Judge: Foster Parents Don’t Have to Pretend the Easter Bunny and Santa Are Real

Last year, Derek and Frances Baars lost their foster children for the dumbest of reasons: They told the court they didn’t want to lie to their kids.

The Baars were both in their 30s. He was studying to be a pastor for the Reform Presbyterian Church of North America while she was a nanny with a degree in education. They were unable to have kids of their own, which is why they wanted to open their home to kids who needed loving parents — which is an incredible thing for a couple to do.

They were eventually given foster kids, two little girls ages 3 and 4, in December of 2015. They also told the Children’s Aid Society (CAS) of Hamilton, in Ontario, that they had no desire to tell their kids about Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny because they “do not wish to lie to children.”

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Let’s get this out of the way: It’s incredibly ironic for a pastor who presumably believes in miracles and Heaven and the divinity of Jesus to say he’s all about the facts. But still. An atheist foster couple could’ve said the same thing. It shouldn’t have been a big deal.

The foster agency disagreed. And soon, they took their kids away from them.

In January, their new placement support worker was increasingly angry about their failure to vouch for the hopping Easter mascot. According to their filed claim, the Baars were allegedly told it was “part of their duty as foster parents to teach the girls about the Easter Bunny because it is ostensibly part of Canadian culture.”

They assured the CAS worker that they’d buy new outfits for the girls and have a chocolate egg hunt. If that still fell short, the children could always spend Easter weekend with another foster family. Their offer was refused, Baars says, and the couple was warned their “inflexibility is a problem.” According to their lawsuit, they were given an ultimatum: “Tell the foster girls that the Easter Bunny was real or their foster home would be closed.”

Yeesh. Keep in mind they the Baars had no problem telling their kids about Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. They also had no problem letting their kids spend time with other myth-spreading adults over those holidays. They just didn’t want to go through with the charade that lent credibility to the stories of a giant bunny who hides eggs and a large man who delivers presents via your chimney if you’ve been good.

Because of their commitment to honesty, their kids were taken from their home.

The Baars eventually filed a lawsuit against the CAS saying their religious rights were violated.

And I’m thrilled to learn that a court has finally sided with the Baars.

“There is ample evidence to support the fact that the children were removed because the Baars refused to either tell or imply that the Easter Bunny was delivering chocolate to the Baars’ home,” [Superior Court Judge A.J.] Goodman wrote in a decision released Tuesday. “I am more than satisfied that the society actions interfered substantially with the Baars’ religious beliefs.”

“There is sufficient evidence to assert that the Baars did, indeed, attempt to preserve the children’s enjoyment of the holidays, even of they were not able, pursuant to their religious beliefs, to positively perpetuate the existence of the fictitious characters that are associated with those holidays,” Goodman wrote.

Excellent. The Children’s Aid Society never should have tried to micromanage what parents do. They have to make sure the kids are in competent, safe hands and then let go. It’s not their job to dictate which mythical creatures should be taken seriously.

(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Andrea for the link. Large portions of this article were published earlier)

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