Best interest.

Best interest.

Often we debate what’s in the best of a child. Number of activities? Dinner routines? Discipline methods?

But rarely do we debate who is in the best interest of the child?

That agonizing question is saved for divorces and foster care.

Here, a judge, a stranger to the child, somehow has to determine who should care for and raise her.

And I can’t imagine the weight of that question.

In foster care, the judge has to consider the biological parent, who despite his faults, is the one adult this child has known all her life long. The one adult her heart is hard-wired to love. Biological bonds don’t break easily or quickly. Nor should they.

Maybe a distant relative raises her hand as well. There’s no bond here. No history. But there’s blood and belonging.

Or the foster parent. Ready and willing to adopt this child. Knowing her inside and out after walking countless hard roads together. Love has grown strong despite all circumstances.

It comes down to apples to oranges. Nothing competes with having the same nose. And nothing compares to attachment.

Which is why until proven otherwise, mom and dad are in the very best interest of the child.

But if or when they are no longer an option, who wins?

I don’t envy the judge who chooses. Or the child.