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.



Your Calling: Truth

by Skip Heitzig | December 8, 2020

Toward the end of his life, the apostle Paul foresaw the abandonment of truth, even in the church, and gave his young protégé Timothy this antidote: “Preach the word!” (2 Timothy 4:2). Paul then offered three directives to help us sharpen our spiritual vision and anchor ourselves in God’s Word:

1. Be concerned about knowing the truth. Spiritual blindness is a metaphor for the unwillingness or inability to see spiritual truth. Over time, things we once saw clearly can become hazy, whether that’s because of life experiences or our own sin. This happens easily in a culture in crisis, where the cynical regularly question truth, as Pilate did (see John 18:38). Lines can become blurred in the church, too. That’s not a new development; Satan has always used non-truth as a tactic (see Genesis 3:1).

But we sharpen our spiritual vision when we concern ourselves with knowing spiritual truth. Paul mentioned truth eleven times throughout 1 and 2 Timothy. In 2 Timothy 4 alone, he talked about “the word” (v. 2), “teaching” (v. 2), “sound doctrine” (v. 3), and “the truth” (v. 4). Truth is tied to doctrine, which in its simplest form means strong biblical teaching. Christians are to be people of the truth, because Jesus is “the truth” (John 14:6). That means we are accountable for our knowledge of biblical truth (see Hosea 4:6; Acts 2:42; 1 Timothy 4:13; Titus 2:1).

2. Be cautious about neglecting the truth. Our culture has largely rejected truth, mainly because sensationalism has become more important than facts and truth is considered personal, which means it can shift depending on the situation. But think about it: if someone says, “There is no absolute truth,” they are making an absolute statement, which is a self-contradictory and self-defeating declaration.

Now, we might expect that sort of thinking from our culture, but keep in mind that Paul wrote 2 Timothy as a warning not for unbelievers but for believers who were turning from the truth. Christianity is always one generation from extinction. It starts in the pulpit when pastors who don’t believe the Bible is the literal Word of God don’t preach the full truth of it. This problem leads to “itching ears” (v. 3), as preachers feed the desire for novelty over a need for truth. God’s people starve when pastors pander to what people want to hear rather than what they need to hear.

3. Be careful about nurturing the truth. Paul warned Timothy, “But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (v. 5). Paul was calling Timothy to hold to truth and sound doctrine, feeding on it for himself and then sharing it. The Greek word for sound is related to our word hygienic; in other words, preaching good, true doctrine promotes healing and health.

And preaching carries the idea of an imperial messenger making a proclamation with authority. Timothy’s mission was to preach the truth of the true King—Jesus. As Christians, this is our calling, too: to believe the truth, love the truth, speak the truth, teach the truth, and live the truth, always pointing others to the one true King.