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26

HARE-BRAINED DECISION

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Christian Foster Parents Lose Kids Over Santa Claus And Easter Bunny, But Ontario Court Disagrees

A mother writes – When our daughter, Genevieve, was nine, she loved duct tape. She was also at the age when she questioned the existence of the tooth fairy. When she lost another tooth, she thought she’d be a smarty-pants and catch the fairy. That night, my husband, Matt, and I entered her room. To our surprise, we found reams of duct tape fastening her tooth to her hand. Unable to remove it, we left money under her pillow, knowing we’d have to come up with an explanation. The answer came to me: I’d have the tooth fairy write her a letter. Since she’d recognize Matt’s handwriting and mine, I asked a co-worker to write it. Little did I realize what a great letter my co-worker would write. The letter said that the tooth fairy was giving Genevieve the benefit of the doubt; since she must have “accidentally” wrapped her tooth in tape, and the fairy left $2 as a “token of goodwill.” But the tooth fairy went on to say, in no uncertain terms, that if she did not get the missing tooth by Friday, the Easter Bunny – the tooth fairy’s associate, would be paying Genevieve a visit. The next night Matt and I left the letter under Genevieve’s pillow, and in the morning, we realized what we had done. Not only did she think the tooth fairy was real, but now she also believed the Easter Bunny was out to get her.  Derek and Frances Baars grew up in the Reformed Presbyterian Church (RPC), the most ultra conservative of the many Reformed and Presbyterian denominations in existence throughout the world. And when the Baars applied for and were approved to be foster parents (the couple are unable to have children of their own) they knew there would most likely be instances where their moral values did not line up with those of the Children’s Aid Services (CAS), which is a government-approved secular organization that places kids with same-sex parents and supports gender-transition in youth.  But they never anticipated what it would be that happened back in the spring of 2016:

One of the things that sets the RPC apart from many other religious groups is that they do not celebrate either the Christmas or Easter holidays, believing both to be of pagan origin.  And especially, they do not  promote the idea of a Santa Claus or an Easter Bunny.  (All of which the Baars were very up-front about with the CAS in the application-interview process.)  But when two little sisters (age three and four) were placed in their care (from a mother who grew up with all  the secular traditions of the Easter and Christmas season), Derek and Frances decided they would, out of respect for that culture, provide as much of an Easter and Christmas as they possibly could, minus the two main secular characters – of which they wouldn’t say a word regarding their existence or non-existence, just not mentioning them at all.  And so for Easter – the girls would get pretty spring outfits and have a basket-full of sweet treats, but no Peter Rabbit.  And for Christmas -  the girls would have a lighted tree and wrapped presents, but no Saint Nick.  The Baars even made sure the mother was in agreement with their approach, and she gave her full approval, expressing as well her appreciation for the fine care being given.  Then, in the spring of 2016, based upon the Baars’ file, a CAS official showed up to do a “holiday check”.   She was disturbed that there weren’t any pictures of the children with Santa Claus and then demanded that the girls be told the Easter Bunny was real.  The Baars informed the worker of all they had done Christmas-wise and Easter-wise, but refused to lie to the kids.  Then the worker, after consulting with the local CAS powers-to-be, had the two little sisters immediately removed from the Baars’ care and informed them there would be no more foster children coming their way.  The Baars really wanted to provide a home for foster children and offered to not have the two girls during the week of Easter or Christmas, but were refused.  Then they offered to have children from different cultures for whom Easter and Christmas were not an issue, but they were refused.  Finally, they offered to take infants too young for this to be any problem, but they were refused.  And a parting shot was added – that people like them, anti-Santa Claus and anti-Easter Bunny, were probably also anti-gay.

All this meant, with their file red-flagged, the Baars would never be able to adopt.  So they did the only thing they could, taking the CAS to court.  It took two years and thousands of dollars, but in a 62-page ruling, the Ontario judge sided with the couple and lambasted the CAS for its actions.  He ordered that the Baars’ file be cleared of anything that would prevent them from fostering and/or adopting children.  The Baars, who could easily have sued for defamation of character, said all they ever wanted was to protect Christian couples like themselves from being discriminated against as foster parents because of their religious beliefs.

The bottom line?  Finally, in today’s liberal Ontario, a government official with some common sense.