Abandoned Babies: Finders Keepers?

One of the most grim and tragic news stories in any country or state are the stories of abandoned babies. It is hard for most people to imagine being in such a desperate and dire fear that is solved by the abandonment of our own children. What happens to these abandoned children and is it possible to adopt a found infant?

What is the Safe Haven Law?

Safe Haven laws, also known as  "Baby Moses Laws", are laws which allow women to safely surrender a newborn, usually up to 30 days old. Each state has its own version of this law; some of them have been highly controversial. In some states, such as Nebraska, the laws allow a parent to abandon any child under the age of 18 to the state without being prosecuted.

What Do The Parents Do With The Children They Abandoned?

Naturally, a child has to be abandoned the right way. Not abandoning the child legally will result in prosecution. In order to abandon an infant (or child of any age if the state allows) legally, the child should be transported to a safe surrender site which is usually a hospital, fire station, or police station in most states.

Can You Adopt an Abandoned Baby If You Found Him or Her?

It is easy to understand how many people can feel as though the child appeared in their lives for a reason and may want adopt the child for themselves. Chances are, unless you are already set up and waiting as adoptive parents, it could be as long as 12 to 18 months to adopt the child. The one upside to adopting an abandoned child as opposed to one who has been taken from his or her parents is you do not have to wait until parental rights are terminated. The rights are automatically terminated when the child is abandoned.

You Could Become a Foster or Adoptive Parent of a Child You Did Not Find

It is also possible to become a foster home or adoptive parent to an abandoned child, even if you have never found one. Once the paperwork has been filed, it is possible to inform your caseworker that you would like to adopt an abandoned child. They may be able to refer you to agencies that place abandoned infants.

Abandoned children may need specialized care throughout their life and it is important to remember that the rule is not "finders, keepers." The child may be suffering from an underlying issue stemming from the abandonment. Once in the system, they will also be placed in foster homes that are equipped to deal with their specialized needs. This is not to say, however, that someone who has found a baby has never adopted the same one. It has happened but only after the baby was surrendered safely to a hospital. Contact a family lawyer like one from Mills & Mills Law Group for more information.