only one option provided, no questions asked and no help provided,
frightened young moms are giving birth on their own and then doing
the best they know how for their newborn sons and daughters by
abandoning them at fire stations, churches, hospitals. Billed
as a protection for both mothers and babies, in fact not only
mothers and babies but also fathers need protection from this
Marion, IA (PRWEB) May 13, 2004 -- According to the advertisements
for the Indiana baby safe haven "Drop-Off Program":
"The law gives newborns protection and frightened mothers
an option...If you don't want your baby or if you know someone
who doesn't, Indiana law allows you to drop-off the newborn at
any fire station or other emergency medical provider, with no
In the advertisement is a picture of a healthy, normal looking
mom with white features. In her arms, she's holding an even whiter-looking
baby: Just the kind of baby that is most in demand for adoption.
National Adoption Information Clearinghouse (NAIC) data show
that 43 states in the United States have enacted baby safe haven
Prior to the enactment of these laws, it was primarily mothers
on drugs or with mental problems (including extreme fear of discovery)
who abandoned babies. These mothers probably would not be too
concerned about looking for a safe haven to leave their child,
regardless how much advertising there is. If the ads do target
drug-addicted mothers, then why is it that nowhere in the ads
is there information for pregnant moms to obtain drug rehabilitation
which might prevent brain damage to their unborn child and thereby
avoid future social problems?
As the advertisements for baby safe havens state, they give frightened
moms one option: To abandon their child.
There's no rape counseling mentioned. There is no offer of family
counseling mentioned that might relieve tension between a frightened
young pregnant mom and her parents, and no mention that telling
parents just might result in unexpected support that would help
her keep her baby.
There's nothing in the ads for safe havens encouraging fathers
to take responsibility for their children and no protection of
fathers' parental rights.
There's nothing about birth control, which might prevent a pregnancy.
There's no suicide prevention hotline for a mother after she's
lost her child to government sanctioned abandonment, either.
There is nothing that would direct a mother to Women, Infants
and Children (WIC) to obtain assistance that would help a mother
maintain her own and her unborn child's health. There's nothing
about Medicaid for pregnant women or insurance for children.
While the people who adopt are being provided financial help
from the government until the adopted child is 18, moms are made
to feel guilty for considering even some temporary assistance
which would help them care for their own child.
Information which might help a mother make an informed decision,
such as the serious effects of separating a mother and child,
is not disclosed in these ads for safe havens. In "Known
Consequences of Separating Mother and Child at Birth and Implications
for Further Study", which is available on the internet, Wendy
Jacobs, B.Sc., B.A. provides an overview of the effects which
have been reported since the 1950's. She notes: "...the ripple
effect of adoption means it is an issue that affects thousands
of families throughout their lifetimes, the lifetimes of succeeding
generations, and ultimately our whole society and its future."
With safe haven laws in effect, lots of newborn babies are now
being abandoned, both "safely" and unsafely.
Is it a coincidence that baby safe haven laws are being enacted
at a time when more parents who know their daughters are pregnant
are willing to support their daughters in keeping their babies?
At a time when more and more adoptions are "open", providing
some contact between the child and his/her natural parents? Some
people seeking to adopt write about how they want a child with
no "birthparents" that will come looking for them "ten
years down the road"? In their quest for a child to call
their "own" and not share, prospective adopters may
not consider how the adoptee will feel knowing he/she has been
abandoned and having no information. These prospective adopters
may be interested to know that DNA testing is now being used to
successfully reunite adoptees and natural parents, even in international
Regarding these frightened young mothers who leave their newborn
son or daughter at a safe haven, I can only imagine what heartache
and anguish they must be going through and no one to share it
with, possibly for the rest of their life.
I have heard people speculate that these mothers would have killed
their children if not for the "opportunity" to drop
them off. After encouraging a frightened mother in the first place,
they accuse her of being a potential murderer. But, isn't it just
as easy to speculate that if she had not seen all this advertising
encouraging baby abandonment at a "safe haven" she would
have told someone and had medical and moral support while giving
birth and afterwards? She might be holding her baby in her arms
today, proudly showing her off to everyone.
Being abandoned by his mother (and father?) is not so "safe"
for a child. The serious effects of familial separation and maternal
deprivation on a child are known, but are not well-publicized.
Adoptee Betty Jean Lifton's book "Journey of the Adopted
Self: A Quest For Wholeness" should be required reading for
everyone in North America.
Feelings of loss, grief, rejection and shame as well as identity
issues, intimacy problems and problems with the evolution of self-control
are all identified as life-long issues for adoptees, natural parents
and even for the people who adopt in Deborah N. Silverstein and
Sharon Kaplan's "Lifelong Issues in Adoption" available
on the internet.
Children, especially newborns, need the security of their mothers.
Fathers need to be encouraged to nurture their children and expected
and even required to support them. Mothers in such desperate straights
deserve the encouragement to seek real help, not the encouragement
to give up hope and abandon their babies.
When all else fails, a child's heritage should never be withheld
Bastard Nation, which bills itself as "the adoptee rights
organization" has the following statement on their website:
"Safe Haven laws, despite their good intent, are ultimately
anti-adoptee, anti-adoption, anti-child, anti-woman, and anti-family.
They erase identities, deny the rights and due process of parents,
and reject time-tested best practice."
One moment of fear over some temporary situation and a mother
and father may have lost their child forever. I hope all mothers
who have been duped by this ill-considered safe haven project
take steps to get their baby back. I hope all fathers whose rights
have been by-passed all together take steps to get their baby
back. I hope someone cares enough about these children to give
them back, without a fight.
Unfortunately there is an incentive not to return the children
to their families: Thanks to the 1997 Adoption and Safe Families
Act when a child, even a healthy baby, is adopted out of foster
care, there is $4000 or $6000 bonus to be made from the federal
government. This bonus was intended to help children already in
foster care who truly need a home, not to encourage the unnecessary
separation of family members.
There are many factors contributing to the wide support that
safe haven laws have received. But the problems inherent with
the safe haven laws cannot be overstated. Mothers, fathers and
their children as well as grandparents and other family members
including future generations who may be affected, are human beings.
Parents deserve real information and real options rather than
to be lured, completely unaware of the serious consequences, into
abandoning their own child.
Safe Haven and Human Rights Issues
regarding "respectful" adoption language:
"unwed" mother, "birthmother", "birthmom", "birthmoms", "dear
birthparent", "birthparent", "birthparents", "birthfather"
"biological" make a parent appear to be less than the mother or
father they are. These terms dehumanize and limit the parent's
role to that of an incubator. Using the honest terms "mother",
"single mother" or "natural mother" help the
public to understand why real family members must not be separated
to obtain babies for adoption.