02/08/07 — Senseless loss: Abandoned babies seem to be increasing concern in state

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Senseless loss: Abandoned babies seem to be increasing concern in state

It used to be that stories about babies abandoned at public places were oddities.

You just did not hear about this sort of incident that often, and most of the time when you did, the news was followed by a report of a mother with an emotional problem who simply did not know what to do or who was ill herself.

But recently in North Carolina, there have not only been multiple reports of babies who were left for adoption at public places, but several instances where babies were abandoned either dead or alive in garbage dumps or other inappropriate spots.

No sign of a mother, let alone parents. No sign of mourning of a young life lost. Just a little body, alone with no one to claim him or her or to make sure there will be a grave or memorial to honor his or her short life.

And that is a tragedy that we should do more than shake our heads about as we read about yet another baby found in this region.

The problem of abandoned babies is not unique to this area or to this state. More and more social services officials are facing the issue of caring for children who have been brought into the world, but who do not have parents who are willing to take responsibility for their care.

There are many profiles that fit these parents. Some are drug abusers or face other challenges. Others are simply caught in poverty and a lack of education that keep them from improving their lives or providing a proper home for their children.

And then there are the young mothers who are barely more than children themselves who are either already caring for children they cannot afford, or involved in relationships where they cannot count on the father.

Getting information to these parents about adoption, or simply proper prenatal care that is available, might be the best way to stop what is becoming a disturbing trend.

And perhaps we ought to think a bit, too, about who is having babies and what we need to do to make sure they understand the responsibility of becoming a parent — hopefully before they become one.

The women who are abandoning their babies are criminals. They should face serious penalties for ignoring the sacred responsibility they have been entrusted with. And while we can feel sorry for their situations, we cannot ignore their decisions. There is no excuse for not taking advantage of the options available for an unwanted child.

In the meantime, we should mourn the two babies found this week, even if their parents didn’t.

Published in Editorials on February 8, 2007 11:45 AM