Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Giving up baby

Recently, a 19 year old girl walked into a fire station in the city and asked the nice firemen to take her 6 month old baby.  She said she could no longer take care of him and relinquished the child to the firemen.  From all accounts, the baby was well cared for, clean, arrived with a diaper bag loaded with necessities.  The girl did not offer up her name or identification and through tears left her child.  The police are looking for her.  I hope not to punish her.  She did the one last, most courageous, thing she could do when she finally realized she was in over her head.

Taking care of small infants is hard and thankless.  You are exhausted and alone.  There is a lot of crying, from the baby too.  While you could fault this girl for not coming to the conclusion she couldn't raise this child before she had the baby, you can not fault her for realizing she was in over her head and doing something about it.  She did not abuse the child.  She did not abandon the child in a garbage can.  She treated the child with respect and gave up her child.

40 some years ago, my mother made the same decision.  She made it before she had me.  She was 16 at the time.  Having three kids of my own, I can not imagine how hard it is to give up a baby, especially one that you have cared for for 6 months.  It is the most selfless act of kindness that has ever been bestowed upon me, and I am generally pretty lucky.  While my life is not perfect it is a darn site better than it most likely would have been being raised by a 16 year old with no money or education.

When Sam was about a year old he screamed all the time.  He did not sleep, he did not play, he did not walk, he did not talk, all he did was scream.  After dealing with this and a 3 year old by myself for most of the time (my husband traveled M-F every week), I called the Dr. and told her that unless she had some idea about how we could make him stop screaming I was going to take him to Target and leave him in a cart in the store.  He was cute, Target was in a nice neighborhood, someone would take him.  The Dr. thought that perhaps I could swing by there on my way, since I had to drive by there to get to Target anyway.  Sam got help, and he stopped screaming and now he is a lovable, adorable, sweet child.  While I don't think I ever really would have left him, I was seriously considering it.

My point is that if I, a parent with a lot of resources and support, wanted to give my child away and was overwhelmed imagine how a young woman/girl would feel.  I don't know how much support she had, but clearly not enough to handle the situation she was in.  We should not judge her decision, we should applaud it.  She did no harm to her child, she did what she thought was best.  If the authorities punish her for not making this decision sooner, then I think we need to seriously reconsider our rules.

May this young girl know that she has bestowed upon her child the one last thing she could, a chance to have parents that have the support and resources to raise her son to do something great.  I hope she does something great too.

1 comment:

  1. I can imagine that was the hardest decision she ever had to make in her life- but I also think she did the right thing for her and her child.