Abandoned Baby Grows To Be Tech Millionaire: A Look At The Causes And Effects Of Child Abandonment
There are many causes of child abandonment in Nigeria. The chief culprit is poverty. When a parent is financially unable to care for their child, they may decide to abandon the child to fate. Child abandonment is a crime.
Only a few days old, Freddie Figgers was left next to a dumpster in rural Florida. A passerby noticed him in distress and called the police. They took him to a hospital where he stayed for 2 days to recover from his minor injuries. This story leads us to examine the causes of child abandonment in Nigeria.
Once stable, Freddie entered into the foster care system. Nathan and Betty Figgers who lived in nearby Quincy, Florida and already had a daughter of their own, took him in and eventually adopted him.
During his elementary school years, Freddie found his passion for computers. His dad, Nathan, bought Freddie an old 1989 Macintosh at a thrift store for $25 to tinker with.
It worked. At just 9-years-old, Freddie disassembled and reassembled the computer multiple times. Next, he figured out how to use some old radio parts to fix the Macintosh so it would power up.
By 13, Freddie was so good with computers, he began fixing computers for the city of Quincy. By 15, he started his first company out of his parents’ living room called Figgers Computers. He specialized in fixing computers and helping clients store data on servers he created.
By Freddie’s early 20’s, Nathan Figgers developed Alzheimer’s. Before Nathan passed in 2014, Freddie had invented a GPS tracking; two-way communication device to help find and keep track of his dad when he would wander off confused.
Freddie was able to sell his GPS tracking invention to an undisclosed company for $2.2 million in 2012 at age 23. His privately-owned company, Figgers Wireless which sells smartphones and data plans, is worth more than $62 million.
Causes Of Child Abandonment In Nigeria
Abandonment typically refers to a parent's choice to willfully withhold physical, emotional, and financial support from a minor child. In other words, abandonment occurs when the parent fails to fulfill his or her parental responsibilities; and chooses not to have contact with his or her child.
Sadly, parents who abandon their children do it because they believe they are unable to provide the emotional and financial stability the child needs.
Some causes of child abandonment include:
- Mental illness
- Self-doubt as a parent
- Physical disability
- Substance abuse
What happens to an abandoned child
Children who go through such tragic experiences face the risk of several effects. Some of them are:
- Possibility of experiencing abuse and neglect in institutionalized care
- Low self-esteem stemming from feelings of guilt about being at fault for being abandoned
- Separation anxiety: feelings of anxiety about being separated from parents or caregivers
- Attachment issues: difficulty becoming emotionally attached to and trusting other people, especially caregivers
Explaining Abandonment to a Child
If you're raising your children on your own, and the other parent chooses not to be involved; you may anticipate that your kids will eventually start asking some tough questions that you'll need to answer. The following tips can help:
- Respect timeliness. It's tempting to put the conversation off, but if your kids are bringing it up, then they're ready to talk about it.
- Trust yourself. You don't have to have the perfect words planned out. Acknowledge their questions and their hurt. Show empathy and let them know that you're always going to be there, no matter what.
- Find something positive to say about your ex. This can be hard, especially if you're still angry or the separation is fresh. But it's important to remember that your children carry a part of your ex inside them; so you don't want to give them the idea that he or she is "all bad."
- Continue the conversation. Chances are, you're going to have many conversations with your kids about this issue. For them, recognizing and naming the abandonment is just one part of the grieving process. They will likely experience many complex emotions, including sadness and anger, before coming to a point of acceptance; and they're going to need to know all along the way that you're willing to hear them out and be a shoulder to lean on.
How To Prevent Child Abandonment In Our Society
- Providing access to sex education and to family planning resources; like contraception, and abortion can help prevent people who cannot take care of children, or do not want to raise children; from becoming pregnant in the first place.
- Evidence has shown that when bans on abortion are lifted, the number of abandoned, abused, and neglected children goes down in response. However, access is an issue. In Nigeria, abortion is still illegal.
- Governmental can provide help in the form of parental counseling; post-natal services; mental health services, and other community support services. And this is for parents who are at a higher risk of abandoning their children; because of age, support, physical ability, mental illness, or poverty.
Some parents who have withdrawn from their children's lives later recognize their mistakes. And then they wish to seek forgiveness and restore the relationship. In situations where the previously uninvolved parent is able to participate more regularly, the experience can offer some much-needed healing and restoration. If the opportunity arises and you're not sure what to do, consider speaking with a therapist or counselor. Talk to them about your concerns before making a decision.
Also read: My Idea Of What Nigerian Parenting Should Be