Thursday, July 07, 2011

Caylee Anthony Could Be Alive If Only...

As little Caylee Anthony's murder is again dominating the news, one can't help but consider how things might be different if only mother Casey Anthony had reached out for help. If only she had placed a call saying "I want to party with friends rather than be tied down as a single mom," or "My daughter needs more than I can provide." What would that look like?

Many young women like Casey who became teen moms reach a point where they realize that they don't want to be a single mom or that their child needs more than they can provide. This realization is not an indicator of a bad mother, but rather an opportunity to explore the best options for the child. Sadly, Casey did not make a choice in the best interest of her daughter. But what if she had?

One phone call to adoption professionals available 24 hours a day who would have asked her questions like:

  • What is going on in your life right now that is causing you to consider a change for your daughter?
  • Would anyone in your family be interested in raising your daughter?
  • Would you like to consider a family who would be open to ongoing contact with you and/or your family? Contact like letters and pictures? Email or Facebook? Maybe even occasional visits?
  • What are your goals? What are your hopes for your daughter?
  • What type of family would you like to adopt your child?
  • What do you want this adoption to look like?
Questions like these are often a reality check for a mother and can help her identify her priorities and her desires for her child. Had Casey reached out, she may have made the decision to permanently place her child with her parents or other family members, or even with another couple who would agree to the type of adoption she might want. She would then have the freedom she desired and Caylee would be alive and happy, growing up a beautiful child who is living the life her mother chose for her.

Why then did Casey not reach out for help?

Likely the answers lie in the reasons that many women do not ask for help when in similar situations. They are ashamed, embarrassed, and fearful of what their family will think of them. They do not want to be seen by others as a "bad mother". Perhaps they have even broached the subject with other family members who indicated they would not support that decision. Usually the result is children who are raised without loving, positive parenting or are eventually taken into the foster system.

Sadly, we will never know what Caylee Anthony might have achieved if she had lived and been placed for adoption. We do however have the opportunity to reach out to other mothers who are struggling and encourage them to consider adoption, letting them know that there is no judgement in exploring adoption or admitting that their child needs more than they can provide.

Let's hope that the next woman who feels as Casey Anthony likely did will make the choice to give her child a future through adoption.

If you or anyone you know are struggling to parent a child or want to explore the options through adoption, please call the caring, compassionate women who staff the National Adoption Answer Line 24 hours a day at 1-800-923-6602.

You can also view waiting families who are ready for an Open Adoption right now.

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