Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Abandonment

Yesterday, a mother left her six-week-old child on a front porch in Jackson. It has to be someone from the neighborhood because she left the child with family of six children. I guess the mother of that child felt someone else with kids could be a better parent than she could.

When I was in the Legislature, I co-sponsored a bill that would allow a mother to safely leave her child at a hospital, police station or fire station if she felt she had to abandon that child without any legal repercussions. My motivation was the abandonment of a newborn in a landfill located in my district.

When I heard about the newborn being abandon in the landfill, I felt deep sadness. It is presumed that the mother dumped the baby in the trash and then was discovered in the landfill. What could have compelled a mother to abandon her child in such a way? How desperate was her situation that she could not deal with the consequences, whatever they were?

I attended "Baby Doe's" funeral a month later. The Jackson Police Department conducted the funeral as if one of their own had fallen. Seeing that tiny casket was the image in my mind that compelled me to push for legislation to discourage that type of desperate action for ever happening again. We cannot legislate human emotion, so we cannot stop abandonment totally. What we felt we did, with the blessings of the state's Attorney General, was to make it so that any abandoned child would have a chance to live, to grow up in a home where they were loved and cared for, not discarded like trash.

The incident yesterday reminded me of how times are and brought back some painful memories. I look at my son and just wonder how anybody could forgo one of the greatest experiences in life, to be a parent. I am so thankful to God that I was blessed to be a father. To see him take his first breath, take his first steps, utter his first word, get his first haircut, attend his first day of school, etc. is something that can never be erased from my memory. It is something that no one that has been given that gift should ever abandon, no matter the circumstances.

I pray that this child that was abandoned yesterday will have a loving home to go to. All children deserve that much.