On December 10th in Santo Domingo, Ecuador, a group of Benedictine Sisters installed a baby drop-off box in their temporary young girls and adolescents home, where parents who find themselves in desperate situations and unable to care for their babies can safely leave them. This baby box is the first of its kind in the country.
Inside the enclosed baby box is a safe and comfortable place to lay the infant along with a note from the sisters. “We don’t know what happened in your life that you’re making this decision, and we’re not judging it,” the note says. It also explains details the level of care that each baby will receive, including immediate attention from trained medical professionals. The note also seeks to encourage and comfort the parents in the midst of their difficult decision.
The baby box at the Happy Valley Home is located in an external wall so that parents can leave their babies anonymously. As soon as the outside door to the box is closed, the staff on the inside of the facility are alerted to the new arrival and quickly tend to the baby’s needs. The home will take care of each baby for three months, and if the parents do not return within that time, adoption services are arranged, and the child will be welcomed into a waiting home.
While this is the first baby box for Ecuador, the boxes have been seen in other countries such as South Korea and the United States. Safe Haven laws in every state in the U.S. have seen the introduction of baby boxes in various states, giving mothers options in difficult situations. Volunteer firefighter Monica Kelsey heads the Safe Haven Baby Boxes organization, which aims to setup temperature-controlled, padded, safe baby boxes in as many locations as possible across the U.S. in an effort to save more lives. Multiple boxes have been installed in Indiana and Texas, and Safe Haven laws have turned firehouses and police departments everywhere into safe places to give newborns into the arms of those willing and equipped to care for them when their parents cannot.
Baby boxes allow mothers to make a private decision regarding the care of their newborns, and also encourage the saving of young, innocent lives.
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