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Woman Jailed For Leaving Toddler In Stroller Outside Restaurant 20 Years Ago Publishes Book With Her Story

In May of 1997, a 30-year-old actress and her boyfriend met for lunch in New York City. The mother left her baby in a stroller asleep outside the restaurant and went inside for a bite to eat. People who noticed the baby was left alone called police and the woman was arrested. Now, 20 years later, she's telling her story, and says all is not what it seems to be. She hopes to challenge people's views.
Anette Sørensen grew up in Denmark, and had her baby in Denmark. In Denmark, it's normal for parents to leave babies in their strollers and carriages outside of stores and restaurants. Parents go in to eat or shop, while little ones sit outside in the fresh air.

"That's just how you do it in Denmark," she explains.

Sørensen had no idea that this was not viewed as normal parenting in New York City, so the young mother was positively shocked when she left her 14-month-old outside of a restaurant and someone called police on her. She talked to the first two officers who showed up and explained it was a culture clash. She was about to leave when a third officer showed up and decided to arrest her.

The police brought Sørensen to jail, and the baby, Liv, was put into foster care for several days. She says the separation was traumatic.

"I didn't know where my child was," said Sørensen. "I don't think there's any greater punishment than to have your child taken away from you."

After Sørensen was released and she was reunited with Liv, the city dropped the charges. Life was never quite the same again, though. The media had grabbed onto the story and Sørensen made headlines. She was slammed by critics and painted as a bad parent. On top of having to deal with the legal issues and the public outcry, she had her own guilt and shame to deal with over the mistake she made that day.

The mother has written a book to share her experience. She's hoping it'll teach people to think before they judge. It's written in her native language, and now she's got a Kickstarter going to have it translated into English.

'A Worm in the Apple' describes her entire experience. "It’s about what happened before, what happened as it happened, and what happened after," she said.

Sørensen sued the city for over $20 million a year after the incident and was awarded more than $66,000, but it was never enough to help her put the issue behind her. She always felt like no one wanted to hear her explanation, and that everyone blew her actions out of proportion. She still feels it was an honest mistake anyone could have made.

"I always had a big longing for an apology. I probably never will get this apology [so] I want to give this [book] back," she explains. "It's a way of getting back what I never got," said Sørensen. "I would like [it] if I could just say what I think."

She hopes to show Americans that the Danish system of parenting is healthier for the child. She doesn’t think it’s good for parents to live in fear of leaving children alone.

Source: Daily Mail
Photo: MailOnline

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