Abandoned Babies

Will there be more with Roe v Wade being overturned ?

A story making national news recently is about a baby found, wrapped in a towel in a stroller outside of an apartment complex, by a Coeur d’Alene Idaho resident when they left for work around 6 am.

A woman, identified as an adoptee named Webster, in this youtube news story, is quoted saying “We are living in a time where people feel like they are alone and they don’t have a support system or a net under them.”

If you are considering abandoning your baby, you likely are experiencing many different thoughts and emotions as well as being faced with one of the toughest decisions of your life. You might have one or more of these factors occurring in your life –

  • Have a history of substance use and are afraid to share that information
  • Not have proper documentation to live in the United States and fear being deported  
  • Be living with a mental illness or facing postpartum depression  
  • Be afraid of the baby’s father or worried about what your loved ones might say   

If you are desperate for help, you may see no other option but to abandon your baby. Perhaps, you even wonder what happens to abandoned babies after they’re found?    

There are really only three ways a woman can abandon her baby:  

  • A prospective birth mother can work with an adoption agency to make an adoption plan for her baby. This is one legal way a woman can release her baby from her responsibility to care for it.
  • With Safe Haven laws, women have the option to safely, legally, and anonymously leave their baby, unharmed, at a safe haven location — like a hospital, fire station, or a church.   
  • Even so, some women, feeling completely overwhelmed and unaware of the first two options, will take drastic measures, such as the case with this abandoned baby, leaving them in an unsafe condition.  

The way a baby is surrendered will affect what happens to the infant afterwards. Babies who are abandoned in an unsafe location often have tragic outcomes because help comes too late. Babies that are found safely, after they’ve been abandoned or surrendered to a safe haven location, become a ward of the state.

Safe Haven babies are typically checked out by a doctor and, if necessary, given medical care. Afterward, the state’s social services department is contacted. Once that happens, the baby will be placed into foster care and become a ward of the state. In some situations, a private adoption agency might be contacted.  

When a woman does not contact an adoption agency for assistance or use the Safe Haven law locations, if she can be located and identified, criminal charges will be filed against her. That is why the police in Coeur d’Alene Idaho are actively seeking information about who the woman may have been.

Do-Gooders

Social workers have been the rank and file workers in the world of adoption, endowing them with authority and expertise was a prerequisite for the professionalization of adoption. Making sure that family-formation would be overseen by professionals was an important part of making adoption modern. Therapeutic perspectives on child placement and adoption grew out of a convergence between social work and science.

In the circumstances surrounding my mom’s surrender and adoption, there were three women who were part of the early profession of social work – whether by education to obtain a degree or simply by choice.

Georgia Tann, who headed the Memphis branch of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society, was the central figure in our family’s adoption history. Juvenile Court Judge Camille Kelley was actively involved in a “social work” perspective as she practiced her legal work centered on juvenile delinquency, family stability and child removal. Georgia Robinson, was the superintendent of the Porter-Leath Orphanage, who agreed to take my mom in temporarily while my grandmother tried to get on her feet. She betrayed both my mom and my grandmother by alerting Georgia Tann, who had a customer waiting for precisely the kind of infant my mom was dating back to before she had even been born in Virginia.

I think of them as the original do-gooders and it is likely that they did some good. However power and money eventually corrupted all of them, resulting in an investigation that included pending criminal charges.

Georgia Tann died 3 days before those criminal charges were to be filed and all of the movers and shakers in Memphis were happy to forget all about it.

H L Mencken is quoted saying – “Whenever A annoys or injures B on the pretense of improving or saving X, A is a scoundrel.” There were scoundrels in Memphis from the 1930s through the 1950s.