toddler shoesTwo years ago a mother gave birth to a baby girl and then three weeks later abandoned the baby to her stepfather. Now authorities say they've located that mother, and she may be returning to claim her daughter after all this time. Little Haddile has already had an unstable life. She was removed from her stepfather's care over abuse charges and has been living with a foster family. Her foster parents would like to adopt her, but they may never get the chance.

This story raises some uncomfortable questions about what rights a birth mother should have. If you abandon your baby, can you really return two years later and claim your child again? How long is too long to reunite with your child? What about the people who have been loving and caring for the child, and what about the child's attachment to them?

The case is even more complicated because while the baby was born in Sweden, the mother is French-Algerian and has been living in France. I have no idea what the laws in either country are, but I'm alarmed for the little girl regardless.

Haddile's case worker says he doesn't know what her birth parents' intentions are -- whether they want to take the girl back home with them, or if they just want to meet her. A DNA test was conducted to prove that they are indeed her parents, so that's not in question. We don't know why her parents abandoned her, either. Perhaps the baby was actually the result of an affair, and the mother fled because she was afraid her husband (the stepfather) would be angry with her. But still, why leave the baby behind?

So many questions. But the most important one is what's best for the 2-year-old. Kids are resilient, but her mother missed out on some key developmental phases. Haddile has lived with her foster parents for most of her life, so she's probably firmly attached to them. Tearing her from that family would be traumatic for her. Again, I have no idea if the birth mother wants to claim her daughter or not, but I hope for Haddile's sake, she stays with the family who wanted her all along, and who has been loving her all this time.

Do you think a mother should be able to reclaim a baby she abandoned years ago?

 

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