Friday, September 26, 2008

Dad becomes Robin Hood for kids

As I thought it would, a more complete story came out about the Nebraska dad who dropped off his nine kids at a hospital. By now, I'm sure you've heard that his wife died soon after delivering their youngest child, and he's been on his own with their 10 kids--they have an 18-year-old daughter who he didn't drop off--for about a year now, and he simply became overwhelmed.

After his wife died, he quit his job to take care of the kids, but then couldn't pay the bills, and it sounds like one thing led to another. Although I did make light of it yesterday, this is a serious story with good news and bad news. The good news is that the dad had somewhere to turn to for his kids when he needed it. The bad news is that he sounds like he's going through a real low point in mourning the loss of his wife, and can't figure a way out of it.

He said, "I hope they know I love them. I hope their future is better without me around them." While I suppose there are those who would tell him to man up and to take responsibility for his own situation, I can't help but feel this is one of those times when it's going to take a village, when no matter how much he mans up and takes responsibility, he's still going to need help.

I lost Mom two years ago, and it still affects me every day. Hell, my dad died 24 years ago, and it still hits me so hard sometimes that I have to sit down on the floor. Even so, I can only imagine the depth of the hurt that this dad is suffering having lost his spouse, his life partner, his coparent, his everything. From my experiences, I can understand his feeling that there's no hope for the future, and I'm heartened that he feels enough hope for his children to hand them safely off while he works through his grief.

And I certainly hope that he's able to work through this safely, weaving together whatever threads of hope he can with the help of those who love him until he can feel their comfort embrace him. One thread of hope he may feel today is that he took care of his kids the right way rather than turning to bank robbery.

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  1. Anonymous10:48 PM

    I knew there had to be more to that story. I don't think it's humanly possible to take care of 9 kids all by yourself, even with an 18-year-old to help out. That poor man. Where's the support network the gubmint said would help people like this, in all its compassionate-conservative, faith-based glory? Where are this dad's church, his extended family, his neighbors? And those poor children. This whole thing will be with them for the rest of their lives.

  2. Well yes, it's got to be hard. Grammy comes from a family larger than that, although she had both of her parents for quite awhile, and whenever I ask Great Grammy how they did it, she says that the older ones help raise the younger ones. Without that help, I'm not sure that it is possible, and this dad was in a different place, time and situation. As for the whereabouts of the dad's community support, it's hard to say where they were. I had many of the same questions that you did. However, often people who are depressed--and mourning often presents with all the symptoms of depression--put on a brave face to the world because of the stigma attached to depression. It could be that nobody around him knew how bad it was.

  3. in TX, the safe baby drop off site is only for kids 30 days old or less.

  4. 9 kids. That in itself is overwhelming. If he was working all that time, he probably didn't know how his wife worked things around the house. He is in mouring, as are all those kids too. I still don't know what to do with my sudden bursts of tears over seemingly nothing. Okay, I frequently cry when reading your blog too. You are not alone.

  5. L-P: Yeah, it's interesting as Nebraska debates this to figure out where you draw that line...and what facilities are in place to give families the support they need so they don't get to the point where they feel that dropping off their kids is the only solution.

    KMoo: You're not alone. My writing makes many people cry. Particularly English teachers and other people who know something about good writing.