could be better spent elsewhere, but all that is important is what I want.

This woman is profoundly selfish. She did not become pregnant, then become disabled, in which case I would feel different. I am just glad that at 47 it is highly unlikely that she will become pregnant again.
Netty

United States

#5 Jan 8, 2008
This story makes me want to cry..seriously, why can't the state of California help this woman. There are far worse people out there, those that abuse and sexually assault their children! Why can't this woman, who loves her children dearly get some help from the state in order to be with her children???? Just sad!!!!!!
Get Real

Crystal Lake, IL

#6 Jan 8, 2008
Why can't this woman keep a 'circle of friends' around to help her care for her child? Something isn't quite being brought to light.
bluejay

Bethesda, MD

#7 Jan 8, 2008
The mother has indicated that she would be happy to see her children regularly, even if she cannot always care for them. This does not seem like an unreasonable request. Why haven't the children been placed with people who will be sure that the children know their parents and have opportunities to spend time with them?
Chris

Chicago, IL

#8 Jan 8, 2008
The two older children have been split up, probably for life, and sent to two different parts of the country.

This would be considered against the best interests of the children in any other country, and would not be allowed.
SRS

United States

#9 Jan 8, 2008
Man, this story is such BS.
Let it go, Good Night People!
Ella

Villa Park, IL

#10 Jan 8, 2008
Chris wrote:
The two older children have been split up, probably for life, and sent to two different parts of the country.
This would be considered against the best interests of the children in any other country, and would not be allowed.
In what other country specifically would this not be allowed?

“What type of f--kery is this??”

Since: Dec 07

South Shore/Chatham

#11 Jan 8, 2008
I grew up with far too many young girls who had children because they "wanted" to have children...

Though they had no way of taking care of neither themselves or their children...

This situation is the same...

"Want" should not be the basis of having a child, unless that "want" is coupled with the ability to provide for that child (emotionally, physically, morally and financially)...

If human beings used that criteria...and ONLY that criteria for propogation...

The world would be a better place...
Becky

Birmingham, AL

#12 Jan 8, 2008
WHY does this woman keep having children?! She knows she cannot care for them, doesn't she want her children to be happy and cared for? If losing her sons the first time around was so bad, why is she doing this again?

When a mature person considers having a child they think about the care required, necessary monies and a possible future.

I know it's sad, all she ever wanted was to be a mom. Sometimes, we don't get what we want and we should never go after what we want if it means another person is expected to suffer for it. It is sad that she cannot have children, and by cannot I don't mean physically inable to.
Chris

Chicago, IL

#13 Jan 8, 2008
Ella wrote:
<quoted text>
In what other country specifically would this not be allowed?
To start with:

Canada
United Kingdom
Australia

Those are the main countries we compare ourselves with, because of similar language and culture.
asl

Pleasanton, CA

#14 Jan 8, 2008
i wonder if the people who say she should not have children understand what it is like for a woman with a disability in this situation. why condemn her for wanting to have children, isn't that a basic human desire?
Becky

Birmingham, AL

#15 Jan 8, 2008
I don't condemn her for wanting children and I do agree that it is a basic human desire. That being said, just because something is basic and/or inate in our nature doesn't mean we should indulge.

Being a parent is SOOO much more than fulfilling a desire. What about the child's basic desire? Maybe she'd want her mommy to go on school field trips, to take her to the park, to teach her to swim...

It is unfortunate that she cannot have children and fulfill her desires. One of the things that makes a parent be a "good" parent is teaching and showing our children how to make difficult decisions with thoughtfulness and care. Making good decisions is not always easy and most of the time comes with some sacrifice.

I believe a good parent would not put a child through a life this unfortunate. Tell me, what child would want to be raised in poverty by two handicapped parents who are entirely unable to care for her? Love is not all children need!

What is MORE unfair is that these chidlren have already been stripped of some of their rights because their basic human rights were not considered.
Reality

Glen Ellyn, IL

#16 Jan 8, 2008
My stepdaughter has "mild CP" and 2 small children. The CP mostly limits her logical thinking ability. Although she loves them and would like to be a good mom, she's just not capable. The kids suffer developmental neglect because of her inability to understand and do what most parents do naturally. It's no one's fault, but a very sad situation for everyone. T
Helena

South Elgin, IL

#17 Jan 8, 2008
This must be the child welfare case from hell. My sympathies to the local
child welfare agency which has to mediate all this and try to may it come out well for the kids.
Kelly Simpson

Waynesboro, VA

#20 Jan 11, 2008
Good Luck Sabreena! I think every parent with a disability has the same rights as everyone else to be able to raise their children. There aren't enough support systems in place for people, so they can get childcare and help in their home. I wish you luck! I am the mother of two adult children that are blind and I feel like they have every right and are totally capable of raising their future children.
Gina

Muskogee, OK

#21 Jan 11, 2008
Get Real wrote:
Why can't this woman keep a 'circle of friends' around to help her care for her child? Something isn't quite being brought to light.
Thank you Get Real....and interesting that the county paid worker fell in love with her, brought a child into this world with her and continues to receive a check. People need to realize their limitations. I accept mine, you accept yours, that's the way things are meant to be. There's mischief afoot....something amiss here....I agree.
Petra

Tucson, AZ

#22 Jan 12, 2008
A friend of mine has a daughter with multiple sklerosis. The daughter has a healthy, well-adjusted son who has been raised with the help of extended family in Germany. He loves his mother and is very caring and sensitive to her needs. It has not impacted his life negatively to have a disabled mother. Overall, it enriched his life and enables him to be compassionate. A skill all to often lost in youngsters. What is wrong with having extended family contribute to the raising of a child. Just wonder.

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