Just when you think things couldn’t get any weirder in America, another event happens to come along, unexpectedly, from somewhere out-of-the-blue. Although this is an old story that reporter Keith Morelli, The Tampa Tribune, broke way back in April 21, 2010, still, it has reignited the contentious debate regarding family planning and the responsibility of social services agencies. The woman is an African-American, 37 years old, unemployed mother of fifteen children, and a longtime Florida resident. Her fiancé is currently serving a prison term on unspecified charges and he is the father of ten of the children. Three of the children are emancipated adults, or “aged out,” meaning they are past eighteen years old and living on their own. Angel Adams did have an $800-a-month, two-bedroom apartment that was paid for by Hillsborough Kids, but she was evicted last week. Ms. Adams, who doesn’t work, believes that her “work” is to have babies, which she says are ‘gifts’ from God. While no one can hold that sentiment against her, it doesn’t seem rational to think an All-Wise God and Creator would place the sole responsibility upon one woman to have more children than she can reasonably and adequately provide for their needs. But as she boasts, “I can have as many as I want to” what is even more outrageous is when she also asserts that somebody owes her. She goes on to say, “Somebody needs to pay for All My Children, somebody needs to be held accountable. . .” The only “ALL MY Children” that comes to mind is a soap opera that is almost as old as she is, and Angel and her family failed to make the casting director’s cut.
It is believed that Ms. Adams has at least three baby daddies out there who have fathered these children and it appears from her living situation that Child Support is not received at all or very little; and who knows, these men may be incarcerated also? The youngest is a 6 month old baby and the family now stays at the Economy Inn on East Busch Boulevard, in Tampa, FL. There is a microwave and mini refrigerator. No stove. One sink, one toilet, one shower. Everyone's barefoot, walking on a dirty, stained green carpet. The living quarters also consist of two beds where the girls sleep on one bed and the boys sleep on the other; and Angel sleeps on the floor. A relative paid for the hotel room for a week, but beyond that point, who knows what will happen. Hillsborough Kids, which manages child welfare in the county, through spokesman Elaine Olszewski, said they are working with Metropolitan Ministries to arrange a place to stay for Adams and should have one ready by next week. The children were taken away by sheriff's deputies two years ago, but were reunited with Adams six months ago, when she was set up in an apartment off North Boulevard near of Columbus Drive. A home-study report was completed to the satisfaction of everyone involved, she says.
Olszewiski goes on to say, “All the children of school age are enrolled and going to school, although Adams says they have not gone to school since she took up residence in the hotel. She says she can't get them to school. Typically, single moms in similar situations have frequent visits by case workers, who work with charities in the community and coordinate grant money to pay for services. "It's on a case-by-case basis," she says. "It's not that we would financially support them, but we are connected to community partners that provide assistance." The goal when children are removed from the home is to get them back with biological parents, she said, and caseworkers try to work to that end, she says.
"Children always are better with their biological parents," she says. If, according to Ms. Olszewiski, social workers and the make sure all the requirements of a safe and wholesome environment exist for the children, then this present situation is untenable and the court will have to intervene and a judge may have to sign an order to remove the children temporarily until a more suitable arrangement can be made. There is another issue that needs to be addressed, namely, what to do about the mother? Should Angel Adams be allowed to continue having children just because she in biologically fertile and able to do so, even when she cannot financially provide for them and sees herself on a mission from God to replenish the Earth? In China, “one” child is the limit and any woman having more than that number is forcibly sterilized by officials of the government. Of course in China’s case, they have a population of nearly 2 billion people, too.
So, what should be the role of the local social service agencies, federal government, community outreach sources, churches and the taxpayers in providing assistance and public resources without any strings attached? The country was shocked a couple of years ago when Nadya “Octomom” Suleiman had all those multiple births from fertility treatments but in her case she became sort of a celebrity and was the flavor-of-the-week; at least for awhile. Now that Nadya has almost faded from memory Angel has risen to take her place in the talk around the water cooler. It is doubtful that Ms. Adams will or has received the attention that Nadya has because with her it was more surprise and fascination and a slight resemblance to actress Angela Jolie, of whom she was a fan, only helped feed the mystique. In Ms. Adams case it just may well be the old racial stereotype of a promiscuous or sexually-active, Black welfare mom having all these babies with different men and the tab is being paid on the taxpayer’s [mainly White] dime.
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December 2, 2011
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