Author: Katy Faust and Stacy Manning
Publisher: Post Hill Press
In a world becoming more selfish by the day and caring less for human rights by the hour, there is little wonder why there is now a need to start a movement for children’s rights. In their book Them Before Us, Faust and Manning explain what children’s rights are and how they have been violated, and how we can build a better world for them starting now.
This is a book that you need to start with the foreword and continue through the conclusion. You will miss good context otherwise, although you will still glean good information from the meat of the book. The authors did well to include some “catch up” info in each chapter for skippers! But the book is set up to build upon the chapter before.
Faust and Manning start with the basics: children have rights, and this is what they are. From there, they go through key factors that children need to grow up into healthy, functional adults and why these factors matter in each subsequent chapter. These factors cover biology, gender, and marriage. The authors also explain in detail why these foundations matter and why disrupting them, unintentionally or worse, intentionally, can cause devastating effects in the lives of children. Treating children as a second thought or commodities, and putting our desires before theirs deprives children of their natural rights. Such deprivations include divorce, exclusion from the normal family structure, donor conception, surrogacy, and adoption. Finally, each chapter and the final chapter explain how you can support children’s rights in your everyday life and how to join the movement.
Throughout the book, the authors include both detailed research and numerous stories from now-adults who were once children in want of defenders. While the research and statistics are invaluable, the stories will tear at your heart. I will warn you: some of these stories are disturbing. There’s no better way to put it. What some children have and still live through is horrific. But there are also some stories of those who have been brought through the flames, such as those children who have been adopted into any variety of loving homes. Faust and Manning do not wish to negate the love and care various families have shown to the children they adopt. Instead, they wish to show that the reason children often end up in the situation they do is because adults cared only for their own desires and neglected the rights of children.
I listened to this book over the course of a couple of days. While I cannot say that I agree with everything that the authors write, such as the greatness of the Rights of the Child Act pushed forth by the UN, she puts forth the compelling argument that adults need to step up to the plate and set aside their desires and put children and their rights first. The statistics will give you the data, but the stories will demonstrate that these are lives at stake. There are foundational needs and rights every child has. Taking them away because adults desire something else is wrong and destructive, and this pattern of destruction must end. Them Before Us is a must-read for people who care about human rights starting from conception.
Blessings to you and yours,
~Madelyn Rose Craig