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Monday, December 28, 2015
As 2015 comes to a close, I am reminded of how blessed I am. From a family who loves me and friends who would do anything for me to just being alive. This, however, hasn't always been the case. Six years ago, I didn’t look at my life as a gift. I looked at it as a source of humiliation and shame--all due to the circumstances surrounding my birth.
When my birthmother pulled out a police report and told me that I was conceived through rape, I was devastated. This was not what I was told while growing up as an adopted child of loving parents. From the very first moment that my parents told me I was adopted, I was reassured that my birth parents were young and in love, but were still in school and couldn't care for a baby, thus the decision to put me up for adoption. I was a loved and wanted child of two people who loved each other. That is what I have believed for 37 years. How could I have spent the last 37 years of my life living a lie? So many questions raced through my mind, but answers were in short supply.
After a few days of denial, I resolved to prove my birth mother's story a piece of fiction. The last thing in the world that I wanted was for this circumstance to define my life.
I started my search for answers at the police station that took my birth mother's report of rape more than 30 years previously. My quest for answers continued as my husband and I walked the streets of the town that my birth father called home. My husband, armed with a video camera, documented our every step. Although I wasn't quite sure what motivated his desire to video tape this encounter, today I am thankful for the footage. I have to say that the more that I learned about the circumstances surrounding my conception, the more deeply depressed I became. I remember thinking to myself that I didn’t want this to be my life, my story. I only desired to be the wanted and loved child of my birth parents, not a child thrust into this world by an act of violence.
After fact-finding missions at the court house, police station, library, hospital and health department, I still had doubts about her story. Not because the evidence didn't exist; it was there, in abundance, and all pointing toward the truth of my birth mother's story, a truth I refused to face. In a last ditch effort marked by desperation and pain, I arrived on the doorstep of my biological father's house. I just wanted someone to deny this horrible truth and tell me it was going to be okay. Naturally, I turned to the one person who would surely deny it.
My husband, camera rolling, and I drove past his home four times as I summoned the courage to stop. Although patient with the whole process, my husband's agitation was beginning to show. As we drove by his house one last time, we noticed a woman on a ladder painting a garage. I looked at my husband and said "Okay, it's time; let’s stop."
With the camera still rolling, we pulled into the driveway. The woman turned around to see who it was and then began to descend the steps of the ladder. My husband and I got out of our car and walked up the drive. My first words were “Hi, I’m Monica." That was all it took. There was no hand shake, no “it’s nice to meet you," nothing. She stared at me and coldly said, "I know who you are and you’re not welcome here."
This woman turned out to be my birth father's wife, who had been married to him for many years. She went on to tell me that I was ruining their lives and that he didn’t want to be my “father," all the while throwing in a few choice insults for good measure.
As she continued to call me names, my husband stepped in and calmly said, "Do you realize that this has nothing to do with Monica? You are blaming an innocent victim for your husband’s crime.”
Grabbing my hand in a quick reassuring squeeze, my husband then escorted me back down the drive toward our car, with my birth father's wife following close behind, calling me names and telling us to leave their family alone. Shaken, we reached the relative safety of the car. As my husband started the engine, he looked at me and said "You know this isn’t your fault, right?"
We drove down the road for about a mile when my husband stopped the car and gently pulled me into his arms. The remainder of the ride home was quiet and long and full of tears.
I didn’t get to meet my birthfather that day, but I did receive a phone call from him that evening. I finally got the denial I was looking for. My birthfather went on to tell me that there was two men with the same name and that he was the wrong guy. I explained that I had his birthdate, social security number and I didn’t believe him. I am not sure what changed me after hearing the words of denial come out of his mouth, but I suddenly became very defensive and adamantly defended my birth-mother. I then asked him for a DNA test which he agreed to do. This would settle it once and for all. We scheduled a date to have the DNA test done at a hospital two weeks out.
After a few weeks of riding an emotional rollercoaster, the final proof of my new reality arrived at my doorstep in the guise of a letter. It was from the attorney hired by my biological father. This letter advised me to stay away from my birthfather and his family and I finally had the answers that I was looking for, he was my birthfather and I was his daughter. I was forced to face the facts. No matter how much I tried, no matter how much I didn’t want this new life--my life-- this was the one I was given. It didn’t matter how much I prayed to be the wanted and loved child of my birth parents. The harsh reality is that I was not.
One long, dark day stretched into another until my husband finally came to me and said, "Monica, enough is enough. I need my wife back and our kids need their mother."
As I came to the realization that my journey wasn't mine alone, but my family’s as well, I wept for the lost moments of joy and for the shared sorrow borne by those who love me more than anything in the world. They experienced my tears, my sadness, and eventually, my breaking point. Now, it was up to me to find a way through the pain, so that our family's journey could continue.
Today my family and I celebrate my life knowing the circumstances of my existence. Although my vision of my life might have changed, I am now a stronger wife, mother and daughter to my family.
We always must remember that when Christ puts us on a path to purpose, we can look the other way, try to find a different road, or simply ignore all the signs. But when you accept the road and start walking with purpose, amazing things will happen.
Thursday, November 19, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Safe Haven Baby Boxes Responds to Commission Hearing
On November 18, 2015 Indiana's Commission on Improving the Status of Children voted against a statewide program mandating Baby Boxes throughout Indiana. Their stated reasoning was the baby boxes should not be mandatory and the cost is too high. House Enrolled Act 1016 clearly stated that this was voluntary and the state would incur no fees for this program, but these facts were ignored.
Dr. Jen Walthall, the deputy commissioner of the Indiana State Department of Health, suggested that Indiana would be better served if Hoosiers were better educated on the state’s safe haven law and resources available to mothers. Dr. Walthall included in her report vague references to medieval practices and provided statistics that have been shown to be false on infant abandonment in Indiana. She then simultaneously admitted that there are no good statistics on infant abandonment. The task force acted outside of the scope of legislation and its recommendations do not preclude the implementation of “baby boxes” as a last resort option for communities who desire to provide this measure to save the life of babies at risk for abandonment. Discussion of cost by this committee was moot, as the baby boxes are being privately funded by caring people who believe that if the baby box saves even one child a cruel death in a dumpster or by the side of a highway, it is worth every effort.
The Task force stated that education on the existing law needed to take place and yet Indiana State Department of Health has not participated in an education program to this date. The majority of the education has been done by non-profit, privately funded organizations.
Representative Casey Cox issued the following statement:
“On Wednesday November 18, 2015, the Indiana Commission on Improving the Status of Children declined to recommend that Indiana pursue a statewide policy with respect to newborn safety incubators, sometimes referred to as ‘baby boxes’ or ‘angels cradles,’ as prescribed in the original version of House Enrolled Act 1016. Still, the Commission acknowledged that providers could likely implement newborn safety incubators on their own. In the next few weeks the Indiana Department of Health will be required by HEA 1016 to issue standards and protocols for the development of newborn safety incubators. Using these standards, providers may choose to voluntarily implement such a mechanism to support the existing Indiana Safe Haven law. The Commission approved a separate resolution that should providers undertake this method voluntarily, the State should seriously consider whether to extend immunity protections to providers and persons under such circumstances.
When we started this discussion two years ago, one of our main goals was to create a dialogue about preventing the tragedy of newborn infant abandonment. We have succeeded at that beyond my expectations. Our discussion grew out of Indiana across the country and overseas. As we continue this discussion, I will be ready to pursue whatever legislative protections may be necessary to compliment this important lifesaving endeavor.”
In conclusion, Monica Kelsey, founder of Safe Haven Baby Boxes states the following:
“I am disappointed that the Indiana Commission on Improving the Status of Children yesterday failed to do adequate research into Indiana's Safe Haven Law and acknowledge the lives of the 34 illegally abandoned babies in Indiana. The history lesson we received yesterday by the task force was inaccurate and did not include the statistics on abandoned babies for Indiana, as they stated they were not available. Since I have those statistics, which include abandoned babies and safe surrenders in the State of Indiana, I would have been more than willing to share these statistics and their sources, in order for them to provide a more accurate report to the commission. From the very beginning of this project I have always focused on saving the lives of abandoned babies, the goal was never about passing a law. With that being said, we are legally moving forward and will have 5 boxes deployed in 5 different cities in Indiana within the next 90 days. We will continue all of our efforts to save the lives of abandoned babies, as this is and has always been our main objective.”
If you would like more information or to schedule an interview with Monica Kelsey, please contact 260-750-3668 or email Pam Stenzel at the following address:
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
With the onset of birth control and legal abortion, the sexual revolution was ushered in with a tidal wave. Today, most young women are no longer "ashamed" that the pregnancy reveals that they were sexually active, instead they feel ashamed they were stupid enough to get "caught". And for some young women, they are in such crisis over the possibility of a pregnancy, they deny the symptoms and wrongly believe it will simply "go away" until it is too late. Some might be fearful that the father of the baby is not their current boyfriend/partner and the baby will be proof of infidelity, some are being physically threatened by the father of the baby. There could be a number of reasons a women denies or suppresses her pregnancy for nine months, and is now in deep crisis. The nature of the crisis, in their minds, demands that they hide and remain anonymous. This could be what drives some women to do the unthinkable... to abandon their newborn in a park, in a dumpster or by the side of a highway.
My deep desire is that no child die, either by chemicals, by being torn apart in her mothers womb and sold for spare parts, or by being abandoned in a dumpster. When we succeed in making chemical and surgical abortion illegal in this country, there will still be some (and possibly more) women who conceal their pregnancy until birth and become desperate enough to consider the latter option. We must have a safety net, a way for these few desperate women to find a way out of their crisis that does not involve the death of their child. This is why Safe Havens and the added insurance of a baby box that allows complete anonymity, need to be in place and operating. Women need to know BEFORE they are in deep crisis, that this option exists and that they can relinquish their baby with no names, no blame, no shame.
Let me be perfectly clear, I am against the killing of babies, period and in all circumstances. I am praying for the day that no child will die for the convenience or emotional well-being of his mother or the crime of her father. Killing babies inside and outside of the womb is murder, period. We have done an amazing job of reaching out to women in crisis with thousands of Pregnancy Care Centers across this country and around the world. These amazing centers are helping young women every day, physically , emotionally and spiritually. The staff and volunteers give of the themselves tirelessly for every young woman and her baby, lives are being saved! They are truly "loving them both". The Safe Haven Law is in place, not because we don't think women should be helped before the birth of their child, not to "replace" the work of thousands of pregnancy centers across the nation, not because we don't believe a young woman who has just given birth alone and afraid does not need help. It is in place because no matter how good our efforts are BEFORE we get to the point of birth, some women will not avail themselves of the help offered. For reasons we may never know, they did not take the help freely offered to them up to that point. The Safe Haven Law gives them one more emergency option to drop their newborn off at a fire station, police station or hospital and hand that baby safely to a professional without being prosecuted. And yet, even with this safeguard, experience tells us that there will STILL be a few who just cannot handle the face to face interaction. It is still too difficult and even with all the help available to them, still choose to abandon their infant to the elements and risk their death. The Safe Haven Baby Box is that final attempt to give her one more option. The option of safely relinquishing her infant without the face to face interaction. Maybe, just maybe this is the only option a few women will choose instead of abandonment.
In a perfect world, no one would have sex outside of marriage or ever find themselves experiencing unwanted pregnancy. In a perfect world, no one would ever consider chemically aborting or surgically aborting their unborn child. In a perfect world no one would have the legal RIGHT to kill an unborn child in the womb. In a perfect world, every woman experiencing a crisis pregnancy will walk into a pregnancy care center and get the help they need for themselves and their baby. When abortion is finally illegal in this country, there will certainly be more women in crisis who will need the services of these centers, and we must be ready. Crisis Pregnancy Centers will not cease to exist because abortion is no longer legal, in fact they know that their work will increase and be even more necessary. When abortion becomes illegal, we must have a safety net in place for those few women who are in denial and hiding their pregnancy in desperation. There won't be fewer of these women, there will certainly be more.
Until then, we must do everything in our power to save every life and help every mother in crisis. We are committed to providing that last line of defense for the very desperate mother in her time of crisis. We cannot abandon her. Every mother matters, and every baby matters.
Thursday, August 20, 2015
As volunteers in the pro-life movement, there are many instances where we aren't able to see the fruits of our labor. From the dedicated sidewalk counselor who prays her words have reached a young mother contemplating abortion to those who spread the joy of adoption. We can sometimes go days, months, even years without seeing the results of our efforts, often making it a challenge to keep our hearts and minds focused on that for which we are truly fighting for--mothers and their unborn babies. To that end, we must continue to be faithful and trust that we are following God's plan. Every once in a while, we are rewarded by that one special moment in time when a plan is realized before our very eyes, allowing us to experience first-hand the impact our actions have made on the life of another and the beautiful ripple effect it has on the lives of those around them. It's this rare and special moment that makes all those years of work and dedication worth it. This is one such moment for me.
On August 1, 2015, I received a message in my inbox on Facebook from someone who was inquiring if there was a Safe Haven Baby Box near their location. Since Safe Haven Baby Boxes are not legal in any state yet, I was concerned, although this wasn’t the first time I had gotten a message like this. On average, I receive about 20 emails and messages a day with questions and comments regarding the baby boxes, from people asking specific questions to those who simply want to know how they work. Due to the casual nature of the inquiry, I didn’t view the message as urgent and added it to my growing list of messages and calls to return. A few hours later, my cell phone rang from a phone number that I didn't recognize. My phone number is published on all of my sites as I want young women in crisis to know that I'm here for them. I quickly answered the call and was surprised to discover that the caller was the young girl who had sent me the Facebook message.
To protect her privacy, I'll call her “Jane." Jane told me that she was pregnant, that no one knew about the pregnancy, and that she was pretty sure the baby was coming any day now. Alone and frightened, Jane had no interest in either a parenting or an adoption plan, and she was adamant about remaining anonymous. She went on to tell me that she was starting college in the fall. Her parents had no idea she was pregnant and she didn’t want to disappoint them. Jane was concerned that others would judge her and her situation. I was quick to assure her that simply wouldn’t happen and to promise I would do everything in my power to help her.
After gathering as much personal information as I could, I quickly contacted a hospital in her area and spoke to a social worker about Jane's situation. The social worker advised me to have Jane contact her right away. I immediately called Jane and gave her the social worker's name and number and Jane promised to contact her. Since that day, I attempted to contact Jane but to no avail. I hoped that Jane would do the right thing, but all I could do now was pray and wait for a phone call that might never come.
A few days ago as I was driving to Michigan, I received a call from the social worker who had agreed to help Jane.
“Monica, I have some great news for you," she said. "Jane came in yesterday, delivered a healthy baby, and surrendered the infant under the Safe Haven Law."
My initial reaction was stunned silence as I attempted to comprehend what the social worker was telling me. Suddenly, my eyes filled with tears at the thought of Jane's incredible selflessness and sacrifice as she put her baby's needs above her own. My heart began to sink for Jane who, alone and scared, had the courage to give up her child to the beauty of adoption. In an instant, though, that sorrow turned to joy for the baby now saved from abandonment
Sometimes it's easy to forget that we truly never know what a young woman goes through when confronted with seemingly impossible choices, especially if we've never been in that situation. But as a child who was once abandoned by my birth mother and then later reunited with her, I know the love this young woman has for her child. As was the situation of my birth mother so many years ago, Jane loved her child so much that she was compelled to act in that child's best interest. Decisions such as these are courageous and should be honored, respected, and celebrated.
Our Safe Haven motto is “No Shame, No Blame, No Names." For Jane, that is exactly what we did. Thank you, Jane, for standing up for the life you created and doing the best that you could for your baby. Please know that your child will be loved by two parents who prayed for this precious gift of life.
The Safe Haven Law is in all 50 states and allows a young woman in crisis to relinquish her child at any approved Safe Haven location with no questions asked. For more information on your current Safe Haven Law go to www.SafeHavenBabyBoxes.com
Monday, June 15, 2015
Often we wonder what drives us, what motivates us to move forward in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles, or what motivates us to get up every morning, take a deep breath and face the day. For 16-year-old Ashley the answer is simple. His name is Aiden and he is about to celebrate his second birthday.
Nearly two years ago, Ashley and her mom welcomed me into their home to talk to Ashley. I wanted to help her in any way I could as she was only 13 and pregnant by rape. I didn’t realize that this day I would become part of their family and they would become part of mine. In the time we've spent together, Ashley has become like a daughter to me and Aiden like a grandson (even though I have no idea what being a grandma feels like). She is a true hero in every sense of the word. Not only did this vulnerable, frightened teenager choose life for her son, but she bravely confronted her rapist and was instrumental in his prosecution and conviction.
For the last two years, Ashley’s supporters have stepped up and helped this young mother, showing her what we as pro-lifers are all about. Being Pro-life isn’t just about saving babies, it’s walking a long and difficult road with these women and their children. The same road all of you have been walking with Ashley and Aiden since the day we brought you their story.
Ashley turned 16 a few months ago and is working on getting her license and a part-time job. Although balancing school and motherhood is difficult, Ashley perseveres because she knows what she's doing is important.
"Being a 16 year-old mom and still being in school is one of the biggest challenges of my life," she said, "but it’s also the most rewarding."
Next week, Aiden, a vibrant, smart and lively toddler, turns two and his mother couldn't be more proud.
"He's into everything," Ashley said.
Aiden especially loves the outdoors and playing in the park, and the young mother has her heart set on buying him a swing set.
Even though Aiden was conceived through rape, Ashley believes her son is a miracle and an inspiration.
“I swear if it wasn’t for Aiden, I wouldn’t be here today. He has impacted my life more than anyone could ever imagine at a time when I was falling apart. I was 13 years old, terrified, not knowing what the future would hold for me," she confessed. "Now I’m 16, completely confident in what my future will be as a mommy, a mentor, and a best friend. Now here he is, a week away from being 2 years old. So smart, so big, so full of life, and so happy. God blessed me with him and I wouldn’t want my life any other way. I love my son. Aiden saved me."
If you would like to donate to Ashley and Aiden for supplies or to help purchase the swing set for Aiden you can do a secure donation at www.LivingExceptions.com. For more on Ashley and Aiden’s story, you can follow her updates at www.facebook.com/mkprolife.
Sunday, May 17, 2015
Conceived in Incest: Why I cannot remain silent on the 20 week fetal pain bill…
By Kristi Hofferber
Define pain… Is it the act of being torn limb from limb, or maybe it is the act of being discriminated against? This question remains at the center of a nationwide hot topic issue surrounding abortion in America. Unfortunately with the piece of legislation known as H.R. 36, those of us who are conceived in rape or incest will feel the pain in both instances. This bill, if passed, will seek to minimize abortion after 20 weeks gestation for the unborn under the premise that they can feel pain at or after this state in the womb. But wait, there is a caveat. If the woman claims rape, or that she is the victim of incest, she receives a free pass. She is then able to obtain the abortion up until the day of delivery if she so chooses. So how is the H.R 36 a step forward? This sends the wrong message to women who need support and compassion in these situations, not an excuse to potentially bring themselves further trauma and the loss of their unborn child, not to mention that we (those of us conceived in rape or incest) feel pain too at this state of gestation.
My personal story has been shared many times in the pro-life realm, but do people really understand the situation? There were six children conceived between my biological mother and her own father, four of which tragically lost their lives to abortion to conceal his criminal actions. These children were given the death penalty for the crime of our biological father. This hardly seems like justice! In fact, the law allowed this “opportunity” for our biological father to cover his crimes, and ensure that the evidence was “taken care of.” So then what for his daughter, our biological mother? First and foremost, the abuse should have never happened. Secondly, no one batted an eye when my biological father took her time and time again to the same abortion clinic. So who is being protected by legislation that includes a rape and incest exception? We are providing the rapist with the ultimate escape! Why then would we tout this legislation as progress when the victims are legally allowed to be victimized yet again?
I am the only surviving child of this horrific situation. I was adopted at birth, grew up in nurturing and stable home, and I am now finishing my master’s degree in social work to further extend my abilities to help these women and children. I know that my life is not in vein, and I will stand firm in support of legislation that defends 100% of unborn children in America. The pro-life movement needs more organizations and individuals who are willing to put it all on the line and stand boldly against this type of discriminatory legislation. We need to be firmly united in support of laws that do not defile an entire class of children, and hold our legislators accountable from the start. As American citizens we do not accept discrimination between one race over another, so then why should we allow it with the lives of the unborn who are the most vulnerable of our population? If abortion was illegal in cases such as rape and incest in this country, my birthmother would not have endured over twenty years of abuse by her own father. Standing for what is right, especially when it comes to innocent lives, is crucial to gaining ground and ending abortion in our country. Are you willing to take a stand for what’s right, or are you going to defend legislation that further harms women, punishes a child with death because of the crimes of his or her father, and allows the criminal to walk away unscathed? I am not willing compromise the value of your life, why should the value of those of us conceived in rape or incest be any less?
To learn more about Kristi’s story, follow her on Facebook at Kristi Hofferber, Pro-life Speaker, or at www.kristihofferber.com. Kristi is the wife of a pastor, and together they have one son. She speaks nationally and internationally on the importance of “no exceptions” in pro-life issues, and she is a founding member of Living Exceptions.
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Two years ago we brought you a story about an amazing young 13-year- old girl named Ashley from Elwood, Indiana, who was raped by her brother’s friend and became pregnant. Ashley prosecuted her rapist, and he was charged and convicted on three counts as Ashley wasn’t his only victim. This story tugged on the heart strings of millions of Americans as this young girl chose to carry her child to term and gave birth to a beautiful little boy she named Aiden. Planned Parenthood of Indiana even weighed in on Ashley’s tragic story via their official Facebook page by posting a link to an article written in the Indianapolis Star by saying the following: “As this article notes, heartbreaking stories like this are all too common in Indiana, which ranks second in the number of teen sexual assaults. Comprehensive sex ed can make a difference in preventing sexual assaults.” It seems as if Planned Parenthood feels that giving rapist more sexual education will keep them from raping women.
Ashley, now 15, is a freshman in high school and has adapted to her new role as student and young mother. After the birth of Aiden, Ashley returned to school, and much to her shock, discovered that the boy who was convicted of raping her was allowed to attend the same school. Her rapist, who was also a minor when the crime occurred, was protected as a juvenile and his identity was never released. Ashley was quickly taken out of the main school by her parents and put into an alternate school, so she could continue her studies without incident. Ashley is excelling in her classes and is a straight A student.
Last August, Ashley’s family faced another devastating tragedy. Her brother was killed by a hit-and-run driver while riding his bike not far from the family home. The perpetrator still hasn't been identified. This tragic event has devastated this family, but through prayer and the assistance of family and friends, they are putting their lives back together once again.
Although this road hasn’t been easy, Aiden is now 18 months old and has brought his young mother love and healing from a situation that once felt unbearable. Ashley will be attending the March for Life this year with the organization Living Exceptions, as Aiden is a true “Living Exception" and his and Ashley's story epitomizes the mission of this life-saving organization. Stop by the Living Exceptions booth and give Ashley words of encouragement as she continues to embrace life by raising her son and doing the right thing.
If you would like to donate to Ashley and Aiden, you can do so at www.LivingExceptions.com. All donations to Ashley and Aiden go directly to help the family to buy diapers, wipes, and clothing, or you can choose to help defray Ashley's expenses when she is out in Washington attending the March for Life.
Currently, Ashley does not receive support from the State of Indiana. Unfortunately, the state of Indiana is one of 31 states that has no law protecting a child conceived through rape from his biological father. If Ashley files for any kind of government assistance, the state must go after Aiden’s biological father for repayment. In return, he can demand visitation rights. We are encouraging legislators to pass legislation protecting these children and their mothers from being victimized once again by terminating any rights that father might have. But until Indiana changes its law regarding children conceived in rape, Ashley’s parents must bear the financial burden of caring for Aiden. If you would like to read more on the states that have no laws protecting children who are conceived through rape you can go to www.31states.com for more info.
As individuals committed to the pro-life cause, we must be willing to step up and support young girls, such as Ashley. If you are financially able, please consider helping this young mother. To follow Ashley and Aiden’s story visit my Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/mkprolife.
Monday, January 5, 2015
As I sit at the fire station working my shift as a medic/firefighter, waiting for our next emergency, my heart is heavy. I just got a call that another newborn child has been found dead in the woods in Indianapolis, umbilical cord still attached and discarded like a piece of trash. I wonder if this young mother knew that there is a law that could have saved her young daughter and this young mothers name would have never been known. The law I'm referring to is the Safe Haven Law--a law that has been in effect for almost 14 years that has saved the lives of almost 3000 babies nationwide.
Back in April 1973, a young 17-year-old girl, scared and alone, gave birth to a baby girl. She had been raped nine months prior and was determined to do what she felt was best for her baby. Two hours after giving birth, she abandoned her baby at a local hospital, the one place where she knew her baby would be cared for and protected. I was that baby, and my biological mother abandoned me without the protection of the Safe Haven Law. She did it out of desperation because she felt there was no other option. Today, however, we have a law in place that protects not only the life of the child, but also protects the mother from prosecution. The Safe Haven Law was enacted to give women like my birthmother who find themselves scared, alone, and desperate an alternative to abandoning their child.
The Safe Haven Law, also called the Baby Moses Law in some states, is in all 50 states and in the District of Columbia. The law is in place to protect all parties involved. In most states, a woman has 30 days after birth to safely surrender the child at any fire station, police station or hospital with no questions asked. In some of these states, the girl gets free medical care to assist with the birth of the child or any complications resulting from the birth. This law is a win, win situation for all parties involved. The mother walks away with zero chance of prosecution, while the baby has the opportunity to be adopted into a loving home, and a family opens their hearts and home to the child for whom they've prayed.
As we were busy making plans to celebrate the beginning of a new year a desperate young woman out of Indianapolis felt she had no choice, no other option, but to continue to hide her pregnancy, and once that child was born, to hide her from the world. Unfortunately, she made a devastating choice and left her baby in the woods, exposed to the elements of harsh winter. Now, we are planning a funeral for a child that never had the opportunity to see her first birthday. This child has been named “Amelia Hope” as the name Amelia means defender.
As a firefighter/medic for the state of Indiana and the fact that I was abandoned as a child, I feel a personal need to educate our youth and our communities about this life-saving law. In a perfect world, we would prefer that the mother come forward, visit a local crisis pregnancy center, and receive the assistance and counseling she needs; however, this may not be possible in all situations. With these cases, we want young women to know that the Safe Haven Law is there as an option that respects the lives of both mother and child.
If you or someone you know would like more information about relinquishing a newborn child, please call 1-877-796-HOPE or go to www.SafeHavenLaw.com.