Nobody knows where she came from. A nameless toddler was abandoned on a stranger's doorstep in South Carolina this week. Her hair was braided and her ears pierced. She was wearing a Dora the Explorer outfit with a t-shirt reading "Auntie loves me." A note written on a diaper said to "Call DCAF," likely referring to child services. Strangest of all, the girl has what appear to be heart surgery scars on her chest.
The lost girl was wearing 24 month-size clothes and could be two or three years old. No one even knows what her name is. The person upon whose doorstep the child was left has no idea what possible connection they might have with her. The sad story of her abandonment is a mystery.
Many states, including South Carolina, have "safe surrender" laws allowing parents to give up their babies. It's usually just for newborns, though. After that, the window closes. So what if you reach that unhappy conclusion later on? In this case, at least it seems like the parent was trying to be responsible with the child and had hopes that she would be cared for by someone else. We can't really judge since we don't know their story.
But what can a parent do if they feel like they can't handle being parents -- and they figure that out long after the child is a newborn? So many people seem to have no business being parents and wind up abusing or neglecting their kids. So if they can't get it together, what are the alternatives?
(P.S. "Don't Have One" is not an answer. Too late. We're talking about AFTER the kid exists, not magical reversal thinking.)
Once your child is older, you have to work through the system and contact your local social services. I'm sure it's an intimidating, demoralizing process. Every state is different, but I think your circumstances would have to be extreme before they'd allow you to surrender your child. If you feel like your child is in immediate danger it's best to call 911 -- maybe that's what this child's parent could have done.
Have you ever known someone who surrendered their baby?
Image via Anderson County Sheriff’s Office