We Stand on Guard

Every day, I’m glued to my computer watching livestreams, video clips, and commentary from the Trucker Convoy in Ottawa.

“Freedom! Freedom! We want freedom!” my 7-year-old chants this morning after watching a short update from The Crackpot Farmer.

Especially these last two years, we’ve all been on guard. The government has professed to be guarding our health by trying to prevent the spread of COVID-19 through lockdowns, masks, and vaccination.

In the past few weeks, it’s become clear what individuals are standing on guard for. Many continue to defend the mandates and government directives while others are actively opposing them.

I sift through information from both sides – government and truckers – all day long. Hoping that things were shifting as provinces began lifting restrictions, I was dismayed to receive a familiar notice from Children’s Aid.

Part of what took us from Ontario to Alberta was the vaccine mandate launched by the Children’s Aid in Kingston. Due to a terribly flawed system, my youngest child remains in foster care. She’s been legally eligible for adoption for two years now. However, the judge on the case refuses to move forward. That means I’m her foster parent with no legal rights.

Things were already in motion for us to move west before the mandate came into place. After humming and hawing, I had been thinking of waiting another six months. But the wording of the new policy was clear – non-compliance would result in suspension for foster parents. That would mean my 3yr old would be removed from our family and placed in another foster home in Toronto where she was apprehended. We would likely never see her again. I have no legal claim to her, though I was there less than 24hrs after she was born and haven’t been away from her since. She’s never lived with her birth mother. There was a time when they had visits, but that ended just as the pandemic began. I am the only parent she’s had. I am unvaccinated.

There are many reasons that contribute to this decision. If you’re in the same boat, you’ll understand. If you support an individual’s right to bodily autonomy, you’ll agree. If you’re on the other side, nothing I say will be satisfactory, so I won’t waste our time with an explanation.

We’re in Alberta and have met with the adoption worker assigned to our case out here. There’s paperwork that needs to be completed before our file is officially under the supervision of Calgary’s Children’ Aid. This leaves me under the umbrella of Toronto right now.

Last week they issued a policy mandating vaccination for all foster/adoptive families. Kingston had only required it of parents in families. Toronto demands it of anyone living in the home over the age of 5yrs. This means my four older children and my mother will need to be vaccinated as well as myself. Unlike Kingston, Toronto allows that, if families refuse to comply the well being of the foster child in the home will be taken into consideration. I’m trying to find a pastor in the Calgary area who will write a religious exemption for our family. If that’s rejected, I will pray and plead for an exception to be made. Surely if they consider our situation, they wouldn’t take Cora. She’s been with us her entire life. She’s the biological sibling to my two oldest children, adopted nine years ago. She’s happy, healthy, and thriving. Everything is going wonderfully except that I haven’t taken a shot that the premier of Ontario admits is useless in stopping the contraction or spread of COVID-19.

We’re all guarding something. For me it’s the freedom to make reasonable medical decisions for myself and my family. What are you standing on guard for?

O Canada! Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all of us command.

With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North, strong and free!

From far and wide,
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

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