Posts Tagged ‘abandoned babies’

Safe Haven in Nebraska ??

October 14, 2008
Today’s news brought the story of a mother from Michigan who drove her thirteen year old son to leave him at a Nebraska hospital because “I got tired of him.”  Months ago, when I first heard of Nebraska’s Safe Haven law, I thought:  “Whoops!  This is tragic!  They’ll have to fix that law!”
Safe Haven laws have now been passed in all 50 states, but Nebraska’s is unique; it’s the only one of the States to accept the abandonment of a child up to the age of 18.  Originally planned as a way to save newborns from being left in dumpsters, Safe Haven laws began to sweep the country fifteen or more years ago.  Most States limit the age of the child that can be left at Hospital Emergency Rooms, Fire Departments and other ‘designated sites’ to seventy-two hours old.  “No questions asked!”  It’s a ‘safe way’ to abandon a baby, and the mother cannot be prosecuted for abandonment.
At first glance, this makes sense if all we care about is saving a life.  However, little thought was put into the future of the abandoned child, the frightened mother, or the potential adoptive family left to raise a child, nor is there recognition of the legal rights of the baby’s father.   Most definitely, the saddest part is the legacy of a child growing up knowing not a thing about its past except the fact of abandonment. 
I contend that if the same energy had been put into educating the public about today’s adoption practice — how much it’s changed, and how non-judgmental an ethical adoption agent is — better outcomes for all would exist.  For more information, see Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, who thoroughly investigated the issue of Safe Haven laws in America.
As the news gets out, many parents of teenagers could be tempted to make that drive across the prairie to Nebraska!  Yep, now the word is out and Nebraska needs to change their law!
Beth Kozan