Remember the Nebraska child haven fiasco of 2008? The straw that finally broke the law’s back was the dad who dropped not one but NINE of his kids off at a hospital.
Gary Staton’s back in the news, but he’s not getting his kids back. Instead, he’s having ANOTHER one.
Yes, the guy whose story polarized the already intense debate over the since-amended safe haven law (there was no age limit when it was initially passed, but legislators saw fit after Staton and a handfull over others started dropping of teens to drop it down to newborns) has gotten his girlfriend pregnant.
Staton became a single parent in 2007 when his wife, Rebel Jane, died of a cerebral aneurysm just a month after the birth of the youngest of ten kids (the eldest, actually Rebel Jane’s from a previous relationship was eighteen when the drop off occurred – so she was already on her own). After the nine kids brought the frenzy over the safe haven law to a crescendo, Staton spoke out stating he was at his wit’s end with all those mouths to feed and no help. He quit his job to care for the kids, and he had no money to make rent or pay utilities.
His story brought fans to the safe haven law, people who said parents needed someplace to turn when the social welfare system wasn’t doing the job. But he drew criticism when people learned he’d never approached anyone for help (including family members who stepped in after the story became public), and his story of tricking his kids by telling them they were going for grief counseling before he abandoned them didn’t help matters.
So how does a guy who claimed he’d have a vasectomy if he had the thousand dollars end up a father again? Especially when the state of Nebraska has already dished out close to one million dollars to care for the Staton kids since birth, a number that continues to grow as foster parents care for the nine kids (Staton has officially given up custody of seven of them). Even if they are adopted (and two separate women are trying, one of RebelJane’s relatives to keep seven of the kids, another woman to become a mom to two more), the state will still be dishing out money allowed to families who adopt children out of the foster care system.
I felt for Staton when I heard his wife had died, but the fact that he had ten kids to feed was a problem of his own making. Similar to the claims that Jon and Kate Gossein HAD to do a TV show in order to support their massive family, the idea that Staton should get extra sympathy for being unable to afford his big brood is patently ridiculous. You think this out BEFORE the kids come along, folks, not after.
I feel for Staton’s kids, especially those who he has signed away already. They now have to face the fact that their dad has moved on not from the death of their mother but from THEM.
Do you think Staton is fit to parent again?
Image: Omaha World-Herald