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Posts Tagged ‘abandonment’

       Baby don’t cry…it is not your fault.  When you are old enough to know your story…know that it is not your fault.  It has happened for generations…people abandon their children.   It is wrong, but they do it for many reasons…all sad reasons, all heartbreaking…but, what it comes down to is a lacking.

        A lacking of something that is required to parent you little one.  Some parents are lacking money, some are lacking appropriate housing or clothing, some are lacking parenting skills.  Even worse, some are lacking a very basic, important connection…a bonding of parent to child; it is called love.  This is not normal.  This is not your fault.  The lacking is theirs and theirs alone; don’t let it define you.  Their failure to provide what you need does not wipe away your right to have those things that children need to grow and be whole.   You deserve to have what every child should have…love and acceptance. 

       There are many who would adopt you; love you and give you everything you need to be successful in life.  It is sad that your birth parents could not for whatever reason of lacking, be the people to give you what you need.  However, when you are able to read and understand it all…hopefully, you will have been adopted and cared for appropriately.  I hope that you received that love; and, now know that you are part of a family who wanted you, and needed you to be part of them.  The parts of you that feel empty or unfulfilled, because of the unknowns about your birth family, probably will never be fully satisfied.  Let it be enough to know that the circumstances that lead to your being abandonned are not a statement of anything that was wrong with you as a person.

         A small newborn child was abandoned in Charlotte, North Carolina in the last few days.  Children are being abandoned all around the world.  There are many who would love these children were they to enter into the foster/adoptive legal system in the right kind of way.  Why are parents dumping their children?

        When you are able to read this, or some other piece that addresses such issues…and  you have learned about your abandonment; don’t try to seek further information.  It will only hurt you more.  There are no answers that will satisfy your heart’s desire to be loved and accepted by the people who gave you up.  For each answer that is given to justify such actions will just trigger another “what if you had done this or that…could you have kept me then” question.  It is a never ending circle of emotional hurt.   

        It is not a reflection upon you…babies and children are easy to love.  You have done nothing wrong to be rejected…it is a fault inside of that person that by some miracle was able to give you life.  Unfortunately, abortion (infant death) is an option in today’s world..so, choosing life was a very positive thing.   Maybe that is the most that they had to give you; LIFE, it IS an important gift. 

       Your true source of life comes from God above.  You are here in this world because he values you…you are here for a purpose.  Discover what your purpose is and live it to the fullest…do not be destroyed by feelings of rejection or inferority.  You are worthy of all the best that life has to give you.   Your beginnings do not have to set a  negative standard for the rest of your life.  Take your gift and all that you have been able to receive and enjoy since the time of your birth and make something of yourself.  Be a giver, be an encourager…be the embodiement of what your birth parents lacked.  Be a giver and a receiver of Love.  Do you think that the impact of your birth can make a positive difference in the world?   I do, every life has value to offer the world.  Reader, do you know someone who has been rejected or abandoned…were they able to turn their difficult beginnings into a positive, productive life?

      

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        There is something to be said for being a part of the middle class…without any of  the demands expected of the rich and famous.  Have you ever stopped to think about what your life would be like if you were one of those celebrity names in the tabloids?  Every family has issues in their family tree with some relative or another. 

        Think about it…what if cousin Ralph committed a crime and was photographed for a magazine, making sure to give an interview which made a connection between his name and your’s in the article; or, your sister decided to become a singer (and she howled like your neighbor’s hunting dog) but still, she badgered your professional contacts to try to get an audition; or say, your Grandma decided to go on a talk show and talk about her sex life before she married Grandpa?  Maybe your father wants to write a best seller that very closely resembles your life pre-celeb days? Or a relative goes on a large shopping spree that they can’t possibly afford to pay for on their own?   How would you handle it?

         In today’s world, with everyone having access to so much digital information…if you are a celebrity, and the media decides to do a little digging…they are sure to find some family member, friend from the past, or ex-boyfriend/girlfriend who is more than ready, willing and able to spill the beans for a little $$$.  What’s more…you don’t even have to wait for the media to find those who are willing to spill the beans for a fee…your relatives can go viral just by publishing a blog.

          You don’t have to look far to see examples of what I am talking about.  After all, there are painful family issues that allegedly haven’t been able to be resolved in private, such as families like the Lohans who make the news regularily, with custody battles, blog posts, or writting letters to media outlets criticizing one another; rehashing the past and the present family problems.  These issues are deeply personal and have the ability to cause life long discord with in a family unit.  

           Then you have the media’s flavor of the month, the Spears family.  Either they focus on the latest exploits of Brit, Jamie Lynn, her mother, father or ex-husbands and boyfriends or they hint at some kind of rumor that vaguely resembles a sliver of truth and wait to see the fireworks.  You can understand the potential added damage done to an individual when there is intensive media scrutiny focussed on them. There is enough family drama in most families, without having to create an intense watch and see environment.

           What about family members who stay in the background until they have shopped around the possibility of writing a tell all book…like Oprah’s father, allegedly considered doing?  Or a little less reclusive personality, such as…Madonna’s brother, Christopher Ciccone who actually did write a book recently, detailing his complicated relationship with his sister.  Remember many years ago, the explosive book called Mommy Dearest, written by Joan Crawford’s daughter about her very famous mother?

           We’ve all seen that the tabloids will exploit a family member’s run- in with the law.  Or, maybe a business owner or individual who slaps a lawsuit on a family member of a celeb, knowing that it will get settled because of the negative PR.   A recent example of a legal situation was when Hulk Hogan’s son was sent to jail for allegedly being the driver in an accident that seriously injured one of his friends.  All the while, his family was going through a seperation/divorce and the media attention only added to their personal difficulties.  This fed the flames of many articles and celebrity gossip shows for many weeks.

            There is never a lack of divorce related stories or custody issues either.  We have come to know more about certain star crossed couples, and their problems, than we need to know; think of Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards, or Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin, Pamela Anderson and any of her exes.  In these cases, many times the courts are often at fault for allowing legal records to become released to the public through the media; that is why you occasionally hear of circumstances where divorcing couples use a private mediator to settle their marriage issues.  Sometimes it is through individuals or their family members that we learn what is often harmful to the well-being of the couples or their children.  I am sure in the long run they come to regret the fact that so much private information has become public knowledge. 

            What about those situations where family members are estranged from one another and they use the media to communicate with each other about family issues.  I think about in that case, Angelina Jolie and her father.  Or, maybe Kellie Pickler who had a difficult relationship with her estranged birth mother.   Or Jennifer Anniston and her mother who allegedly became estranged, from one another, over too much personal information being given out. 

           Some celebrities don’t publically acknowledge their family problems…others confront them head on.  Which way is most effective for them, sort of depends on why the violations take place in the first place.  Some celebs feel that they must go public and defend themselves and others…keep a quiet counsel and deal with things privately.  It is not easy either way.  The power of criticism is strong…and you can’t please everyone, no matter what action a celebrity chooses to employ to deal with the fallout. 

           Regardless of celebrity status…it is helpful to remember that those people are human beings with feelings too.  They have relationships that can be damaged, and, they are often afforded little privacy as it is.  You would think that their family members would have a little bit of loyalty and a desire to keep some issues private; and, not turn their private relationships into some sort of pay- per- view.  But often, these situations aren’t JUST about money.  Sometimes, the interviews and books are written out of more complex issues; such as, unresolved issues involving trust, envy, control, anger, betrayal, neglect, abandonment or favoritism.  So when you see one of these interviews or books; remember that it might be more about getting even, than it is about getting rich!

           Certainly, the people who publish the reports, interviews, books, and celeb gossip programs aren’t going to keep potentially scandulous information to themselves; not when it is their bread and butter.  So think about that, the next time you purchase one of the tabloids, weekly celeb mags, tune in to the gossip programs, or purchase the latest personal memoir about someone famous; you are enabling them to sell out their own family members.  What if your friends or relatives did that to you?  What kind of tales could they tell about you to allow them to make money off from you or your past?

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        Another family has made the news by dropping off their children, 9 of them from ages 1 to 17 at a hospital in Nebraska.  It is in my mind, in cases of abandonment, almost as if the children are treated like a litter of unwanted puppies.  In mid July, Nebraska made its own news headlines by instituting a “safe haven law”. 

         Most states in the US have some sort of a safe haven law which is designed to protect children who are either unwanted; or, in unsafe environments regarding living conditions, or in situations of neglect or abuse.  The safe haven laws are meant to allow a safe place for children to be left such as a hospital or a fire station.  What is unique about the new law in Nebraska is that it doesn’t clarify who has the authority to drop off said children…it could be a baby sitter, grandparent, parent, neighbor or what have you.  Another important point, most of the states that implement safe haven laws usually are set up to protect infants.  Nebraska made headlines by not limiting the reach of the safe haven laws to infant only drop offs…it basically says “minors”…leaving the new law open to interpetation.

         The courts will have to clarify the definition of the safe haven law so that the protection of the children and the people who abandon them is more clear.  At the moment, anyone under the age of 19 is allowed to be dropped off in a safe haven.  There will be no legal repercussions as long as abuse or neglect is not involved.  In some ways, this may help those situations where we read about newborn infants born to teen mothers who are dumped in a garbage can or left outside alone.  Maybe in those cases, some children will be saved…but, this new law opens up a whole new set of issues regarding children and their families.

         I know that the law was set up in good faith…to protect the children.  However, you have to wonder about the psychological damage to those same children who are old enough to understand that they have been abandoned by the people most trusted in their lives.  An infant does not comprehend the abandonment until they are older and the information is presented to them…an older child certainly does understand the idea of abandoment and there certainly will ensue emotional and psychological damage.  However, i will say an infant may not understand the full scope of abandonment; but, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t affected by it; when they are affected, it is often called an attachment disorder…where the baby has trouble bonding with their caregivers, either giving or receiving love…sometimes, it is even turned into a failure to thrive.  All human beings deserve to be loved and wanted.

         Studies have been done on babies or infants who have been abandoned in other countries and left in orphanages…if they do not get enough human interaction that shows love or caring…those children can actually die from the lack of human, loving touch.  Don’t think that when an infant is dropped off, even at a safe haven…that they won’t know the difference between being wanted and unwanted.

         People who find themselves in desperate circumstances may be tempted to go the route of the safe haven in a moment of extreme duress.  However, the long term consequences make me wonder whether this is a viable option.  People who abuse or neglect their children willingly or freely are not going to be so very concerned about making sure that the place they abandon their child is considered a safe place.  It would be better to put into place programs that facilitate helping families who are in danger of imploding. 

         Not to mention, those parents or caregivers who are feeling desperate…say…in a financial crisis…they can’t afford to feed or house their children…may think that this safe haven is an option for them.  The consequences of such an action could be considered permanent…even if their circumstances change in time.  Their custody could be forever impacted by that one moment of temptation to abandon the children in a safe place. 

         I wonder if other options are being given as much media & legal attention, such as making a short term placement with social services; for short term foster care in cases where, say a housing or financial need is threatening the ability to keep a family together? 

          Children aren’t like litters of animals…not that animals should be abandoned either!  Being a pet owner or a parent is a huge responsiblity…the demands are serious.  People should not enter into the role of a pet owner or parenting without alot of thought!  Parents need to take their commitment to parenting seriously. 

          If a parent is considering abandoning their children…wouldn’t it be better to work with an agency and make a permanency plan such as adoption?  Definately, if that were the case, doing it in infancy is better than waiting until a child is old enough to be scarred by an emotional and physical abandonment by their parents or caregivers.  At least by making sure that the child/children were placed in a safe and loving home…a child would have a chance to grow up and to be nutured in a loving environment. 

          No one should ever be made to feel unwanted, unloved or unprotected.  Abandonment leaves permanent scares that impact their young lives and often, other generations of lives as well.  What are your feelings on the safe haven laws?

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     This is a controversial issue.  I heard that starting in September (at least here in Michigan); custodial parents will be charged a yearly, one time fee of $25.  This is in relation to parents of children who have been receiving child support.  This fee is being charged as a matter of federal law to help offset the amount of money the government has to spend finding deadbeat parents who skip out on supporting their children.  At least that is the way that i understood the news report. (more…)

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        Well, if you do any research at all on grieving you will find some very pat answers to describe what are considered “normal” stages of grieving.  There are actually “lists” and books of normal stages. 

         One of those lists is from a book called “Death and Dying”; i remember reading this in high school as part of a course on death and dying.  In the book the author, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, identified five different stages of grieving, Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance.  Another book, written by Dr. Roberta Temes, called Living With An Empty Chair, identifies what she calls behaviors of grieving, she lists Numbness, Disorganization, and Reorganization.   Of course, there are other books that try to simplify the process to help us to understand it better; but, I think grief is much more complex than these lists imply.

        Grieving is different for everyone.  There is no ONE way, no one order of normal grieving that applys across the board for each and every person experiencing grief.  http://www.rainbows.org , http://www.dougy.org/, http://www.centerforloss.com/

        Whenever i see someone grieving, i think of grief almost as layers of an onion.  Each emotion is peeled away only to reveal another emotion or behaviorial response.  When all of the layers are peeled away to the final layer; there, deep inside is a green sprig that represents new life.  The goal is to get to that final layer and feel some sense of peace again.  http://www.journeyofhearts.org/.

           I think that people respond to their losses differently.  Even when a death is expected …emotions and behaviors are triggered that a survivor is not expecting to deal with.  This can be surprising to them; as they may feel that they thought they were prepared.  Facing a death that is traumatic or unexpected is devastating as well.  If the death is in the eye of the public, such as a public figure, or a death that is connected with a crime or tragedy, the grieving may be complicated because of the circumstances.   

          Those previous lists do hit on some emotions and behaviors that grievers experience; but, I feel that there are so many more layers and depths of grief that affect us. 

        Yes, there is shock, denial or disbelief, fear, anger, guilt, worry, busy work, distraction, forgetfulness, avoidance, risky behaviors, a sense of betrayal; second guessing oneself…what if i did this?  What if, i hadn’t done that?  …it is paralyzing to be stuck on that treadmill, when no answer is possible to satisfy the soul of the survivor. 

        For some people who are grieving, there is a sense of unforgiveness, alcohol abuse… sexual promiscuity… or drug use  to achieve numbness, depression, rage, wallowing in loss, hiding in the past, reliving those final moments and drowning in that experience; for some blame, hatred, litagation, revenge, loneliness, hurt, sadness, abandonment, and yes, hopefully acceptance.

         Finally, it should be a goal of the person who grieves to be able to acheive a healthy balance of their personal loss along with their memories of the deceased person.  In this area there can be found some comfort.  Wrapping yourself in positive memories, and positive activities is a very useful tool to move forward.  Setting a future goal to achieve, in memory of that person, can be helpful as well. 

          A person experiencing grief should not allow anyone to tell them to, just get over it…that it is time.  But, on the other hand, if some of your emotions or behaviors are damaging to you; or, other loved ones around you…you would be wise to listen to someone who truly cares and is concerned that maybe you are stuck in any one of those destructive emotions or behaviors. Try to listen if their concern has a genuine basis. 

        There is professional help if you feel you just aren’t on a healing path…but truly, only the person going through the grief knows what is going on inside of themselves.  It is important to give yourself permission to heal at your own pace.  Often, you will hear someone talk about closure…but…closure is an illusion; closure implies an ending to something. 

          Grieving never really ends because you are always experiencing some event or activity that triggers the thought that the deceased person is “missing” from that event or activity.   Closure doesn’t really happen…but, Healing Is Possible.

           There are some things that may help you to heal, in your time of loss, such as, connecting with others going through similar experiences, taking some time to meet your physical and emotional needs, take time off from work or school, finding comfort & support with friends or family who will listen to you and not judge you.   Don’t isolate yourself; find a support group, volunteer in your community, do something to honor the person you are grieving for, make a memory book, tape, video, or journal, take a vacation, seek spiritual guidance, or pray. 

         You know yourself best; and you know if you are not making progress in your journey from your loss…that is a time to seek help in your grieving.  If you are making progress…give yourself credit…and do something nice for yourself to mark the occasion.  Eventually, the good days start to out number the days when you feel lost and alone.  Ultimately time really does become an ally to those who struggle with the pain.

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