Message board: Share your thoughts on the Globe series Barbara's StoryIn Barbara's Story, Globe reporter Patricia Wen and photographer Suzanne Kreiter told the story of Barbara Paul, a Boston-area woman forced to relinquish parental rights to her two sons after the state Department of Social Services determined she was an unfit mother. Share your reactions to the series and your thoughts on Paul's situation. Read the series
It seems to me that the state failed this family. Instead of getting Barbara the help she needed, they took her children away from her. I don't understand how the state could hire a 22 year old to deal with parenting issues, something she obviously knows nothing about. That social worker had no idea how to deal with Barbara's issues or help her get the help she needed. She basically washed her hands of her and took her children away.
Geri, New Bedford
Thank you for telling this story. As sad as it is, it is also filled with hope. Good luck to the boys and to their new parents as they become a family. Hopefully Barbara will continue to get the help she needs to deal with the pains of her past and lead a more meaningful productive life. As inefficient as the State agencies are accused of being, here is a story that seems to be working out for the best. So much of the credit goes to Anne and Jim for their persistance. What a wonderful thing they have chosen to do.
As tragic as this story is for the two boys, I feel the state made the right decision. It is understandble that they would not choose to be separated from their mother but based on the description of the 'home' she provided for these two, there was no other choice. In the long run these boys will be better served by growing up in a healthly environment. If the boys were the most important thing in Barbara's life she should have taken more responsibility to keep a steady job. Over sleeping and pain from heal spurs are not good excuses for not showing up to a job when the most important thing in your life is on the line.
Joseph Scott, South Boston
This was a very moving story, about a very common occurrance. As a foster parent, I see this type of thing every day. Adopting parents go through terrible red tape, when they are just trying to do good. Bio-parents go through months and years of trying to meet plans and objectives that seem to be forced on them by an uncaring state govt. In the middle are kids, being pulled in many directions, never feeling that they belong anywhere... and foster parents trying to hold it all together while overworked social workers (often with little experience) try to put together a future that can show a little light. It looks like this one story is working out.. but I definitely recommend keeping the children in therapy to deal with their past.. because its all going to come back up again as time goes by. Mediation is a great step that this state is taking, trying to take the care of children out of the adversarial atmosphere of the courts.
Shawn, Dracut, MA
Neglect is a serious issue. Children should not be raised in homes where it is unsanitary. No matter how poor you are, there is no excuse for not putting garbage in a pail, and taking it out of the house at least once a week. Even if you can't afford dish soap, at the very least you can rinse the plates. It wouldn't really be clean, but at least mold wouldn't grow on them. I feel for Barbara, because she doesn't have the tools to raise children properly. She obviously loves her sons, and that's what makes it tough. However, children need to be raised in a safe, clean environment. I wish these two boys all the best.
This was a sad situation that luckily had a happy ending. You can't help but wish that there was more that could have been done to help Barbara keep her kids. This story could have very easily ended very differently with those boys being separated for adoption or worse living in foster care until they were 18. Thankfully they are still able to keep in contact with their birth mother and they have adoptive parents who are saints.
It seems that the article makes the State to be the enemy but it was really the mother who was her own worse enemy. I am also still confused why she can not work.
Steve, Boston, MA
I was disappointed that the Globe did take a more even handed approach with regards to the Department of Social Services. Social Workers dedicate their lives to helping the struggling children and families of this state. The reporter's approach was too dismissive of the tremendous effort and commitment social workers put into their jobs. The Globe should have made a better effort to view this story from ALL angles, and not just use a spin that would sell more papers.
I feel sorry for the mother and the boys. She needs alot of constant attention. But the system is the system. At this point the boys need stability and she is unable to give it. They are old enough so that they will never forget their birth mother. The number of years they will be with new stable parents is vital to them so that perhaps they will be able to create better lives for themselves. The mother needs to put the focus on herself and pull herself out of the hole she is in. If she does that, perhaps she can be of use to her sons in the future.
I cried for everyone involved in this bittersweet story. I hope that Babara Paul is able to live the rest of her life knowing that she did all that she could by providing a foundation of love for her boys.
Julie, North Reading