The financial impact of both partners losing their jobs simultaneously can be devastating and apparently it was more than Ervin and Ana Lupoe of Southern California could bear.

This past Tuesday, it has been reported the couple and all five of their children’s lives were ended after both were fired from Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in West Los Angeles, where they worked as medical technicians. The children included an 8-year old daughter, a set of 5-year old twin girls and a set of 2-year old twin boys. A detailed report can be found in the supplemental articles below.

It appears, the couple had discussed and determined this “final solution” as a way to deal with their financial problems. As different people have different ways of coping with stress, it is both crucial and critical that we all reach out to our family and friends, when we know they are experiencing financial difficulties in these tough economic times. I’m not saying you need to lend or give them money, but don’t let the Lupoe’s decision happen on your watch. Despite the ever increasing “it’s all about me” trend, please step up and consider yourself your “brother’s and sister’s keeper”. Moreover, offer your help to extend to their children.

There is a tradition in many cultures, including many African American churches, of being Godparents to the children of your family and friends. The Godparents have an official role when a child is Baptized.

The Godparents are generally composed of both a female and male member, not necessarily from the same couple. One of the Godparents often needs to be a practicing member of the faith into which the child is being baptized and they must be sufficiently well-connected to the family of the child to be able to exercise the responsibilities they undertake in the service. When an infant is baptized he/she can’t answer the questions for him/herself, so someone needs to answer on his/her behalf. In the history of the church godparents also promised to bring the child up in the Christian faith, and took responsibility for this.

Legally, being a Godparent has no significance. In the case of both parents dying, unless a will appoints guardianship, under aged children usually becoming wards of the state in which they reside. Custody is then transferred to the closest suitable family member the state can locate. When no suitable family member can be located, the children are often shuffled into the state’s foster care system.

The caveat here is – “unless a will appoints guardianship”. As a Godparent, you can and should “step up” and require the parents to go the extra step and place you in their will as the child or children’s guardian, should tragedy ever occur. Obviously this is not a small thing. But, it could be the greatest thing you’ve ever done. The time to “Step Up” is now. Likewise, have you made preparations for your own children, should some unthinkable tragedy befall you? Would you rather your sister or brother or mother be responsible for your children’s upbringing? Then you need to say so in your will. Otherwise someone else will make this decision for you.

Supplemental Info/Articles:

Man Kills Self and Whole Family After Being Fired
The Legal Guardianship from ExpertLaw.com
ChildGuardianship.com

The Time to “Step Up” is Now
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