CHARLESTON, W.Va. — In the months after a West Virginia court permanently took away their right to parent their daughters this past April, Jackie Snodgrass and her husband were left in a quiet house. The kids’ rooms remained untouched. The same dolls and stuffed animals were arranged on their younger daughter’s bed. The same clothes in the closets, becoming outgrown. The same photos on the walls, outdated.
The court had denied a final visit — despite the children continually saying they missed their mother — so the parents never got to say goodbye to them in person. Snodgrass worried about them constantly, especially her older daughter, who has diabetes. An app pinged her intermittently with updates on her child’s blood sugar. Occasionally, it would dip too low or spike too high.
Twenty-five years ago, Congress passed a law aimed at speeding up adoptions of children languishing in foster care. In the process, it destroyed hundreds of thousands of families through the termination of parental rights.