Many children who are abandoned have long-lasting emotional effects, though some recover quickly. The neglect and isolation that an abandoned child experiences disrupts his or her learning. He or she may experience intrusive thoughts or feelings of guilt, resulting in an inability to concentrate or focus on tasks. Some children have a hard time trusting others and may have trouble with self-esteem.
Abandoned children often live in conditions of poverty and neglect, and often do not receive the love and care that a child deserves from their parents. Often, they do not even have proper clothing or food. They may sleep on streets or doorways or live in dirty homes. In the United States, 7,000 children are abandoned every year.
The abandonment of children became an issue in the 1970s, when the divorce rate began to rise. While mothers were awarded physical custody of their children and fathers had visitation rights, they often neglected financial responsibility. In many cases, women had to seek government assistance to provide for their children. In many cases, the children were never reunited with their biological fathers.
Many myths and folktales surround the issue of abandonment. Oedipus is one of the oldest examples in literature. As an infant, Oedipus is abandoned by a herdsman in the hills. In time, the child grows up to marry his biological mother. The story is also a powerful example of the emotional effects of neglect and abandonment on children.
The legality of abandoning a child is determined by many factors. The child’s maturity, the environment in which the child lives, and its sense of safety are all factors that must be accounted for. In some states, a parent who abandons a child can face criminal penalties. However, in other states, adult witnesses may be able to report suspected cases of child abuse, without needing to prove the abuse.
A child’s biological mother can choose to place the child for adoption, though the biological father must be willing to participate in the adoption. This can be a difficult process, especially if the biological father is not involved in the child’s life. However, state laws regarding child abandonment will allow the adoption to proceed if the biological father consents to it. If the biological father is not willing, the child’s biological father may not be found at all.
The fear of abandonment is often rooted in a childhood experience. The child may have been neglected or not given enough attention. A child who has experienced abandonment often experiences a sense of helplessness, low self-esteem, and emotional dependence. Abandoning a child is illegal and can lead to felony or misdemeanor charges.