Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Dump-Your-Unwanted-Kids Law in NE

Well, things are really heating up in Nebraska, where the dump-your-kid law has led to all kinds of abandonments of children under eighteen. The last one is a doozy, and what we who do not believe in adoption as a fairy tale feared: that parents would get rid of children they had adopted. While The Daily Bastardette has been telling the tales of the kids dumped regularly, the one today caught my eye because, yep, the child was 13, and adopted. Of the 17 children abandoned since the "safe haven" law took effect in July, only four are younger than ten.

Which brings me to a story from my life, which seems to abut adoption at every opportunity. After I divorced my first husband--who came into my life shortly after I gave up my daughter, and you know how that goes, let's get married quick! I need to think of myself as other than a slut--I spent an evening with an old BF from college back in my home state of Michigan. My ex- BF was now also divorced. Nobody back in Michigan, where I'm from and went to school, knew that I had a daughter, and had given her up for adoption, so the ex has no knowledge of this.

I didn't expect bells to ring because the ex-BF and I had never been..."in love," or at least, I hadn't and I'm pretty sure he had never been either. But we were having a pleasant enough evening, sparring as we had done during our senior year as we worked on the campus daily newspaper.

His story turned out to have an adoption twist, not surprisingly. He and his wife had adopted a boy who had been three or four at the time. Oh, I say, betraying nothing, but now listening on all burners...then the wife got pregnant and they had their "own son," as he put it. People cavil about this language--his son, but I'm just telling the story here and you get the drift, right? Okay, I think, your own son, go on....When they split a few years later, he said, the wife announced: I’ll take our son, but the adopted one, one, he’s yours, I don’t want him, too much trouble.

And then? Then what happened? Are you fathering the boy? Sure you are, say yes, I'm thinking. ...but the boy was too much to handle, he said, me a single guy, I couldn't hack it, and so I went back to court and undid the adoption.

Oh, It was hard, he said.

Yes, I said, I imagine it was, thinking, can you take me home now so I can throw up?

Today, all they would have had to do was drive from Michigan to Nebraska. Which the couple who dropped off their 13-year-old son did.

4 comments :

  1. Lorraine,
    Your story reminds me of an incident when a man came to my law office and asked me to represent him in a divorce. He told me the children were adopted and he did not consider them his children. He said he signed the papers only to please his wife and didn't see why he should have to pay child support. When I told him the judge would order him to pay support, he left mumbling about how the legal system screws men. He never came back.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am so glad I didn't have this hanging over my head growing up. My adoptive parents never... quite... said they would take me back if I misbehaved, but boy, did they ever imply it. If this law had been around back then I can imagine one or two incidents where they might have chucked me in the car and driven me to Nebraska "to scare me," as Bastardette reports happened to at least one of these dumpees. Scared him, all right, he's now in foster care. Once done, abandonment can't be taken back, because once foster care is involved a family is hard-pressed to fight it even if they wanted to, which is sound like this "parent" (I use the term lightly) did not. And either way, the kid is damn well going to remember he wasn't wanted.

    Both Bastardette and Baby Love Child accurately point out that limiting "safe haven" laws to infants only creates a time-lag of 18 years, until they grow up and can express how much the experience stinks. Nebraska put the issue into sharp relief by leaving it open to kids who can speak their minds. Last I heard they have narrowed it back to just infants, the ones who have no voice.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think one of the benefits of living with your own kin is even negative behaviour often gets recognized as being - just like my brother - or Uncle Fred or his father.

    And you can laugh at this stuff that AP's want to call the kiddy shrink about.

    I took a sociology of deviant behaviour course in University and I have always remembered that one of the first things that sends you down a bad path is labelling.

    Being told you are not OK.

    I hope your ex BF's kid found his parents and they welcomed him with open arms.

    This is a bit of a non-sequitur but not really. You hear a lot of talk about God and adoption and I always wonder where "God's plan" has gone when things go wrong and everything isn't running tichety-boo. You never hear anyone referring to how God meant them to have this experience then.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I think one of the benefits of living with your own kin is even negative behaviour often gets recognized as being - just like my brother - or Uncle Fred or his father.

    And you can laugh at this stuff that AP's want to call the kiddy shrink about.

    I took a sociology of deviant behaviour course in University and I have always remembered that one of the first things that sends you down a bad path is labelling.

    Being told you are not OK.

    I hope your ex BF's kid found his parents and they welcomed him with open arms.

    This is a bit of a non-sequitur but not really. You hear a lot of talk about God and adoption and I always wonder where "God's plan" has gone when things go wrong and everything isn't running tichety-boo. You never hear anyone referring to how God meant them to have this experience then.

    ReplyDelete

We welcome comments from all, and appreciate letting us know how you relate to adoption when you leave your first comment.

COMMENTS ARE MODERATED. Our blog, our decision whether to publish or not. We are trying to find a way to end the endless anonymous comments, which drive many of us crazy. Pick a name! Any name. Choose the NAME/URL selection. You do not need a URL. Your name does not have to be your name IRL though we appreciate those who do, and we understand due to the sensitive nature of our subject, many will prefer to use a nom de plume. Okay with us, but the endless Anons are tiresome for everyone. If you post as "anonymous" you run the risk of not being posted.

We try to be timely but we do have other lives.

For those coming here from Networked Blogs on Facebook, if it does not allow you to make a comment, click the "x" on the gray "Networked Blogs" tool bar to exit out of that frame and it should then let you comment.