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Posts Tagged ‘Nebraska’

        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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       The countdown has begun, we have an 8 measly days to prepare for the fourth of July.  How do you plan to celebrate the freedoms that you have, that were purchased by the men and women of our country’s military?   All branches of the armed forces deserve to be honored.   How about along with those picnics and parades, you carve out a litle time to make and send a card to thank them for their sacrifice?

       Did you know that there are many service people who don’t get words of encouragement or support from anyone?   Oh, alot of our military men and women have their own friends and family who are strong in their support…but some really and truly don’t.  Some are lonely or sad; some are on their own, away from home for the first time.  When my husband was in the Marine Corps years ago; he was blessed to have a mother who wrote to him daily, all four years of his service.  My husband had a roomate who never received any cards or letters.  Out of compassion, my mother-in-law sent him a letter; it moved that roomate to tears.  He said to my husband…you do not know how much this means to mean to get this.  It was a moment of support that that young man desperately needed.   Here is a program that i heard about and loved the idea of from the very moment I heard about it.  It is a non-profit organization called, Make 2 Tell 2.

       The whole idea behind make2tell2 is to make two cards of encouragement, good wishes or support; and then, telling two others about the program and getting them to do the same.  The organization will collect the cards and then send them on to our military personel in Afghanistan and Iraq.  There isn’t much time left, we only have 8 days including today!  Can you help?  These are our sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, fathers and mothers…they are sacrificing time away from their own support systems to serve our country.

        How about sitting down the children who are out of school; let them unleash their creativity.    By this point, the newness of being out of school for the summer has set in and they are complaining of having nothing to do.  This is a great craft project for them.  Once they get started they won’t want to stop.  Or, do you know someone who is a scrap booker and loves to use their skills to make their own cards and such?  This is a perfect project for them.  Use your imagination as far as who would be willing to help…this really is a wonderful way to celebrate the fourth of July and celebrate all that we are blessed with here in America.

          For those service people who are overseas…this will help them to feel appreciated and a little less alone.   Here is the contact information for the program.  Feel free to include your contact information, on those cards and letters if you feel led.  Or if you are uncomfortable with that…make them, and just sign your name; either way, this is a great way of serving your country.   It is such a small sacrifice of your time but it can have an amazing impact on someone.   Make 2 Tell 2
991 Road 325
Harvard, NE  68944
        I am doing this myself, with my children today…and I am asking you to do the same.  Make a little time to give back to the greatest country in the world.  Celebrate the veterans of yesterday, today and tomorrow…who knows…they just might be one of your very own loved ones!

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