It’s been said that adoption is demand-led, that adopting parents create the pull for children. That without it we’d have dramatically fewer children separated from their biological parents.
“Europe’s Growing Crisis of Abandoned Babies” from The Daily Beast looks at the other part of the equation — the supply or the push side of adoption. Economic issues in Europe are leading to higher rates of newborn abandonment via “baby hatches.”
As has happened throughout human history, severe economic problems are causing parents to take drastic measures — sometimes even more drastic than placing a baby in a form of a safe haven. Some may say the rich should step up and care for the weakest in a society, that no one should have to face giving up a child because of poverty. Some may say that failed socialist-type policies have led to the economic crisis that is causing those on the edge to fall off it. No matter. Whatever causes it, to be faced with such a choice is, well, heartbreakingly Sophie-ic.
Chicken or egg? — this article makes me think. Is adoption the result of babies needing homes or of homes wanting babies? Or of an interrelated dynamic between the two?
The article brings forth many issues besides just what causes adoption.
To hatch or not to hatch: The Daily Beast reports that “Supporters of the hatches argue that their existence offers desperate mothers a safe option that will inevitably give the child a better life by decreasing abortion, preventing infanticide, and stopping other forms of more reckless abandonment—such as leaving children on doorsteps or killing them and dumping them in garbage bins.”
On the con side of baby hatches is the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, which, according to Time magazine, claims “the right of the child to be known and cared for by his or her parents.” Or, as stated in The Daily Beast, the hatches “deny the child the basic right to know who his or her parents are.” Instead, the agency told The Daily Beast, “struggling mothers should be given resources and support to keep the child, even if that means eventually giving it up for legal adoption.”
But from whom will the resources and support come in a system that can barely sustain itself already? And I don’t understand how the first part of that sentence goes with the second part.
Identity and legitimacy: My friend Torrejon says:
I think we all agree that dropping off a baby in a baby-hatch or at a fire station is better than dumping him/her in a trash dumpster to die a horrible death. However, it is my contention that the women who DO dump their babies in dumpsters are suffering from a serious, medically significant disassociation from their pregnancies…denial to the point of temporary insanity. Those women are simply never going to take advantage of the safe haven laws because that would require accepting the fact that they were pregnant and delivered a baby who is a living human being. As a result, other people use the safe havens for mere convenience. My greatest concern about safe havens is there is absolutely no way to confirm that the person relinquishing the child is even the parent!
Anyone who wants to relinquish a child can do so at any time. There are methodologies and procedures in place to do so. And those methodologies and procedures protect not only the birth parents, but also the child. It is inconceivable to me that intractable anonymity of the birth parents could remotely equate to and/or trump the human and civil rights of the relinquished child.
Daycare becoming permacare: From The Daily Beast: “But sadder still is the growing number of cases of abandoned young children who do know their parents and are being left at schools and daycare providers.” Sometimes a child will show up at daycare with a note pinned to her saying that her parents can no longer feed her and will not be picking her up. Sometimes there is no note and no parent at pick-up time. The child has been abandoned.
Which begs the question, then what? Who is custodian for the child, making decisions on his behalf at that point? What are the procedures in place to find the parents or find the child a permanent home? What happens if the parents are found?
LostInTranslation, who blogs from France, asks: “What kind of daycare center is it that (a) they do not have full contact details of the parents so they can trace them down and (b) they do not see a note pinned to a child’s sweater when the kid is dropped off in the morning? The article could have been a bit more specific on what happened exactly.”
No end in sight: The reports says that in Greece and Italy alone there were nearly 2000 infants left at safe havens last year. Since the economic crisis is still worsening, I fear what the numbers will be in the future.
So pick an issue, any issue. What say you?
Lori Holden, mom of a tween son and a teen daughter, blogs from Denver. Her book, The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole, is available through your favorite online bookseller and makes a thoughtful anytime gift for the adoptive families in your life.