Florida Gets It

Florida takes a lot of heat online.  I’ve contributed to it myself.  Last week, a cold snap had Florida iguanas falling out of trees and Floridians selling the iguana meat on Craigslist.

It seems like there is a daily stream of news articles referring to a “Florida Man” who gets into all sorts of strange situations.   Consider the following…

Florida Man Drives Ferrari Full Speed Into the Ocean

Florida Man & Woman Ran Over While Lying In Road Looking at Eclipse

Maybe it’s the sun.  Maybe it’s the saltwater.  I think it’s more of what my friend, Steve Sjogren, calls Vacation Brain.  Steve lived in Tallahassee for years and used to tell me, “You know how you just don’t think about stuff when you’re on vacation?  The entire sate of Florida acts like it’s on vacation all the time.”

Nevertheless, Florida is getting something right.

There are already provisions of $5,000 for any State employee who adopts and another $5,000 if the child is diagnosed with special needs.  New legislation recently passed in the Florida House would extend that to veterans and members of the military.  This means a military family that adopts a special needs child will receive $10,000 from the state of Florida.

I can almost hear some protesting already.  Is this fair?  Why should adoption be subsidized? Who is subsidizing peoples’ biological children?   I think it’s a very different thing and here is why.

It removes a substantial burden from the State.

In many of these cases – especially the special needs cases – if the child is not adopted, it will remain a ward of the state.  The state will pay for the child’s housing, food, and care for 18 years, and then pay the penalty that comes from a child having grown up without a permanent family.   Anyone who works with kids who age out of foster care knows that many of them struggle significantly without the support system that other kids have.

The $10,000 grant is a drop in the bucket compared to what that adoptive family will pay over the life of that child – money the state would have to pay if the child were not adopted.

Adoption involves costs not covered by medical insurance.

In a private adoption situation, adoptive parents generally pay for the medical care of the expectant mother.  In some cases, she has state coverage, but usually the adoptive parents end up paying significantly out of pocket and they are willing to do so….but were this a biological child, their private health insurance would pay for a large part of the bill.

Yes, childbirth is expensive, but many people having biological children are not paying for it in a lump some or at all.  I understand there are exceptions to this, but they’re exceptions, not the rule.  With adoption, it’s the rule.

Strong families are the building blocks of a strong society.

Everyone is important in our society.  There are no throw away people.  The elderly, the young, the single, the married – they all make up a rich tapestry and we need them all.  That said, families play a unique role in that they set up the more permanent households.

Families anchor a society by living in the same home, more often building long term relationships in civic and church communities, and providing a picture of long term love and commitment that can exist in other arrangements but is often missing or less obvious.

Just as young people often supply the energy and the elderly provide the wisdom, families in a community point to stability, and in today, we need it more than ever.

Well done, Florida men and women.  This is a great idea.

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Don’t miss my weekly podcast, The Third Cup of Coffee. Pour a cup of coffee and take 20 minutes for a quick and encouraging Bible study!

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