Saturday, October 11, 2008



All eyes are on Nebraska this month, as well they should be.

They would be the laughing stock of North America if their misdeeds weren’t so shameful!

By now nearly everyone must know that in July Nebraska passed their unique version of a Safe-Haven law. They decided not to write in any age limit for fear that some children might get left out. In order to garner enough support for their bill, the lawmakers wrote that any “child” may be left at a hospital safe haven. The legal eagles in the state can’t quite agree what “child” means in the law. It could be any person under the age of 19, or maybe under 18, or maybe under 14.

And what happened since July? Seventeen children have been abandoned under Nebraska’s new safe-haven law, including nine from a single family. And yesterday a 14 year old girl from across the river in Council Bluffs, Iowa was dropped off. That’s 17 children - not 17 infants.

Between October and January, when Nebraska’s legislature goes back into session, Nebraska could become the Mecca for abandonment. That’s because nothing was written into this law about precisely “who” can abandon. Heck, how far is it to drive over the border from Iowa, South Dakota, Kansas, Colorado or Wyoming.

Hop in the car, children. We’re going for a vacation.

Climb in Grandpa’s truck, kids. He’s taking you for a ride.

“The number of children left will continue to climb, possibly including children left by desperate parents pushed to the brink by the souring economy,” said child advocate Kathy Bigsby Moore.

Translation: It’s not our fault. Blame it on the failing economy.

”It really concerns me that [people from] other states are possibly going to be leaving their children here,” said state Senator Arnie Stuthman, the very guy who introduced the bill.

Duh. Senator Stuthman is so not in touch with reality. Could it be he was on another planet during June and July? Otherwise, he had to have at least considered these very real possibilities. It’s not as if he weren’t warned. Child welfare organizations of every ilk, adoptee rights organizations and groups concerned with the ethics of laws all wrote to the Senator and his pals to tell them that this bill was too dangerous to pass. They pointed out to him in fax, letter, the media, and by phone the pitfalls he was getting into if he passed such a law.

Translation: Oh dear, nobody told me.

State Senator Brad Ashford, who helped craft the law, said that these abandonments prove a law like this was needed. “We’ve had parents shoot their children. This is about safety. If what’s happened is shameful, it’s just uncovering what’s out there. People are really hurting.”

Translation: People who are hurting are going to shoot their children unless Nebraska allows their parents to dump them.

I am opposed to all Safe Haven laws, be they for infants 72 hours or less, infants 7 days old or less, or any aged “children” as Nebraska’s new law is written. I detest all of these safe haven laws.

I am convinced that legal and anonymous abandonment of ANY child, no matter the age, is barbaric. Over one hundred years of hard work on the part of social workers and child welfare professionals to protect children from being abandoned has gone down the drain.

Infants who are abandoned become forever foundlings. Their origins will always be unknown. Or, as the Massachusetts Supreme Court called them, “Genealogically bewildered.”

Older children who are dumped suffer untold permanent emotional trauma.

How can it be that people in this great country of ours cannot work out any other way of helping infants, babies, and even teen age children who are in troubled families besides abandoning them?