MISHAWAKA, IN- We love this story. In a day and age where it is easy to find stories slamming law enforcement, it is gratifying to see one where the good side of police officers is showcased.
Such is the case in Mishawaka, Indiana, where a local police officer have adopted a child abandoned by her birth mother in something called a “Safe Haven Baby Box.”
Where in the past mothers who wished to surrender their newborns often ended up with the child passing away from hunger, exposure or worse, the baby boxes provide a means for such a mother to surrender their child in a safe manner.
Below is the alternative to Baby Boxes:
“The doctor thought maybe less than 24 hours old when she was initially surrendered in the Safe Haven box in Lake County,” Shelby told WNDU. “We are so grateful for Myah’s birth mom; she made a really courageous decision.”
Myah is the second baby adopted by the couple. In March of this year, they finalized the adoption of 8-year-old Kaia, adopted through a DCS program. Only weeks after Kaia’s adoption was finalized, DCS called and said they had a small infant who needed a new home.
Safe Haven Baby Boxes, WNDU explained, are temperature-controlled “boxes” which sound an alarm when infants are placed inside, thereby alerting local firefighters. When removed from the box, the baby is checked by paramedics and taken to the hospital for evaluation.
The program is designed for typically young mothers who may not have the means or the willingness to care for their newborn, and provides an anonymous way to surrender their child with no questions asked. The outlet reports that newborns who are surrendered in such a manner are typically adopted in a month or so.
In the case of Myah, she was admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit, where it was determined the young baby had suffered a stroke. Now however, the Faltynski’s say Myah is doing very well, and is meeting all her expected milestones.
In July, WTHR reported that the baby boxes had been used six times just over a year after they were opened to the public.
In the sixth such case, a newborn baby girl was surrendered outside a fire station in Schererville, a northwestern Indiana town located in Lake County. In that case, the child was checked by paramedics and taken to a local hospital for a precautionary evaluation, the Schererville Fire Department said.
“We want the mother involved to know that this infant will be taken care of, will be loved, and will have a great life,” the fire department said in a post.
The baby boxes are part of Indiana’s Safe Haven Law, which allows a mother to surrender a healthy infant safely and anonymously under 30 days of age with no fear of criminal prosecution.
After a medical evaluation, such children are then surrendered to the custody of the Indiana Department of Child services, who then try to find adoptive parents for the infant.
According to WTHR, there are 121 baby box locations across the country, with 89 being in Indiana. A majority of the box locations are in the Midwest, with other locations in Arizona, New Mexico and Florida.
Ironically, the Baby Box in Mishawaka was only blessed and dedicated on Sept 28.
“There’s tons of options for parents out there,” said Monica Kelsey, founder and CEO of Safe Haven Baby Box. “[The mother] can call us at our crisis hotline 1-866-99BABY1. It’s on the front of every box, it’s on our website. But there are options. This is a final option. We don’t want you to choose this first, but if you have exhausted all of your other options, we want you to choose this last.”
Kelsey also noted that babies are “attended to within five minutes” and “usually adopted within 30 to 45 days.”
The Indiana measure is similar to a law in California, the Safely Surrendered Baby Program. Both would seem to be a viable alternative to the barbaric practice of abortion, allowing innocent babies to live, while providing a means for those who may not be able to have children the opportunity to adopt one.
The California law was put into place in 2006, and allows parents or persons with lawful custody of an infant to surrender the child within 72 hours of birth with no questions asked.
Under that law, a child is required to be taken to either a public or private hospital, designated fire station, or other safe surrender site as determined by the local County Board of Supervisors. The California measure gives the parent or person with lawful custody 14 days from time of surrender to reclaim the child.