24 January, 2010

so awful

In September, Kerry Robertson wasn't allowed to get married to her boyfriend because she's intellectually disabled.

She and her boyfriend, who are Scottish, were told that their baby would be taken away when it was born. When they were told this in November, they went to Ireland in the hopes of being able to keep the baby. Last week, four days after the baby was born, Irish social workers came to the hospital and took the baby away. For the time being, the baby's parents are allowed to see him for two hours a day, until a more final decision is made about whether they can raise the baby or not.

“I know what marriage is. It is when two folks want to spend the rest of their lives together. I love Mark and I want to get married to him.”

"When the Irish social workers said I had to give the baby to them, I felt sick...I didn’t want to hand him over and I started crying because I couldn’t believe what they were saying. I thought I had misunderstood."

"I’ve told the social workers I don’t want him to have bottled milk or a dummy. I feel breastfeeding is so important and at least then he is still having some of me."

They seem to have a supportive family and friends, and besides, the baby has two parents. It's not like Robertson would be raising him all by herself--and even if she was, no one has actually shown that she's irresponsible or lacks the planning or care skills you would need to raise a baby. The way her boyfriend talks about it, it sounds like she organized and kept track of things in terms of going to the doctor while she was pregnant, which isn't something everyone can do. It seems like social services is overfocusing on her diagnosis and not looking at how her disability actually affects her.

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