I work very hard and am attending college to obtain my degree in the Human Service field. Writing makes me feel alive and gives me the opportunity to touch those whom I would not be able to otherwise. Last but not least, I have been blessed with two amazing daughters who love me completely and support my dreams. Feel free to contact me with questions, concerns or feedback.
As usual, I like to blog about controversial issues. This time is no different. I am sure anyone who watches television or listens to the radio has heard the recent story. The State of Nebraska recently revised a law to state that parents were allowed to abandon their “children”, ages 17 and under, to a local hospital, no questions asked.
This particular law is considered a “Save Haven” law. What I found regarding this law is as follows: “Safe haven laws typically allow for a parent or guardian to relinquish parental rights anonymously without risking prosecution for abandonment or neglect. However, each state's laws read differently when it comes to safe haven laws.”
I believe that this law has saved many lives. Babies who would have otherwise found their fate in the bottom of a dumpster have hopefully been placed in loving homes. Childless couples have had their prayers answered. Albeit, this particular way is not is not a-typical, but for some, an answered prayer.
Yet, there has recently been a change in the way parents have approached this law. Ever since Nebraska has changed the terms, parents are now scurrying to drop their teenagers off in alarming rates. Below is a link of the most recent addition to this ever growing epidemic.
Parents are now driving across state lines in order to get their children to the hospital before the law once again changes. As a parent, I wonder and dig deep. Sure, I can honestly say that being a single parent is tough. Being in a two-parent family is tough. I have to state that sometimes I think my job as a single mom is easier than being part of a two parent family. The reason being is because my rules are never changed by another person. My children cannot run to another adult to get the a-ok to do something I have already given two thumbs down. I consider being a parent a blessing. It has also been one of the most challenging and rewarding times of my life.
I can honestly state there were times I have been frustrated. Yet, there was not one time during my entire parenting adventure where I wanted to drop my children off. I never wanted to give up. It's not my place to judge, but how can we not?
Let's talk about the victims, the children. I wonder if we could put ourselves in their shoes for one moment. Due to the age of most, we hear very little about the who, what, where, when and why that goes through their minds. If you were a child, how would you feel? What would a mother or father say to this child on the short or long drive to the hospital? Could you imagine being walked into a hospital, being left with complete strangers. A hospital is not the most “at home” type of place. You are taken from the only parents, home, bedroom, pillows, toys and clothing you have ever known. And you know what, your parents are allowed to do this. They can remain completely anonymous and there is nothing you can do. I am sure you are given a physical to see if there was harm done. Afterwards, you are put into a home of another set of complete strangers. Traumatizing, to say the least.
Let's talk about another aspect of relationships. One question crossed my mind today, gave me inspiration for this article. Why do laws state if you marry and want a divorce, it requires you to go through the court system to dissolve your union? I mean, even if you are married less than a year, you still have to go through the process, right? Yet, parents, birth or adoptive, are allowed to simply drop off and walk away, no questions asked. Why are we simply not allowed to do that if we are done with a relationship? I mean, sure, I was divorced. It sure would have been easier if my ex and I had been given the opportunity to walk into a “divorce” hospital, sign a couple of documents and walk away.
One reason being, you may say, are marital property assets. Yet, you have known your child his or her entire life. This child has established a place in your heart and home. Do you not think they deserve a right to their equal share? Do they not have some assets as well? Why have we made it ok to uproot them without their say so? I am sure most of these parents aren't bringing along every item their child is comfortable with, right? I mean, think of all of the items in your son or daughter's bedroom. What does a drop off parent do with these items once a child is gone? Donate everything to another child in need? How wonderful!
Although I am sure every study has been done to ensure the safety of the Save Haven children, yet, how much do we really know? Have the studies been released? If so, please send them my way. I am one of those concerned citizens who want to know the end results.
I think it's time, once again, we make a few changes in the law. Why not instead of allowing parents to drop off children older than 3 days old we allow them to come in for some assistance? What these parents need are helping hands. They need direction and are crying out for help. None of us are perfect and there is not a book in the world which helps you during the toughest of times. I believe I am a great parent. Yet, I am sure there have been more than a few times which I messed up. I was fortunate to have others to guide me along the way. And, I knew how and when to reach out for help.
If anyone has ideas regarding these laws, please feel free to comment. I appreciate all input and everyone's suggestions will be one step further to solving this growing issue. I know not everyone is equipped to be a foster parent, but donating to a foster family is one positive and simple action which will make a difference in the life of a child. I look forward to reading what everyone has to say...