The Effects of Child Abandonment
While economic hardship is a leading cause of abandonment, families are not always broken up. In the first half of 1998, the South Korean government reported that 2,348 children were sent to welfare facilities, an increase from the previous year’s 826 cases. Although the majority of abandoned children come from impoverished households, many are rescued from their situation. The two daughters of a wealthy American couple were left unattended for ten days over the Christmas holidays. The girls’ neighbor noticed the girls living alone and took them in to help them.
During the early school years, children are no longer able to deny the reality of abandonment and are acutely aware of their pain. Boys mourn their fathers, while girls are angry with their mothers. These children often exhibit behaviors such as crying, daydreaming, and having problems at school and with their friends. Despite their age, they are still extremely vulnerable to abuse. Regardless of the reasons for the abandonment, the effects of abandonment can be devastating for a child.
While abandonment is a rare occurrence in the UK, it is still a grave crime in many countries. In many countries, safe haven laws are in place to protect children from harm. These laws protect babies left in designated places, such as hospitals, from being abused. ‘Baby hatches’ allow parents to anonymously give up their children. The United Nations has condemned this practice, but it is becoming more common in developing nations, such as China.
Although child abandonment is widespread, there are varying degrees of cultural, geographic, and historical context. There are no comprehensive monographs, edited volumes, or other types of scholarly works on abandoned children. Even though the depth of the topic varies, Panter-Brick and Smith 2000 provide a wide-ranging overview of abandoned children in different contexts. The book includes essays on Western children as well as non-Western ones.
Children in the early stages of childhood can no longer deny the fact that their parent has been abandoned. They are acutely aware of the pain and lack of identity of their parents. Adopted children have low self-esteem and can become angry and depressed. They may also have difficulty with schoolwork and friends. Some of these symptoms can develop into the more severe forms of the syndrome. They can lead to a child’s suicide, so it is important to take the time to identify and address these issues as quickly as possible.
Adoption is the most common cause of child abandonment. Its prevalence is not only due to societal factors but also to a lack of resources. The incidence of child abandonment is high in the UK but is much lower in other countries. The UK has no safe haven laws for babies who are abandoned by their parents. Some countries have adopted ‘baby hatches’, which allow parents to anonymously abandon their children. However, these laws are not universal, and some countries have no laws at all.