For decades thousands of unwanted infants have been abandoned and left to die in horrifying situations such as dumpsters, public restrooms, and other unthinkable places. It seems impossible that anyone would do this, but no one can be in the mind of a desperate, scared, young, unwed mother who has no idea how to take care of a baby nor has the means, or who may fear consequences from abusive family members who may never have known she was even pregnant. In some remote instances, the young mother herself hasn’t known she was pregnant until the baby was born in a bathroom stall. The panic of what to do in this situation could be overwhelmingly frightening for a girl barely more than a child herself.
To protect these innocent babies from being abandoned and left to die, all 50 states in the US have enacted laws to protect them. These laws are known as Safe Surrender Laws or Baby Safe Haven Laws. These laws not only save a baby but allow a birth mother the peace of knowing that her baby is in a safe place and will be cared for. In most states, she may reclaim her baby within a designated short period of time before the baby will be adopted. States vary on fine points of the law, but they are basically the same in allowing a safe place for a mother to bring an infant she cannot care for and is afraid to let others know about.
Alaska’s Touching Video
Take a look at this 30-second public information video to see what the state of Alaska created to help educate birth mothers who find themselves in this situation, as well as others who may assist them.
This Safe Surrender Law in Alaska allows an infant up to 21 days old to be given up if the mother cannot care for the child. Click here for more information on what this state has posted.
In Alaska, “Baby Safe Haven laws allow you to give your baby to a responsible adult at a designated location and walk away, no questions asked. If you do not return to reclaim your baby, your parental rights will be terminated in a few months, and the child will be adopted by a family waiting for a child.”
See What California is Doing
According to California’s Department of Social Services, “The Safely Surrendered Baby Law responds to the increasing number of newborn infant deaths due to abandonment in unsafe locations. First created in January 2001, the Safely Surrendered Baby Law was signed permanently into state law in January 2006. The law intends to save the lives of newborn infants at risk of abandonment by encouraging parents or persons with lawful custody to safely surrender the infant within 72 hours of birth, with no questions asked.
“From January 1, 2001, to September 30, 2013, 560 newborns have been surrendered in California, and as of September 30, 2013, 45 newborns have been surrendered in 2013.”
Not only is this law saving thousands of babies throughout the United States, but it is giving caring couples who want to be parents a chance to adopt and give loving care to these children. What a gift to all concerned!
Where to Surrender a Baby
Babies may be surrendered at hospitals, fire stations, and police stations. Babies may be taken to these locations without fear of arrest or prosecution as long as the baby has not been abused. The mother may be asked to give medical information about the baby, but she may decline and no questions will be asked.
What Happens to the Baby After Being Surrendered
According to surrender laws in the state of Florida, which are typical of most states, “On accepting physical custody, the firefighter/emergency medical technician/paramedic shall:
• Provide emergency medical services to the newborn to the extent they are trained to provide those services.
• Arrange for the transport of newborn infant to the nearest hospital having emergency medical services.
“Fire department … or an employee or agent of a licensee or fire department may treat and transport a newborn infant. … Hospitals must admit and provide all necessary emergency services and care to any newborn infant surrendered to hospitals according to the haven laws. [The law] defines ‘Emergency services and care’ as medical screening, examination, and evaluation by a physician, or any other appropriate personnel under the supervision of the physician.”
As you can see, these babies receive the best possible care, even before they are turned over to state child agencies for placement into a loving home.
Share This Information
By letting others know about this policy, you may be saving a baby’s life. Every child born into this world deserves to live in a safe and protected environment surrounded by the love of a caring mother and father. We can all help make this happen by sharing this information with friends and associates who care.
Are you and your partner ready to start the adoption process? Visit Adoption.org or call 1-800-ADOPT-98 to begin your adoption journey. We have 130+ years of adoption experience and would love to help you.