Saturday, November 15

Safe Haven Law

Yesterday, the Nebraska legislature met to define the age for the safe haven law. The original law did not specify an age because it was "uncomfortable" to pick one. I'm sure they had no idea that parents with teens to tots would consider this as an option for them. Maybe they did...

What is this law? In the 1990's there was a growing problem with parents abandoning their unwanted babies. They would leave them places for others to find or not. To prevent this from continuing legislators created the safe haven law so the parents of unwanted children could safely and without criminal prosecution, leave their children at a "safe haven".

I'm not sure if I could put myself in the shoes of the parents and I damn sure couldn't imagine the abandonment, fear and sadness the child must feel. As an outsider looking on, I do not believe that the parent should be able have their kids back. Too much damage is done. Lock away the heart and throw away the key. Sad. The kids want to go back to their parents, wouldn't you? Think of it like an 8 year old....that's what you know. That's who you know.

Why are there only 6 child psychiatrists in the entire state of Nebraska? (Do I believe that number? I don't know.) Why do we have thousands of lawyers to choose from but only 6 professionals to work with children? Why does most insurance plans only cover 6 visits/year to a psychiatrist? I know first hand that spending $100.00 to sit for 15 minutes with a psychiatrist is an outlandish amount of money. I also know that if I need to see one I'll turn off my cell phone and take public transportation, I will make it happen. If it were for my child, I would beg, borrow and I hope it wouldn't lead to stealing, but I might. (Just an extreme example.)

I am not demonizing the parents. I truly want them to get help. We have no idea what has happened in their lives. Fact. It is a privilege to be a parent and once you make the decision to have a child that is your responsibility. Do we provide parent crisis outlets...beyond the bars? Have they exhausted every resource like a church, family, friends...? None of us can answer those questions.

Have you ever been to an adoption center website? It goes something like this:
"Hi, we are Jane and John Doe. We are so excited to become parents through open adoption. We want to open our home and our hearts to love a child. Our nieces can not wait to have a playmate. We would love to hear from you. Please call us at...." Hummm....

Some people are dropping their kids off at a safe haven and some are praying or begging to have one. I guess all of us who want to have children and can't should consider moving to Nebraska. Maybe camping out at a hospital in hope of finally getting a child of our own to love.

The entire topic evokes so many emotions. Ultimately, I feel for the children. I have used poor judgment, made mistake after mistake but I always knew my parents where there for me. Even without words (and sometimes to mad to speak,I'm sure) I knew my parent would never abandon me or stop loving me. I knew I would never be dropped off at a safe haven.


Jill said...

This whole thing makes me sad, but ultimately I think it's good that there's an option for desperate parents. I always thought of it in terms of unwanted teenage pregnancies, but it's a whole other thing when I think about bigger kids getting left by their parents.

Ann On and On... said...

I agree. I would rather have this in place for those who choose to utilize it than nothing at all.

Nanny Goats In Panties said...

Between this and the Bank bail out mishap, I don't understand why governments continues to underestimate the loop-holey-ness savvy of our citizens.