A Tale of Two Abandoned Babies

In the past month, two abandoned babies on opposite sides of the world prove how the use of Baby Boxes in our communities is a truly humane way of treating unwanted infants.

Fox 59 is reporting on the second baby in a month to be dropped off in a Safe Haven Baby Box in Michigan City, Indiana. The box was located at the Coolspring Township Fire Department and authorities arrived on the scene within one minute after receiving notification that a baby had been placed in the box.

As a result, the newborn was transported to LaPorte County Emergency Medical Service where it was found to be in good condition.

This is the second baby to be dropped in the box since it was installed a year ago. The first baby, now known as “Baby Hope,” was just an hour old when she was placed in the box.

The Safe Haven Baby Box program, founded by Michigan firefighter Monica Kelsey, is an extension of the Safe Haven Infant Protect Act which allows adults to surrender infants up to 45 days old with impunity. The two-foot long boxes are padded and climate controlled. When an infant is surrendered, it triggers an alarm alerting emergency responders. The cost for each box, which range from $1,500 to $2,000, is picked up by The Knights of the Columbus.

At about the same time that “Baby Hope” was surrendered, on the other side of the world, another infant was found abandoned in a much less hospitable place – a storm drain.

It happened in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, where a woman named Charlene Keevy, 63, was walking her dog and heard the sound of sobbing baby coming from deep inside a storm drain. She managed to flag down a passing motorist who helped her to remove the heavy drain cover. They discovered an infant lying naked in the freezing cold drain with a colony of stinging red ants just a few feet away.

Monica Kelsey, founder of Safe Haven Baby Boxes

The rescuer told the Daily Mail that the ants were stinging his legs as he climbed into the drain. Not knowing what condition the baby was in, he gently lifted it off the ground and carried it to safety.

An ambulance arrived quickly and the baby was taken to a nearby hospital where it was treated for hypothermia and respiratory problems.

A police spokeswoman said that the only way the baby, who hospital staff named “Grace April,” could have gotten into the drain was if someone removed the cement drain cover and placed it there.

Authorities are investigating the case.

“I honestly believe I was meant to find that baby by God as I usually take a different route on my dog walk but for some reason went another way,” Keevy said later. “I cannot help but feel that there is some sort of a plan and a purpose for that little girls’ life – it is a miracle without a doubt.”

Ironically, this near-tragedy occurred in South Africa, the same place that Monica Kelsey was visiting years ago when she got the idea for Safe Haven Baby Boxes. A pro-life speaker, she was speaking in Capetown, South Africa when she came across a church that had a “baby hatch” which allowed women to drop off their babies anonymously.

Kelsey, who was herself abandoned at birth, said it was a “moment of clarity” that inspired her to start the baby box program in her area.

Thus far, all 50 states and the District of Columbia have enacted safe haven legislation which allow parents to hand over an infant anonymously and without fear of legal repercussions.

These are life-saving programs that can spare infants the rough start that little “Grace April” experienced in South Africa. Although she is not out of the woods yet, the baby is now breathing on her own and is expected to make it.

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