October 9th, 2012 – It may be hard to imagine abandoning your own child, but it’s a situation workers at the National Children’s Hospital have become all too accustomed. In most cases, they are abandoned because they either have some sort of illness, or because they are the result of an un-wanted pregnancy.
In 2011, 31 children were abandoned at the hospital. This year so far, the hospital says the number of such children is 19.
“The toughest part is seeing their little faces, expecting their parents to come in through one of the hospital doors, “ said a nurse.
Many of the children are abandoned at birth, their mothers providing a fake address in order to make themselves impossible to locate.
Some of the mothers abandon their children because they are the product of rape. In many cases, mothers abandon them because they have some sort of degenerative illness, requiring doctor appointments or 24-hour care.
While some mothers abandon their child at birth, others sit them on a bench outside the hospital, telling them they will be right back, never to return.
When children are found abandoned, PANI takes over the case. They first try to locate the parents, let them know of their wrongdoing, and if an agreement with them is not met, the child is taken to an orphanage, in which he or she must hope for a good-hearted family to come and adopt them. In many cases, death due to illness comes before their adoption.
Ana Virginia Quesada, chief of the Social Work department, said ”abandonment cases here a bit more complex, I am not justifying anyone in any way, but the situations are sometimes complicated, because the children need surgeries, transportation to appointments, special diets…and families do not always have the resources to cover all of this.”