Abandoned teddy bear, Author Ryan Hodnett (CC BY-SA 4.0 International)

WARNING:  Graphic Images

Brittany Gosney, a 29 y.o. Ohio woman charged with murdering her 6 y.o. son James Hutchinson, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity [1]. 

In a confession now being contested, Gosney alleged that her boyfriend, James Hamilton, urged her to abandon all three of her children.  She proceeded to do this, leaving the children in a parking lot at Rush Run Wildlife Area.  The youngest grabbed the car door as Gosney gunned the engine, and was apparently dragged. 

Gosney turned the vehicle around to check on the boy, and found he was dead.  She then loaded the body and her two living children (7 y.o. and 9 y.o.) back into the car, and returned home.  Gosney and Hamilton later tossed the little boy’s remains into the Ohio River, and attempted to pass his absence off as a disappearance.


Child abandonment is the practice of relinquishing interest in and legal rights over one’s children in an illegal manner, the intention being never to resume guardianship [2A].  As in the Gosney case, this is often done in such a reckless way that the children’s welfare and their very lives are placed at risk.

The term “abandonment” is generally used to describe physical abandonment of a child.  It can, also, however, include severe neglect and emotional abandonment, as when parents fail to provide financial and/or emotional support to  minor children for a prolonged period of time.

Apart from the damage severe neglect can cause, this particular form of abandonment may expose a child to sexual abuse by other adults with whom the child then comes into contact.  It is not unheard of for addicted parents to trade their young children to sex traffickers in exchange for drugs.

Reasons for Abandonment

The reasons for abandonment can include poverty and homelessness; shame at an out of wedlock pregnancy; mental illness; narcissism; and substance abuse [2B].

Female children may be abandoned where males are preferred.  Children with congenital disorders may be abandoned by parents unable or unwilling to care for them properly.

None of these justify abandonment.

“Most mothers are familiar with the feeling – for some it’s more fleeting than for others – of total exhaustion, frustration, a sense of being overwhelmed by duty and the responsibility of raising children.  Maybe some indulge in a momentary fantasy of running away [3A].”

An increasing number of mothers are abandoning their children on the basis of stress [3B].  According to the US Census Bureau, the number of single fathers had risen to over 2 million by 2011 [3C].  The burden of parenting falls heavily on the shoulders of single mothers.  Not that this justifies abandonment either.


When a child is not loved, mirrored, and properly cared for that child will feel abandoned regardless of whether parents are there physically or not [4].  The child learns to take responsibility for parental neglect, and translates it into “proof” that s/he is at fault.

A child who has been abandoned and survives is likely to have low self-esteem; separation anxiety; and abandonment issues ranging from clinginess, nightmares, or insomnia to anger issues, eating disorders, and substance abuse [2C].

The child may have attachment issues and difficulties with trust.  Depending on the circumstances, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is, also, a possibility.


Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness” (Lam 3: 22-23).

All this is in sharp contrast to God’s faithfulness.  We may have been rejected and abandoned when we should have been loved.  But we are NEVER abandoned by God [5].

[1]  Law and Crime, “Woman Who Allegedly Murdered 6-Year-Old Son While Trying to Abandon Him Pleads Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity” by Alberto Luperon, 3/22/21, https://lawandcrime.com/crime/woman-who-allegedly-murdered-6-year-old-son-while-trying-to-abandon-him-pleads-not-guilty-by-reason-of-insanity/ .

[2A, 2B, and 2C]  Wikipedia, “Child abandonment”, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_abandonment.

[3A, 3B, and 3C]  CNN, “Why there are more walk-away moms” by Peggy Drexler, 5/6/13, https://www.cnn.com/2013/05/04/opinion/drexler-mothers-leaving/index.html.

[4]  Psychological Healing Center, “Narcissism” by Yitz Epstein, 12/20/18,  https://psychologicalhealingcenter.com/narcissism-and-the-abandonment-wound/.

[5]  God is there for the single mother, as He is for her child.



Filed under Child Abuse, Child Molestation, Christianity, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Poverty, Religion, sex trafficking, Sexual Abuse

16 responses to “Abandonment

  1. What a sad but necessary read.

  2. Francisco Bravo Cabrera

    All I can say Anna is that I am appalled by such behaviour. That they are insane? I don’t buy it. That they are possessed? Most probably… I had the opportunity to work Child Exploitation Unit when I was on the force, but after talking to a colleague that worked it for 2 years, I turned it down. There is nothing worse than gratuitous crimes against children.

  3. It is shocking to think of parents abandoning their children, and putting their lives at risk. I’m not sure how the child ever recovers from something like that. Even if they are later placed in a sensitive, secure and loving I imagine the scars will remain for the rest of their lives.

  4. Es ist wirklich entsetzlich, aber leider ist das keine Ausnahme.

  5. I can relate to a child abandon in some state of my country. Population or unwanted childbirth, gender discrimination is a major cause here. Male dominating society has made the other unrestrained. This post is an eye-opener I hope soon these things be ended.

  6. Pingback: Abandonment – NarrowPathMinistries

  7. Pingback: Pastor Lee Jong-Rak And His Babybox (Unsung Heroes Part-7) - Aspiring Blog

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