Nebraska, my fair state, was the last of the 50 states to enact a Safe Haven law. If you don’t know what a Safe Haven law is (where have you been? LOL), it basically makes it legal to leave your child at a hospital, or sometimes a fire or police station. These laws were brought about as a way to protect newborns from abandonment. In many states, the Safe Haven laws include children under the age of two. Some states, it’s only for babies 24 hours or younger. But to get the law to pass in Nebraska, the legislature made it for any child 18 or younger. I was shocked when I learned this! I was even more shocked when the law was put to work for the first two times this last weekend, with two boys, ages 11 and 15 years old! These boys don’t seem to be related, and were left at different hospitals. I wonder what it means that the first children who were relinquished are so much older than you’d expect.
What would have happened if the law only applied to younger children? Would they have been tossed out on the street? Would their families gone to counseling? Would they have hurt someone, or been hurt themselves? It certainly is food for thought.
Does this mean that the state of Nebraska needs to work on its available resources for families with adolescents who have behavioral issues? I think so.
What I can’t help wondering is this: How does it get so bad that you’d rather never see your child again? My kids are only six and two, so I just can’t imagine it. Hopefully, I will never get to a point where I feel that way about my kids.
My older sister and my mother had a very rough time when she was a teenager. My mom actually did have to send her away to my aunt’s house for a while. Now, though, she’s all grown up, and a wonderful mother with a great family of her own. Her teenage daughters are so well-adjusted! And she and my mom are as close as a mother and daughter can be. When things were at their worst, I’ll bet my mother never dreamed the day would come when she could call my sister a friend, and be supremely proud of the way she turned out, despite some very rough years. I feel sad for the parents in these situations. They’ll never know how their children turned out.