Adoption is the most common cause of child abandonment, with about one third of all cases involving a single parent. However, children who are abandoned can also experience abandonment due to a variety of reasons, including the demise of both parents or irresponsible fatherhood. There are many other causes of child abandonment, including premature motherhood, death of one or both parents, or birth out of wedlock. Regardless of the cause, these children face an uncertain future.
Adopted children experience profound emotional reactions. During the early years of school, children can no longer deny the reality of abandonment. They begin to feel anger and frustration about the loss of their father or mother. They may also begin to develop self-blame or begin to have problems with school or friends. Several other symptoms of abandonment can be noted as well, including crying, daydreaming, and difficulty with schoolwork. Some children may also engage in a number of destructive behaviors, including self-harm and a lack of confidence.
Children from remote villages are often brought to a city and told to wait for momma. But their mother never returns. They may end up sleeping in doorways or living in dirty conditions. In some cases, they are even taken to the countryside and left in the wild to avoid shame. Even in cities, abandoned children may be thrown out of homes and delivered to orphanages or strangers. It is impossible to keep track of all the children who are left behind.
A multidisciplinary volume presenting a global perspective on abandoned children, this book presents essays that examine a wide variety of issues related to this problem. The introductory essay by Panter-Brick re-examines the concept of abandonment and lends itself to researchers in anthropology, demography, and history. The authors also discuss the history of the concept of child abandonment, and consider its limits. They conclude with a brief discussion of the historical, economic, and sociological contexts of abandoned children.
In Peru, for example, 209 children with malignant solid tumors abandoned their treatment. Bivariate logistic regression analysis revealed that children from poorer areas, those whose parents have no formal employment, and those with retinoblastoma were the most likely to be abandoned. The findings are also applicable to latchkey children who are abandoned by absent parents. They are still considered abandoned. But the lack of contact between parent and child is a huge factor in this situation.
In addition to the psychological effects of abandonment, children raised by abandoned parents often suffer from low self-esteem, emotional dependence, and helplessness. The consequences of abandonment can be severe, and the person accused of deserting a child can face felony and misdemeanor penalties. Abandonment laws vary by state, so check your state’s laws to find out what the penalties are for abandoning a child. Many states include deserting a child within the child abuse statutes, while others have laws specifically targeted at abandoning a child. However, the vast majority of states classify abandonment as a felony.