Children are not a commodity. They do not exist for the fulfillment of adults.

Second only to their right to life, children have a natural right to a relationship with both of their biological parents whenever possible. Does this truth resonate with you? If so, you are in good company. The United Nations, where consensus is as rare as unicorns, enshrined this childhood reality in their Convention on the Rights of the Child—the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history.  

Here are the pertinent articles in surprisingly understandable language. Apparently they wanted to communicate these fundamental rights to everyone, not just lawyers. 

Article 7

1. The child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right from birth to a name, the right to acquire a nationality and, as far as possible, the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents…

Article 8

1. States Parties undertake to respect the right of the child to preserve his or her identity, including nationality, name and family relations as recognized by law without unlawful interference…

Article 9

1. States Parties shall ensure that a child shall not be separated from his or her parents against their will, except when competent authorities subject to judicial review determine, in accordance with applicable law and procedures, that such separation is necessary for the best interests of the child…

3. States Parties shall respect the right of the child who is separated from one or both parents to maintain personal relations and direct contact with both parents on a regular basis, except if it is contrary to the child’s best interests.

Article 10

2. A child whose parents reside in different States shall have the right to maintain on a regular basis, save in exceptional circumstances personal relations and direct contacts with both parents…

Article 18

1. States Parties shall use their best efforts to ensure recognition of the principle that both parents have common responsibilities for the upbringing and development of the child…

What does this global document tell us about chidlren? That they are not a commodity.  They do not exist for the fulfillment of adults.   

Children are not items to be cut and pasted into just any romantic adult arrangement. Rather, children are vulnerable individuals who deserve to have their inherent rights respected and protected by the only people in society powerful enough to do so – adults. So much of a child’s successful launch into adulthood depends on whether or not the foundational right to both of their parents is respected. That requires that adults order their lives around the rights of children.  

Fewer adults than ever are willing to do that.  Today only 46% of children in the US reach adulthood living with both their mother and father.  The majority of our children will experience some sort of parental fragmentation, or will never have known one of their parents at all. 

At Them Before Us, we recognize that children face all manner of familial loss. We encourage and support adults who embrace adversity for the sake of children in need whether that comes in the form of adoption, fostering or shouldering the burden of single parenthood.  The world needs more adults like these who are willing to accept hardship for the sake of lightening the load of hurting children.  We also acknowledging that each of these scenarios involve loss for children that cannot be undone. We strongly oppose the ever-increasing tendency to ignore children’s rights in favor of adult desires, especially through the normalization and promotion of family structures and technological advancements that require a child to lose a mother or father.

Children are at the mercy of adult decision-making in a world that increasingly believes adult happiness and personal fulfillment is the highest pursuit. Whether it’s forcing an unwanted child out of existence through abortion, or manufacturing a child into existence through reproductive technologies, children are increasingly viewed as objects to fulfil adult desires. Just as it is a profound injustice to deny a child’s right to life, it’s also an injustice to intentionally sever the relationship with a child’s mother or father.  

It is recognized worldwide, by 195 countries, that adult desires should take a back seat to children’s rights.  Our mission is to make Them Before Us more than just the name of our movement.  We want to make Them Before Us a reality for all children.  We want to empower adults to do the grown-up thing and make sacrifices so that children don’t have to.

Check out our new book!

This book pairs gold-standard research with hundreds of stories from children, many of which have never been told before.

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