Too many kids. Too little time. A dilemma faced by many parents, especially social justice activists.
Until recently, time-strapped parents were forced to balance their social justice activism with raising their children.
But that changed a year ago when child auction sites started popping up online, giving parents a convenient, low cost, hassle-free way to unload their children.
“We love our children,” said Margaret Hunter. “But we love our activism more.”
That’s when Hunter and her husband decided to auction off their two children.
“We thought it would be difficult,” said Hunter. “But it was so simple. And we sold both our children within two days.”
According to Statistics Canada, the number of parents auctioning off their children has risen 40 per cent in the last six months.
Before Rodger Brown auctioned off his three-year-old son, he was always scrambling to make suitable daycare arrangements so he could organize rallies, demonstrations and marches.
“It was very stressful,” said Brown.
“Then a friend told me about online child auction sites and my problems were solved. Now I’ve got all the time in the world for activism, without the hassle of child rearing.”
Renowned psychotherapist Carey Rapson has counseled many couples and single parents trying to balance work, social justice activism and raising children.
“They come into my office worn out, depressed and in tears,” said Rapson.
“They’ve reached the end of their rope. Then I ask them to consider auctioning off their children and there’s this immediate sense of relief. It’s a great weight off their shoulders.”
But not every story has a happy ending.
When Ron and Holly Miller discovered that the couple that bought their daughter had signed her up in the Young Conservatives of Canada, they were devastated.
“If we’d known they were going to do that we would never have sold her off,” said the Millers, who recently hired a lawyer to try and get their daughter back.
“They seemed like good people when we met them. But I guess you never really know.”
And that’s the biggest downside to child auction websites. You never really know who you’re selling your child to.
“Background checks are good,” said Darrel Beck, a lawyer specializing in family law. “But conservatives are very good at concealing their true intentions.”
In spite of the risks, most parents are willing to give it a try. And most never regret their decision.
Nor do their children.
When Kris Brahney’s parents decided to get involved in social justice work, he thought it was just a phase they were going through.
“But then they told me they were dedicating their lives to it,” said the 14-year-old Brahney.
“That was just too much for me to handle. So I begged them to auction me off. That was the best thing that ever happened.”
Amber McMullan couldn’t wait to find a new family either.
“My (birth) parents wouldn’t let me wear anything but black clothing,” said McMullan, now living with her new family since January.
“And then they grounded me for a month after they found a copy of Fortune magazine I’d hidden underneath my bed.”
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