Friday, October 17, 2008

A Child Surrendered in Nebraska

There is a news story this week which is stirring-up more emotion in me than any political coverage could. It is the story of the Detroit mom who drove her son to Nebraska to surrender him. The story says that the mom, her sister, and her mother made the 12 hour drive to leave the 13 year old boy because the mom was dealing with a great deal of stress and couldn't cope with him any longer. Nebraska has a law which allows for parents to surrender a child under the age of 19 without the risk of being charged with abandonment. The boy was given extra clothing and $10 and then was left at a hospital. The boy's father, according to local news accounts, was aware that the trip would take place and condoned it.

The firestorm this has ignited amazes me.

Michigan authorities are embarrassed, and have gone on record explaining that they have facilities in each county prepared to take a child in. But Michigan authorities fail to add that Michigan child-surrender laws only cover a parent until the child is 72 HOURS old. After that, the parent may well face charges of neglect, abandonment, and more.

Nebraska authorities are lashing out at Michigan and citing Michigan's lack of mental health resources and imply that the mother needed intervention. If that is, in fact, the reason for this surrender, then are the Nebraska authorities also implying that the extended family members were in need of mental health care as well?

Nebraska authorities are frustrated because this is the second out-of-state child left since their surrender law became effective months ago. One spokesman said,
"The intention of the Nebraska law covering children up to age 18 was to help
families with young children who may be in danger, not to give parents of
out-of-control teenagers an out
."

I don't know who would be in greater danger than a 13 year old boy whose mother, father, aunt, and grandmother all agreed would be better off being driven 700 miles and surrendered rather than remain in their care. Now an investigation is underway in Michigan to determine if the mother should face charges.

My heart breaks for that boy. My heart breaks for the family. The fact remains, however, that they needed help and they made what must have been a difficult decision. They chose what they believed was a safe solution for that child. It was a far better solution than the one given to the 4 children who die every day in the U.S. as a result of abuse or neglect. Four a day! 1,400 a year!

Kuddos to you, Nebraska. You provided rescue for a child in need. Please stop pretending to be the victim.

And to the other states, when a parent begs for help by saying, "I can't parent this child any longer. Help me," is that really a criminal act ??

UPDATE: The local Michigan prosecutor has now determined that the surrendered boy is a "typical, normal boy," thus, the parents' other 3 children have now been removed from their custody.

13 comments:

Julie said...

being over here, I don't hear stuff like this. Amazing and that poor child. What is that going to do to him, his siblings... and what is wrong with that family, I pray they get help!

Mental P Mama said...

Can you imagine what it was like in that car? And I pray that he is better off now. A tragedy for the entire family.

Crazy Momma said...

Disgusting. Just disgusting.

In MA a newborn was left in a tote bag on a gentleman's front steps. MA has a Safe Haven law (I think that is what it is called) where any newborn (less then 7 weeks, I think) can be left with authority no questions asked (police, fire, rescue, hospital, church, etc).

It is just beyond understanding for me...

And about the bison...there have been SO many questions I will post about it later on today.

Thanks for stopping by, keep checking back!

McEwens said...

Can you believe it??? At the same time I am grateful people have a place to drop kids off, instead of beating them!

What a long car ride!

big hair envy said...

This breaks my heart. Thank goodness the other children have been removed from the home as well. Can you imagine living in a home where no one wanted you?? Poor kid.

Laura ~Peach~ said...

how sad...I hope they all get the help they need

Jan said...

Such a heart breaking story and there were no winners. I want to scoop that boy up and give him a home.

addhumorandfaith said...

Sad Sad Sad. There is nothing sadder than an unwanted child, for whatever reason.

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LadiesoftheHouse said...

Did you also read that when that law went into effect one family surrendered 9 of their kids?

My brother in law took his step daughter (my niece) to the airport, bought her a ticket to Seattle, put her on the plane and went home--all this without telling my sister (his wife) He had reached the breaking point with her teenage behavior and that was the only way he knew to deal with his anger. There was no plan where she was going to go and when I asked they said they really didn't care anymore.

I intervened and took her in for over a year. Yes, she was extremely difficult and yes, it was VERY hard on our family, but we made it through and she is now out on her own and we still stay in contact.

It is beyond my comprehension that you could toss away your flesh and blood like so much annoying trash and then be able to resume your life with any kind of normalcy.

Karen said...

I think this all goes back to the fact that parents need to parent. Discipline kids when they're bad, teach them right from wrong, insist on obedience. If it wouldn't be considered abuse to actually spank a child once in a while the country wouldn't come to this.

Yeh, you've hit a nerve with me. How sad is it that we cannot control our own children, and feel it's better to dump them off like unwanted pets?

Mrs4444 said...

Wow. Poor kid. I hope they get the help they need.

bettygram said...

I have so many questions about this. Why take one child? Nebraska is afraid that it will not have the resoures to take care of those from other states. This is a tragedy.