Pro Life

Elect This!

With today’s midterm elections, here are some random election thoughts:

  • As I’ve previously noted, the worst part of living in a cable-free household is the lack of sports on TV.  However, the best part is zero campaign ads.  Seriously, the last one I saw was on YouTube, and I only watched that for blog material.
  • You remember how ticked off you were at the partisan gridlock and petty maneuvering that shut down the government?  Remember how you said at the next election you were going to vote out all of the incumbents?  Are you going to stick with that, or vote for the incumbent (who happens to represent your party)?  Um-hmm.  I thought so.  Next time, just shut it and realize that you continue to play a part in keeping Congress ineffective.
  • A Facebook friend shared a picture of a political mailer she received from a candidate.  This candidate touted his strong Catholic faith and reminded you that a vote for him is a Pro-Life vote.  In theory, no big deal.  Nebraska is a conservative state that values religion, and as any politico can tell you, “pro-life” is the highest level of endorsement a Nebraska politician can hope to achieve, ahead of a personal recommendation from legendary football coach Tom Osborne.  But here’s the kicker:  this candidate is not running for Congress, Senate, or the state legislature.  He’s not running for governor, mayor, or the University Board of Regents (we’ll get to that race next).  This candidate is running for the board of the Omaha Public Power District – the electric utility in Omaha.  I don’t follow a lot of the issues facing the OPPD board, but I’m guessing none of them deal with abortion or moral issues where one’s faith would be a deciding factor.  To base a vote on a single issue that is so far outside the jurisdiction of the office is asinine.  As another friend commented:  ” I personally have always felt that I could never turn off my electricity, but others should have the choice to do so if they wanted to.

    Seriously. Do it.

  • In a similar vein, the race for the University of Nebraska Board of Regents has also been impacted by issues that are way outside of the jurisdiction of the office.  Allegedly, after Nebraska football coach Bo Pelini lost his mind during last year’s home loss to Iowa, Lincoln businessman (and former Husker) Steve Glenn called the regent representing him and demanded that Pelini be fired.  When informed that the Board of Regents did not have the authority to fire football coaches, Glenn allegedly told incumbent Rob Schafer that he would “run for your position“.  Since then, mailings have come out saying that Glenn wants Pelini fired – thereby implying that if you support the coach (and hey, they’re 8-1 right now), you had better vote for the incumbent.  Even if Glenn is only running because he wants Pelini ousted (something I’m not sure I believe) I resent dragging sports into the political mud.  Unfortunately, Pelini is already enough of a polarizing figure in this state without making him an unwilling pawn in a race within the confines of the 402 area code.
  • One other amusing side note from this Board of Regents race:  during the primary, Glenn ran a radio ad featuring Larry the Cable Guy talking him up.  (Both Glenn and Larry’s alter ego Dan Whitney are from Pawnee City, Nebraska).  In the ad, Larry mentions something to the effect that “anything that comes out of Pawnee City has got to be good.”.  It turns out that Glenn’s opponent (incumbent Rob Schafer) is also from Pawnee City.  Whoops, that’s not the best way to git ‘er done.
  • Nebraskans will vote on a proposal to raise the minimum wage.  I’m not going to tell you how to vote, as there are definite economic impacts either way.  But when I hear about efforts to raise the minimum wage, I think of an early episode of the documentary series 30 Days, where host Morgan Spurlock and his fiancée spent 30 days trying to live on minimum wage.  They did it, but it looked absolutely miserable.  I wonder if the most vocal opponents of raising the wage have any exposure to what life is like at $7.25 an hour.
  • I’ll close with a reminder of my favorite reason why you should vote today:  it gives you the unalienable right to bitch about politics, politicians, and partisan bull for the next two years.  Plus, many polling places will give you an “I Voted Today” sticker.

Some Children Left Behind

In recognition of National Adoption Day, I’d like to share some sobering numbers about my beloved home state of Nebraska:

In 2010 in the state of Nebraska:

  • 4,301 children were in foster care.
  • 1,033 of those children were waiting for placement with a permanent family.
  • 275 children turned 18 and aged out of the foster care system without a permanent family (28,000 nationally).

All of this in a state that claims to be “The Good Life”.

Definitely, those numbers are quite sad.  But I’d like to draw your attention to that last bullet about the 275 kids who aged out of the system.  Even though it is the smallest number, it should be the most depressing.

These 275 kids are now essentially alone in the world, without the family support structure that most of us take for granted.  Think about it:  Where are these kids going to go next week for Thanksgiving, while we enjoy time together with our families?  Who will celebrate Christmas with them?  Who walks them down the aisle at their wedding?  When they have good news, need support, or advice on life, who do they call or lean on?

Yes, by government standards, they are 18 year-old men and women, and therefore should be able to survive just fine in the world.  However, it has been shown that kids who age out of the foster care system have a greater risk of homelessness, substance abuse, and crime than their peers who have some sort of family structure.

We can, and should do better.

Obviously, the biggest thing that can be done is to look into becoming a foster or adoptive parent – especially for older children, sibling groups, and minorities.  You can learn more on the Nebraska Health & Human Services website:

Look – I am not suggesting that everyone who reads this should go out and become a foster parent or adopt a child.  Adoption and foster parenting are not for everyone.  The adoption process can be lengthy, costly, and frustrating in several areas.  Others have preconceived notions and misplaced fears over how foster and adopted kids will connect with their family.  And many think that they are not a “good enough” parent to foster or adopt (but strangely, it’s okay for these “inferior” parents to screw up their biological children).

Fortunately, the good folks at the Ad Council have a humorous* response for you:

*Humorous, and also very correct.  As an adoptive parent, I can assure that even though I can bake a good batch of cookies, I am miles from being a perfect parent, but my two beautiful children don’t seem to mind.

Adoption may not be for everyone.  But, there are many ways that we can all help:

  • In addition to (or instead of) financial contributions, many of the above organizations will gladly accept donations of time, talents, and other goods and services.  For the kids who at risk for aging out of the foster care system, mentoring programs (such as Teammates) can make a huge difference.  Call and ask how you can help – even if it is an hour a month.
  • Call or email your U.S. Congressman and Senators and ask them to support and/or co-sponsor H.R. 4373 and S.3616,an extension of the adoption tax credit, which is set to expire at the end of 2012.  This important tax credit makes adopt more affordable for many worthy families.  Click here for more info about the expiration of these important credits.
  • Ask your employer to add adoption benefits to their benefits package (or expand what they already have).  Adoption benefits help to level the playing field between biological and adoptive parents.  Common benefits include paid time off and stipends to help defray adoption expenses.  Adoption benefits are a win-win for companies (relatively low-cost to implement, but are great for P.R. and recruiting) as well as employees (very family friendly).
  • If you support any pro-life groups, make sure they are including support for adoption in their agenda.  Because while reducing/limiting/ending abortion is a noble goal, birth mothers will still need options for unplanned pregnancies.  The pro-life groups (especially here in Nebraska) carry a lot of political clout, so they need to leverage some of their might to make adoption more accessible and affordable.

If you have questions about adoption (the process, the costs, etc) and do not know where to turn for answers, feel free to shoot me an email (  I don’t have all the answers, but I’m willing to share our experiences and advice, as well as pay back the grear information we received when we were first starting out.

%d bloggers like this: