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?


Marley Greiner said...

Thanks for the translation Anita! I bet they still don't get it--even in plain English. Baby dump laws need to be repealed now.

Mary Lynn Fuller said...

Baby dumps are making it easy for those not wanting their children to get rid of them. If they dump them along side a road, someone might see them and jot down a license plate number. It must take a self-centered person to dump a child. The dumper must not be thinking about how this child will feel to know they were abandonded and to go through the remainder of their life wondering about their origins. The members of any government body thinking that this is okay should be tarred and feathered.

I suppose when the child reaches adult age they do stand the chance of digging and digging for clues someday as some adoptees do to learn their origins. But it is wrong for both a child that has been dumped and one who has been placed for adoption to have to possibly search for years to learn their origins. And unfortunately some will never know.