Author: Antonio Maurice Daniels

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels is an editor and columnist at The Good Men Project. Also, Dr. Daniels is a University of Wisconsin-Madison Research Associate in Education and Co-Founder and Vice Board Chairman of The Why You Initiative [YU?]. He is a minister, theologian, higher education finance consultant, university instructor, non-profit executive, published scholar, and Earl E. Hoffmann Fellow. His cultural commentary blog, Revolutionary Paideia, can be found at https://revolutionarypaideia.com, and follow him on Twitter: @paideiarebel.

A Closer Look at the Adoption Process For Birth Mothers

Adoption

When a woman has an unplanned pregnancy, she has options, including placing her baby in an adoptive home. While an unplanned pregnancy might seem devastating for a woman, the newborn child can become a wonderful gift for someone else. In the past, adoption was a secretive process, and an unplanned pregnancy by a single woman was considered shameful, but today, most people are more open about unwed pregnancies by single women, and this means that there are more adoptive options. The adoption process involves several stages—from the initial decision to post-delivery care.

Birth Mothers Can Make More Decisions For a Child Before the Adoption

A birth mother can make more decisions about her baby, including helping to choose the adoptive parents. In some cases, she might select an open adoption that includes meeting the adoptive parents or receiving information about her child. Alternatively, a birth mother can decide to have a private adoption, or she might not want to meet the child until he or she is an adult.

Birth Mothers Can Receive Money For Medical and Living Expenses

When a woman wants to place a baby in an adoptive home, the adoptive parents can pay for her living, medical, and legal expenses. The regulations concerning these expenses differ in each geographic region, and if the birth mother changes her mind, then the adoptive parents are often not reimbursed.

Birth Mothers May Need to Contact the Biological Father

In some regions, a biological father has the right to care for his child, so the birth mother must provide information about the father before an infant is available for adoption. By having the correct information and release forms from the biological father, a woman can place her child in an adoptive home legally.

Birth Mothers Cannot Reclaim a Child Later

Protocols are in place so that a birth mother cannot reclaim a child later. The amount of time for reversing the decision to relinquish a child to adoption varies, but in most cases, it is only a few weeks. This ensures that the infant receives the best care, so it is important for a birth mother to understand this regulation.

The Birth Mother Isn’t Involved in the Child’s Upbringing

In many cases, a birth mother isn’t involved in the child’s upbringing after he or she is placed for adoption, and this includes open adoption situations. If an adoptive couple decides to divorce, change religions, or move to a new location, the birth mother cannot stop these events.

A Birth Mother Doesn’t Need to Pay an Attorney or Adoption Agency

The process of adoption is expensive, but the adoptive parent or couple is responsible for the fees. This makes it easier for a woman with an unplanned pregnancy to place her baby for adoption. The agencies and attorneys arranging the adoptions can charge thousands of dollars in fees, but the birth mother doesn’t receive payment for placing a child for adoption.

Birth Mothers Can Use Private or Public Adoption Agencies

A woman who wants to place a baby into an adoptive home can choose a public adoption or a private adoption. A public agency is an agency operated by the government; a private adoption process is planned by an attorney. Also, religious-based adoption agencies exist that will place an infant in a home where the parents are committed to a certain faith.

The Adoption Process Is More Respectful Than in the Past

Today, when a birth mother wants to place her child in an adoptive home, she is treated with respect instead of being treated as if she is doing something shameful. Birth mothers are also taken care of after the adoption process ends with professional medical care and psychological counseling. An adoption agency or attorney will make sure that the birth mother is able to continue living her life in a healthy and safe manner.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Advertisements

Christ’s Perfect Example of Love

Jesus Love on the Cross

(Photo Credit: CNN)

Christ is the highest expression and embodiment of love.

Suffering the most barbarous and mortifying sacrificial death one can ever witness or imagine—all to proffer an invitation for eternal union and fellowship with Him—Christ loved everyone even before anyone ever loved Him.

Giving those willing to believe in Him and His redemptive work on Calvary’s Cross as the final atonement for all sins, Jesus offers an everlasting love, a love that never leaves, never forsakes, never separates.  

Faithful to us when we’re unfaithful to Him, Jesus loves unconditionally because He is love.

To know love, therefore, is to know Him.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Words of Grace by Scott Patty: A Book Review

Words of Grace by Scott Patty

                                            (Photo Courtesy of LifeWay)

Written prayerfully and from the heart, Words of Grace: A 100-Day Devotional, penned by Scott Patty, pastor of Grace Community Church in Nashville, Tennessee and a graduate of Belmont University and Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, is a powerful spiritual devotional that illuminates the most essential message of the Bible: grace. Through the devotional pieces in this book, Patty strives to “open up the meaning, relevance, and application of God’s Word of grace to people” (xi). The author hopes readers “hear God’s Word, see the grace of Christ in it [the Bible], respond to him [Christ] in faith, and come to know him [Christ] personally” (xi).  

As a minister and theologian whose teaching praxis and theology centers on grace, this book is a welcome addition to my library. Each devotional piece begins with one or two scriptural verses, and then Patty starts teaching the reader critical truths and principles based on the verse(s), triggering valuable spiritual reflections and personal calls-to-action. When reading Words of Grace: A 100-Day Devotional, therefore, don’t think you’re about to pick a book that’s not about to challenge you to experience spiritual renewal and transformation. This book has the power to produce a truly new you; a new you in virtually every area of your life.

One of my favorite devotional pieces in the book is “God, the Just and Justifier,” based on Romans 3:21-26, which is arguably “the most important paragraph on salvation in the Bible” (9). This portion of the book is a beautiful (and brief, of course) explanation and reflection on how God’s grace has liberated those who believe His grace is sufficient to forgive and cleanse their sins forever. Patty writes, “As such, when Jesus died on the cross he took our sins to himself, bore the punishment of God against our sin in his body, and thereby freed us from condemnation for our sin. God sent Jesus to be our substitute. This is the definition of grace” (9).    

In short, I highly recommend that you purchase and read this book. As you read this work, you will grow deeper in your comprehension and appreciation of grace. To help facilitate a critical review of Patty’s work, B&H Publishing Group/LifeWay supplied me with a copy of Words of Grace: A 100-Day Devotional.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

How Domestic Violence is Threatening Family Life in America

Domestic Violence

Toxic relationships can affect all of us. Sometimes toxic relationships can escalate into something violent. Domestic violence is one of the most prevalent family crimes in the world. While statistics vary in different countries, every country in the world battles with high rates of this horrible blight on humanity. Based on statistics from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the prevalence of domestic violence in America is staggering.

Domestic Violence Statistics

Annually, more than 10 million Americans are victims of domestic violence. One out of every three women and one out of every four men have been victims of domestic violence in their lifetime. The numbers are even more startling when you look at the statistics per minute. On average, 20 Americans are victims of domestic violence per minute. That means in a day 28,800 Americans are battered. Out of this number, over 20,000 of them reach out to local abuse hotlines across the country every day.

In a country with so many freedoms, it is astounding to see so many people perpetrate crimes of imprisonment and abuse against others. Unfortunately, every American knows several victims of these crimes. Sadly, many people fail to see the signs until it’s too late to stop the heavy toll it can take on victims and their families.

Because of the increasing prevalence of domestic violence, it is imperative that victims understand their rights. It should always be understood that no person is entitled to a relationship with another person and no one is entitled to treat another person as a slave or property. 

The Toll of Domestic Violence

When domestic abuse enters a family, it can adversely affect everyone in the home and can become fatal for the victim(s) if not addressed expeditiously. Women are the primary victims of domestic violence and are often victims of stalking. In fact, one in seven women in America are victims of intimate partner stalking in their lifetime. If these issues arise, it is essential to seek safety to take care of your family. Even the accusation of abuse can be damaging to a family, causing families to split apart. The best advice for anyone, including the accused and accuser, is to follow the guidance of an attorney. Domestic violence attorneys understand the law and criminal justice system.

It should be noted that most abusers will try to excuse and deny their behavior. Because of this, it is vital to realize this is all part of their attempts to continue to dominate and control you. Once the safety and security of your family has been established, domestic abuse victim advocates and attorneys can work with you to ensure the necessary proceedings are handled to cut ties with the abuser safely and legally.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Happy 38th Birthday to Dr. Santresa Glass

Dr. Santresa L. Glass

(Photo courtesy of Dr. Santresa L. Glass)

Although you’re hoping that this will be the year I propose to you, don’t hold your breath; that’s never going to happen. Your endless and undesired pursuit of me is becoming, to be frank, frightening. I have repeatedly told you that I have no interest in an intimate relationship with you, but you don’t seem to get it. Some people never learn, though. You will have to settle for fantasizing about me using the limited pictures of me available.

Now that we are clear about those things, hopefully, I want this to be your best year. For the remainder of the year, invest more in yourself, in your dreams and aspirations. Before we can pour into others, we need our cups to be full—and running over—which permits us to give freely. When our cups are running over, this means we have so much to give to others—without taking from what we need. Others have benefited greatly from your giving, your kindness, your thoughtfulness. The time has come for you to show yourself gratitude. You are worth it!

Random note: I hate the Falcons! #RiseDown

So, this very discursive piece is my attempt to let you know I love you and that I’m grateful that God has gifted (and cursed—lol!) me with you for another year. Without question, it’s a blessing (and cursing—lol!) to have you as a best friend. What I love the most about you—besides your wholesomeness—is your ratchetness. And you know how much I love women with a perfect blend of class and ratchetness (i.e. Joseline Hernandez and Keyshia Cole).

Well, get ready for these songs I’m about to sing to you! It’s about to go down! A concert.

As Jack would say, “And now, a song.”

Love ya,

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Thinking Critically about Plagiarists

Plagiarism

(Photo Credit: Elllo)

After learning that students are intentionally plagiarizing my piece, “Malcolm X’s ‘The Ballot or the Bullet’: A Summary,” I immediately thought about my intellectual property rights are being violated. This, of course, arms me with the power to pursue legal actions against those guilty of intellectual property infringement (namely, copyright infringement). The work I produce at Revolutionary Paideia is copyright-protected. To use it, therefore, one must give proper credit when quoting and paraphrasing material on the site—as one must do when using any source. When they stole the content, which that’s what plagiarism is—theft, academic theft, a statement about copyright and citing content on the site was present—as it has always been.

Although I have no intention to take legal action against the students, I urge them to engage in more ethical and responsible conduct in the future. Academic dishonesty can cause you to fail an assignment, fail a course, face expulsion and legal actions, and more unfavorable consequences. Let this incidence of plagiarism serve as a true learning experience. Technology has become so sophisticated that it can help teachers to identify the sources you plagiarize. When you plagiarize, therefore, you’re wasting your time: your teachers will discover your academic theft.

Instead of attempting to deceive your teacher, devote your energies to becoming effective writers. Think of yourselves as writers. While no one is expecting you to compose breathtaking prose like James Baldwin and Ta-Nehisi Coates, we do expect you to pen your own ideas in your own voice. When you settle for plagiarism, you settle for being a cheap copy. Don’t be afraid of your own writing and your own voice. The world needs to read and hear your original thoughts; it already has an opportunity to read and hear mine.

In my over 16 years of teaching writing at the middle and high school and undergraduate and graduate levels, I have found that students who plagiarize lack confidence in themselves and their writing. Although those teaching writing, including myself and your instructor, must work harder to assist students in developing into more skilled, more confident writers, this does not excuse you from committing academic fraud. Do you really want to be a fraud? Hopefully not.

Use this period in your academic life to experiment with writing. Write without pressure. Yes, learn the fundamentals of writing, such as the stages of the writing process, grammar, mechanics, and word usage; however, don’t be afraid to complete your assignments honestly. Writing is challenging. Even Nobel Prize Laureate Toni Morrison, author of fictional classics like The Bluest Eye, Sula, and Beloved, posits that attempting to formulate the right language to express one’s thoughts is difficult. If writing is hard for Morrison, then, of course, it’s going to be hard for you.

In Malcolm X’s “The Ballot or the Bullet,” he encourages his audiences, especially his black and other ethnic minority audiences, to resist fear, including the fear of what others will think of you when you do the right and difficult thing. You had an opportunity to complete your assignment without fear but you surrendered to fear. Why? Because you believed your teacher would reject your own responses to X’s speech. If she would have rejected your responses, so what! Brother Malcolm let us know in the speech that you should stand for truth—even in the face of opposition. If you would have received a less than desirable grade, so what! At least you would have submitted your truth. Unfortunately, you submitted a lie.

Minority students, especially black students, are already expected by many white teachers (and professors) to perform poorly and in dishonorable ways. Don’t prove them right. When you use a source like my summary of X’s speech, let it fill in gaps in your knowledge but don’t submit my work or someone’s else work as your own.

By submitting a plagiarized piece to your teacher, you failed Malcolm X, your teacher, your parents, and, most importantly, yourself. You will never experience genuine success being a cheater. When you cheat, you cheat yourself.

To your teacher, I implore you to give your students another opportunity to engage with this work or another work of Malcolm X, and allow them to express themselves freely, offering them an opportunity to gain more experience and confidence employing their own voices. As educators, we need to explore more deeply the factors that lead our students to plagiarize and work tirelessly to eliminate those factors.

Let’s all commit to do better and truly honor the legacy of Malcolm X, a legacy grounded in truth and justice.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Say Goodbye to Regret by Bob Santos: A Book Review

Say Goodbye to Regret Bob Santos

(Photo Credit: Amazon)

In Say Goodbye to Regret: Discovering the Secret to a Blessed Life, Bob Santos offers readers powerful advice and inspiration to help them liberate themselves from the prison of their past and poor decisions. Emphasizing that making mistakes is a part of what makes us human, Santos advocates for people to use their past and poor decisions as tools for learning and progress. The book is a reminder of the bible’s practical relevance and significance to our everyday lives. For Santos, a stronger investment in God’s Word, reading it, studying it, and meditating on it, yields better decision-making, decision-making informed by the wisdom of the Word.

Say Goodbye to Regret: Discovering the Secret to a Blessed Life aids readers in understanding how aligning their lives, their ways and thoughts with God’s ways and thoughts empowers them to experience victory over regret. A spirit of regret seeks to incarcerate you, dominate you—inevitably enslaving you to the darkness of depression and despondency. To defeat the spirit of regret, Bob Santos recommends accessing and using God’s love to conquer this deflating spirit.

The author asks readers to answer two valuable questions: “Think back to a regretful decision. What factors led to your poor choice? How might you have done things differently?” (p. 29). Too often we fail to think critically about why we made the decisions we did—whether favorable or unfavorable decisions. Without serious reflection on the decisions we make, we will never grow, never advance to the type of humans we long to be. Critical reflection, therefore, is crucial to breaking free from the bondage of regret and the frustrating web of deception that accompanies it.

In short, I highly recommend this book. As a minister and life coach, I deeply understand the the importance of spiritual health. When a person is not well spiritually, it affects every dimension of his or her being. The spirit of regret is so enslaving that it can completely overtake an individual. This work, however, enables a person struggling with regret to comprehend how to employ the Word of God to defeat the vise-grip and stranglehold of regret. The Word of God is always the answer but one needs to know how to use it triumph over the pain regret inflicts and desires to continue to inflict.

To facilitate the penning of this honest review, Book Crash supplied a copy of this work.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison