See my Adoption BEWareness Month blog for details on my November mission: exposing the things people don’t want to admit about adoption.
Before we begin, please read both Bastardette’s and Baby Love Child’s ongoing coverage of the Nebraska crisis and “safe haven” laws. They have done an excellent job of sorting through the chaff to find the real nuggets of truth in this crisis.
Later this week, Nebraska plans to age down their “safe haven” law, which has been used to dump at least 30 kids (not infants), some across state lines, some who were adopted and whose adoptive parents couldn’t “handle” it anymore. All trashed like unwanted toasters in their time of need.
Aging down safe haven laws does NOT make them right.
The argument behind limiting Nebraska’s law to newborns is the same as the thinking in other states, as expressed by Nebraska’s Governor:
The Nebraska law has had “serious, unintended consequences,” Gov. Dave Heineman said. “This law needs to be changed to focus on infants.”
And “safe haven” advocate/nutter Tim Jaccard is quoted as saying:
A national expert on safe-haven laws commended Nebraska officials for moving to impose an age limit, but he said action should be taken now to prevent older children from receiving the scars of abandonment.
“It affects children,” said Tim Jaccard, president of the National Safe Haven Alliance. “When children are older they have the ability to understand what’s going on and they’re thinking, ‘Mommy and Daddy don’t want me anymore, so they’re throwing me in a hospital.’ That’s a psychological blow.”
And it’s not for a baby? Somehow, we are still living with the myth that “infants don’t remember.”
Thirty-odd years ago, I was a Healthy White Infant whose mother made what today would be called an “adoption plan.” She sought out a kind doctor who gladly helped her through her pregnancy and birth. (Gladly, I’m sure, for whatever my adoptive parents paid for my gray-market self.) The assumption was, since I was adopted at birth, I would not remember.
The hell I don’t.
My entire life has been overshadowed by the trauma that I experienced when I was an infant. I missed my mother desperately as a child (still do), although I was repeatedly told I didn’t remember her. But my adoptive mother smelled wrong. She acted in ways I couldn’t fathom, and vice versa. My adoptive father said at my christening that “oil and water don’t mix.” I was a month old; presumably I was acting in a way contradictory to good little tabula rasa infants, like pushing away and crying. Nobody bothered to consider that I might have been traumatized by being adopted. Today, I still suffer the consequences.
So do my children. They’re biological, so I know from personal experience what being pregnant is like and the communication that exists pre-birth. My kids and I definitely knew each other at birth–why wouldn’t we? We had been intimately linked for nine months. As newborns, my children could discern me, their mother, from other people. They knew my scent and my voice. If they had been taken from me they damn well would have borne the scars of it. And they, too, have been deprived of their family origins because they have the unfortunate luck to be the offspring of a Bastard.
Adoption is not a one-time event, it has lifelong, generational consequences. So does being abandoned in the name of “safe haven” laws.
There is so much scientific research today about newborns, yet “safe haven” advocates and sealed-records supporters would have you believe that infants don’t remember. I find particularly disturbing the dichotomy between the new-parent materials I received when pregnant (“Play Mozart in the womb for mathematical prowess!”), what I was told as an adoptee (“You were too young to know the difference”), and what we are being told now about safe haven laws (“If they’re babies they won’t feel abandoned”).
Pushing back the age limit on “safe haven” laws does nothing other than render mute those who are most affected by it. Eighteen years will pass before “safe havened” infants can speak their minds. Speaking as someone who quite easily could have been “safe havened” had such laws existed when I was born, I can tell you that abandonment at any age is trauma with no cure.
But why don’t you ask those “safe havened” kids themselves, the ones who are old enough to voice an immediate opinion? One of them posted this on his MySpace page:
**choose me** Im so damn lonley.
We must protect the children who cannot speak for themselves, or whose words are disregarded. Repeal “safe haven” laws!