Don’t abandon your children

by Rusty Lindquist on January 25, 2011 · 4 comments

Today Nebraska lawmakers voted (43-5) to change the state safe-haven law.  All 50 states have these safe-haven laws, allowing parents to leave infants at a hospital anonymously without fear of prosecution.  They were passed in an effort to prevent unwanted babies from being abandoned in less safe locations.

But when Nebraska set up their law, they failed to provide an age limit.  The result is that people have been driving even from out of state, just to drop of their children.  They’ve come from Michigan, Indiana, Iowa, and even Florida.

Since September, when the law took effect, they’ve already had thirty five children dropped off, all but six of them older than 10.  Today the Senate held an emergency session to change the law.

But is there a problem with the law, or is there a problem with society?

Full disclosure, having myself been abandoned by my father when I was about 2 and by my mother when I was 11, I have strong feelings on the matter that may cloud my vision.

But to me this whole scenario has exposed a terrible flaw in society, and this is just the tip of the iceburg (granted, one of the more atrocious illustrations of this flaw).  To me it speaks to the dramatic deterioration of the family.  

As a society have we come to so disregard the family?  Unwanted and out of wedlock pregnancies abound because of this disregard.  And as a society how do we rate this.  It’s strange to me that anyone can have a child and we have laws allowing them to abandon them at will at a hospital, but I have to have a license to catch a fish.  There’s something innately wrong with that.

Are there scenarios where it may be in everyone’s best interest for a child to live somewhere else?  Perhaps (far be it from me to judge each scenario), but it should be done with extreme trepidation, care, prayerful consideration, inspired guidance, and using appropriate channels (for there are worthy parents out there who are willing and anxious to care for these children).  But what kind of solution is it to simply walk away from the problem.  Especially when that walking away is from your very children, who love you, and look to you for support.

What kind of culture does that create? What kind of message and habit does that perpetuate? 

Families are ordained of God.  It’s central to His plan for the eternal destiny of His children.  Families are the mortar of society, and anything that would weaken those bonds (including the dereliction of duty by parents) threatens not only society but our own exaltation.

The protection and preservation of the family is not only crucial to those who have their own families, but to every individual, for families form the fabric of eternity, and our eternal destinies are interwoven in that fabric, regardless how isolated we may feel or try to become.  The hearts of the children MUST turn to their fathers, and the hearts of the fathers MUST turn to their children.  There is immeasurable and ill-understood power in these relationships both on this side of the veil and beyond.

This same eternal and divine power that binds us together as relatives, is the very power that will strengthen you, support you, and give even the most weary parents the emotional and spiritual sustenance they need to overcome even the most daunting of life’s many challenges.

So if you are one who is struggling against such challenges, and considering such a dramatic course of action, let me speak to you clearly.  There is no challenge beyond which the Lord has power to help you overcome.  Do not turn away from your family.  Instead, turn to them, and experience the infinite power that is available to those who endeavor to strengthen those family bonds, instead of breaking them.  Turn inward, not outward, and you’ll find strength and support from the Lord in ways that you may have never imagined.

Families are eternal.  Let them not be so easily broken by such temporary strains, no matter how difficult they may seem at the time.


If you haven’t already, just read “The Family:  A proclamation to the World” and let your soul reflect upon the words of a latter-day prophet.



P.S.  News on the issue can be found here, and here.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Margaret D November 22, 2008 at 12:51 PM

Rusty, even though I approach this subject from a different perspective than yours, I wholeheartedly agree with you! Every child has the right to be born into a family where there is a man and a woman who are married, love each other, love their children, and strive to give them all they need to be healthy and happy. In an ideal world, that is how it would be. Unfortunately, we do not live in an ideal world. People have kids that are ill prepared and sometimes don’t even want them. Some have mental illness, extreme poverty, or live in other difficult circumstances. Some environments are toxic for kids.

I have had the honor of raising 2 kids who were abandoned by their biological parents in another country. The oldest was abandoned at birth and by the time we got her, she was 14 months old and had lived in 3 foster homes. The second was abandoned by her family at age 2 and lived in an orphanage for 6 months. As young as they were, they both have scars from those early experiences. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to be abandoned at age 11. In spite of all you have been through, you have become an amazing, awesome person! I think the Lord takes special care of abandoned children, and if they allow Him, He makes up for all the deficiencies in their lives.

Mine are both married, loving mothers, and are honest, hard working, productive members of society. I am very proud of what they have become, in spite of their rough beginnings. I feel like we were catalysts in helping them to reach their potential.

One thing we have tried to help them do is forgive their biological parents. Our oldest has no desire to meet hers. Our second one was able to visit her birth country and see how she would have lived had she stayed there. I think both of them can see that life has been better here than it would have been there, and have decided their parents did the right thing. It must have been a difficult thing for the parents, too.

I think parents who abandon their children must go through a lot of anguish and desperation before they make that decision. Most of the time, they think they are doing what’s best for their children. The step they are often missing is asking for help so their circumstances can change and they can keep those children. In their hopeless state, they often can’t see that step.

I know the Lord can heal children and parents. Perhaps, in some cases, it is not His will that they be together. I have to believe that adoption is sometimes the way those like us can become parents.

I pray that the Lord will bless all the desperate parents out there, and the children who have been abandoned, abused or neglected, and heal those deep wounds and feelings of guilt and replace them with love.


2 Rusty Lindquist November 24, 2008 at 6:45 PM


Thanks for sharing. As you can imagine, I have a special place in my heart for those who adopt children. I’ve often wondered why it is that some people are unable to have children, whether for certain periods of time, or at all. I tend to think that it’s because God knew just what you said, that some people inevitably would give up their children, and those children need homes and families that are led and loved by the most willing and able of parents.

All parents are required to sacrifice, but those who adopt find themselves confronted with many more levels of sacrifice than are required by most. It’s a level of sacrifice and commitment not all would be willing to give, or even could give. Thus, those who cannot have their own children, except through adoption, are likely some of the Father’s most capable and chosen parents. Any way you cut it, parents who adopt, are a godsend.


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