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Topic : 11/07 Child Abandonment

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Created on : Friday, October 31, 2008, 04:17:56 pm
Author : DrPhilBoard1
Abandoning a child is largely considered the worst thing a parent could do … or is it? As an alternative to leaving unwanted babies to starve in dumpsters and alleys, many states have enacted a safe haven law, which provides the option of leaving the child in a safe place, such as a hospital or fire station, with no questions asked. Nebraska was the last state to enact the law; and did so without an age restriction. As a result, there has been a recent spate of parents dropping off grown teenagers to the care of the state! Should an age limit be set? When Courtney, 34, became overwhelmed with caring for her 15-year-old daughter, she says she used the loophole in the law to get her daughter the care she needed. Was this an act of abandonment, or a mother’s last resort?  Next, abandoned at an airport at just 10 days old, Elizabeth was given the nickname “Delta Dawn” by the pilots who found her, and Michael, left in a trash can by his birth mother, was saved by a night watchman. Learn how their lives played out and hear the lasting repercussions of their abandonment. Then, meet Elizabeth, a 20-year-old mother of two who says she is considering giving up her daughters. Would her decision be in the best interest of the children? And, when Maria, at age 16, unexpectedly gave birth on her bathroom floor, she says she stabbed the baby with a pair of scissors. Find out what drove her to such drastic measures. Join the discussion.

Find out what happened on the show.

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November 4, 2008, 9:46 am CST

11/07 Child Abandonment

God never gives us any more than we can handle. 
November 4, 2008, 7:16 pm CST

Walk a mile in their shoes

I have read a number of posts and would like to say to those that are scornful and judgemental about a Mother giving up her children,  "WALK A MILE IN THEIR SHOES!"  I have and every step broke my heart and destroyed my hope and my soul.  This is part of my story.


I was abandoned at birth by my parents.  Yes, including my biological father.  My parents basically dropped me in the arms of my Grandmother and my aunt until I was around a year old.  That was the beginning of a long journey through hell.  I have been abused in every way it is possible to abuse another human being.  By the time I was 17 years old I thought I knew all there was to know about the world.  I met a man whom I married for all the wrong reasons.  He was a very tall and muscular man and he stood his ground with my Mother.  That was all it took to convince me he was the most wonderful man on the face of the earth.  I gave birth to 3 beautiful children by the time I was 20 years old.  My "most wonderful man on the face of the earth" was physically, emotionally, mentally and sexually abusive to me.  To the children it was physical and emotional abuse.  I learned very early that to try and protect my kids got me a worse beating, but I kept trying.  I had left him and gone to a shelter twice and both times my Mother told him where I was and gave him the number.  Finally I did leave him and take my kids with me.  I moved across Canada back to my home province and started life over, just me and the kids.  Then one day several months after I had left I did the most horrendous thing to my middle son.  I attacked him and almost strangled him.  I know now that I had a mental breakdown, but at the time I just wanted to die for what I had done.  I put all three children into care.  For months I had been trying to get psychological help for my boys.  They finally received it while in care.  As for me, I watched the changes in my children on our weekly supervised visits.  I knew I was not getting any better emotionally and I refused to put them into their fathers care.  So I made the decision to give up my parental rights to my children and then went to court to make sure that their father couldn't get custody.


Of all the things I had been through giving up my children was the most heartbreaking thing that ever happened to me.  I had no support system to help me with all the emotional trauma both me and the children had went through.  I truly felt that I was utterly alone with nowhre to turn.  To me it came down to a choice between the lives of my children or my life.  I chose life for my children.  That was 22 years ago.  Every day for 22 years I thought of my children and how I did not have a right to live.


So before you judge a mother who gives up her child hoping for a safer, healthier and happier life;


November 7, 2008, 6:11 am CST

11/07 Child Abandonment

I think the safe heaven's are a good idea, it beats the alternative for these children to die.  Does make me very sad though, I've wanted children my entire life, and can't have any. I never understood not wanting your children.  I'd give my right arm for a child to love.

November 7, 2008, 7:23 am CST

Child Abandonment

I am working towards my master's degree in chemical dependency. I now have a course in Mental Health. I was watching the first mother who abandoned her child and  the daughter was diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder. When she talked about the comic books she found about death, blood, etc. it made me think that she may have Reactive Detachment Disorder (RAD). I wonder if the doctor's looked into this?

I am not a doctor, but I was just wondering if they looked into this since it usually is diagnosed as another disorder.

November 7, 2008, 8:00 am CST

mother wanting to better her situation

Hello, if your the mother who was on today's show that has 2 children I would like to help you.  I found you a person who just needs help.  I saw the clips of you with your children in your home and heard your interview with Dr. Phil.  I heard you say you work 2 jobs.  You should be proud of yourself.  Everyone has a story and needs help.  If you are wanting help my name is Kerri.  I don't know exactly how from this source to go further with this.  I will check the message board.  Dr. Phil staff if you read this and you can help me potentially help her it might help. 
November 7, 2008, 9:25 am CST

I raised a child....

Quote From: italianphilly

I am working towards my master's degree in chemical dependency. I now have a course in Mental Health. I was watching the first mother who abandoned her child and  the daughter was diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder. When she talked about the comic books she found about death, blood, etc. it made me think that she may have Reactive Detachment Disorder (RAD). I wonder if the doctor's looked into this?

I am not a doctor, but I was just wondering if they looked into this since it usually is diagnosed as another disorder.

Who was diagnosed with ODD and ADHD at age 8. My son also acted out and behaved in inappropriate ways. One event that comes to mind is the time I found him, covered in "fake blood" that he had concocted out of ketchup and corn syrup, threatening his 4 yr old sister with a butcher knife. He had chased her around the house and had cornered her under the dining room table. I was outside hanging laundry to dry. When I came in, I heard my daughter crying and found them in the dining room. When I confronted my son, he said he was just "playing around" and would never really hurt her. He was 12 at the time. His behaviors became worse, and he was continually in trouble in school and home. I arranged family and individual counseling, to learn strategies to deal with him, and for him to get some help. He was put on medication for the ADHD, but, due to the ODD, it really didn't help much. He continued to lie, steal, ditch school, etc. The counselor suggested early on that he have some sort of activity or avocation to teach him responsibility. He didn't like sports, was an outcast in school, and had a very short attention span. When he was 13 I agreed to allow him to have a paper route. It was a very small one, on our street and the adjoining one, about 40 customers total. I of course supervised him, but it wasn't long before he tired of it and refused to do it. He also began to steal the collections from where I kept them in the house. So, I took it over, until they found someone else to do it, but wanted him to assist me.  He refused and there was nothing I could do to make him, since punishment or discipline was lost on him and had no effect on him but to make him MORE defiant. His father, my husband, was unhelpful, and just wanted him to stop behaving the way he was. He was impatient and angry with him, which only made it worse. I went into despair many times and wished at times that I had a place to take him. After we moved to California when he was 14, he eventually stole a mountain bike out of my neighbor's garage, and I urged them to press charges. They did, and my son went into the care of the California Youth Authority. He spent time at the juvenile facitlity in Sylmar, got out, went right back to skipping school, stealing, drug and alcohol use. He was arrested one evening after being caught breaking into a county-owned shed at a park. He went to court for that and I insisted that he be remanded back to the CYA, and testified that he was so troubled and defiant that I could no longer control him.  He was put into a boot camp for a year, then into a series of group homes for juvenile offenders. He received intense counseling and constant supervision there. It saved his life. He was released at 18, after graduating from high school and getting life skill training and proper medication. He is now 28, married, and doing very well. He credits me for saving his life by insisting that the state take over his care. It was the hardest thing I ever did. I was lucky that California had such a comprehensive juvenile system. Even so, I had to make sure that he was receiving the best care they could give. I advocated for him at every step. I made sure that every professional and state employee that saw him knew I was his mom and gave them all the pertinent infomation and details so they could treat him properly. So many of the kids there had no one to go to bat for them. If I hadn't he might have just fallen through the cracks there too. I made the system work for him. I fought the good fight. I didn't give up, even though I wanted to many times.

Proper diagnosis is so important. But counseling is expensive, and many parents simply do not have the wherewithal to afford it. It may seem that there is no place to go, nowhere to get help. If your child's school or school district has a social worker on staff, like mine did, that may be a route to go. The SW attatched to my child's school district helped me tremendously, and was a great source of information and help. Having her on my side to help me advocate for my son was a Godsend. And it was free. I  had a neighbor who was a court clerk for the juvenile court and I picked her brain also. Yes, sometimes the "system" can be difficult to navigate and may seem cold and heartless. You, as a parent, with the love and resolve you possess for helping your child, can be a powerful force. I vowed that a bureaucracy would never be more powerful than I, the parent of my child. I simply refused to accept any answer if it wasn't going to result in my son getting the help he needed. Period.
November 7, 2008, 9:33 am CST

Please don't judge

When my son was 4 years old, he was hallucinating.  His behavior was agressive and I had him in therapy before he got to kindergarten.  At that point he was diagnosed as "gifted" with 173 IQ.  As the years progressed, I tried to be the parent with the gifted child and got ideas about how to raise a "gifted child". By the time he was 14, his behavior continued to decline and I was ready to ship him to the moon.  I had tried everything.  Nothing helped.  I was also a single mother of three children, so I was overwhelmed and exhausted.  In and out of child/parent therapy for years, I finally threw up my hands and admitted "failure".  I simply couldn't do it anymore.


As I tried finding how to plug him into the system, I ran into roadblock after roadblock.  I was ready to put him in foster care, or the Boys Town or anything to help him.  Clearly I was ineffective and could no longer help him.  Fortunately, my sister had alot of money and put him in private schools.  He continued to be the brillant child with behavioral problems.  Nothing was changing.  And soon thereafter, he was at my house again.


By the time he became 18, I had him going to several psychiatrists.  Bi-polar, schizoaffective, Uni-polar, and on and on ad nauseum.  He was finally hospitalized and diagnosed with schizophrenia.


Throughout this time, psychiatrists' views varied.  Yes, a child can be diagnosed schizophrenic, no they can't, yes they can, no they can't.  It was ludicrous and horrible.  My son became catatonic, aggressive, cut his wrists to the bone, thought he was the anti-Christ, thought I was poisoning him, thought I was controlling everyone through mind control etc.  He grew into a diagnosable paranoid schizophrenic. 


My point being, had I known then, what I know now, perhaps I could have gotten him the intervention he needed.  Yes, I would have "abandoned" him because I had run out of options and energy.  Yes, I would have been considered one of those horrible mothers.


But please don't judge the moms or dads who have said - I can't do this any more.  They can't do this any more because, unless you go on the Dr. Phil show, doors are slammed in your face and you're faced with an emotional crisis you don't know how to get out of.  I truly believe the problem is systemic.  That society has no compassion for those who are "crazy and talk to themselves" or who don't bathe.  I've been going through this 18 years and I'm still appalled at the lack of support and services.  It terrifies me to think he'll actually be released into the community when he has absolutely no inisight into his illness and he is absolutely helpless to help himself.  He has always had the worst prognosis.  And I love him immeasureably.


But please let the moms or dads do what they need to do without judgment.  They've reached their end.  I truly believe this law is not abused.  It's for the individulas who are in emotional crisis and have absolutely no where to go.  I've lived it.  I know how it feels.

November 7, 2008, 9:42 am CST

Open Adoption

I am a mother of 2 girls ages 14 and 18, I was blessed to wait until I was 23 to begin motherhood.  I felt I was fully prepared.  I could not imagine my 18 year old being a mother at this time.

To the mother who is at her wits end and is considering giving them up.  My husband and I would like to offer a safe home for your two girls. A home that you would be able to visit any time throughout their lives. 


November 7, 2008, 11:15 am CST

ODD is a joke!

I dont buy the ODD-diagnose. It's a joke. I can go right up to my public school and ask all the parents in grade 9. If they dont have kids that makes the ODD criteria, I would be speaking with worried parents.


Of course you guessed that I am not an American. We expect our teenagers to try to test our borders, have mood svings etc. They better get it out of their system now or they will be really bad off once they become adults.


From our TV-channel:


Translated into better English than Google the article states:

[quote]Sober children worries parents


If a teenager does not drink beer with his friends, parents are worried. Therefore they urge their children to go to parties, according to a study from the Center for rusmiddelforskning, writes Jydske West Coast.  (Newspaper) The study is based on interviews with adolescents and their parents in three ninth grades in a small towns in Jutland .  80 percent of students in the three classes had tried to drink alcohol.


Several of the parents of the children who did not participate in the parties, said that it worried them that their children were not involved in the weekend parties.


The survey is conducted by ethnographer Torsten Kolind.


"The fact that young people do not drink, and thus not part of the community, can be a sign that something is wrong," says Torsten Kolind to Jydske West Coast.[/quote]


ODD is a joke and I havn't heard of one single teenager being diagnosed with it.


I guess that this mother could have brought a Scanrail pass, hostel pass and a backpack so she could ship her daughter off to the nordic countries for some real life therapy. We havn't very much of violence here and she will learn that all that trying borders is something that she should be too old for when being 15 years of age. The earn-money instinct should kick in so she could mature.

November 7, 2008, 11:20 am CST

Everyone Needs a Safe Haven

I think that a child at any age should be covered under the safe haven act.  As a child that grew up with a mother that wanted to get rid of her after my fatter died, I have abandonment issues from the emotional abandonment that I suffered.  My mother turned to alcohol to avoid the pain she was in over loosing my father, and often said things to me that still haunt me today in my 30's.  A child that gets abandoned to be placed with a loving family would be better off in the long run in my opinion.  You truly have to look at the best interest of the child.


We have animal shelters in every city so that people can take their pet and drop them off in a safe place instead of throwing them out at a garbage can because we think it is inhumane to abandon them.  No one says that you are a bad person if you get tired of you dog after 5 years and decide to give him away.  I think a child at any age should have the same benefit at the very least, to have a place where they will be looked after and given a chance to find a family that will show them the love that their parent is unable to give them. 


As a mother I can't imagine feeling like the young girl on the show that wants to give her children away, but as the child that became a burden to my mother I hope she does give them to someone that will show them the love that they deserve if she can't give it to them.  It sticks when you are told by your mother that you are a problem for her and that she would be happier without you.  Every relationship I have today is still affected by the voice inside me that keeps repeating those words that I heard as a child. 

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