Thursday, November 13, 2008

Family Values?

I'm going to step back from my own stuff tonight. There was another story about the horror that is Nebraska's safe-haven law. And I just had to get it off my chest.

I have serious problems with safe-haven laws in general. Those who are likely to use safe-haven laws are not the parents that are going to leave the infant in a dumpster. They are parents that would find another way if there weren't safe-haven laws. Further, they allow parents to walk away without leaving any information that might help the child down the road, and without even proving that they are, in fact, the parents.

But Nebraska's law is really a piece of work. It allows parents to drop off children of any ages. The law-makers were warned. And they didn't listen. The results were entirely predictable (indeed, were predicted):

Sure enough, 20 teenagers - six 17-year-olds, two 16-year-olds, six 15-year-olds, three 14-year-olds, three 13-year-olds - have been abandoned, along with eight children who were 11 or 12. Five of the children dropped off have been from out of state.*

Now Nebraska is changing the law to fix this nasty mistake (nasty even by safe-haven standards). And parents are dropping off kids while they still can.

And all I can do is sit here and wonder what sort of family values we have where we allow parents to walk away from their children? Where we care about life (ostensibly), but not about any of the things that make life livable? We don't care about identity or history. We don't care about food, clothing, or shelter. We just want to make sure the kids are alive. But we don't care about the quality of that life. We don't care about the harm that we do to them. We slap another set of parents over the wound, and pretend it's all better.

We create whole structures to take care of these kids in body. And we pretend that's all that matters. We ignore the spirit, the soul. We ignore the emotional harm that we permit. And we refuse to acknowledge it.

It's sad. It's sick. And if I could find someone to yell at right now, someone who deserves it, I would. Because I cannot imagine what it will take to make people really listen to the children, now all grown up, who have suffered because of some twisted sense of what they need.

* Neb. parents rush to leave kids before law changes


elizabeth said...

All baby dumps are reprehensible. IMO it doesn't matter if the child is 17 years, or 17 days, all child abandonment should be illegal.

maybe said...

I'm with Elizabeth - all abandoment should be illegal. What kind of society would allow ANY form of child abandoment?