I wrote this for my blog, but figured I could try it out here too.
I stare at this blank screen thinking about Safe Haven and what I want to write about. I realized recently that a lot of people know about Safe Haven in theory, but not necessarily in practice.
I lived Safe Haven, and while I have been looking to connect with other women that have used Safe Haven, or similar laws, I havent come up with much. Maybe itҒs because women that use Safe Haven arent sitting in front of computers all day. Maybe itҒs because women that use Safe Haven are trying to live the old school DonӒt think about it and youll get over itҔ which we know isn֒t true. And maybe its because women that use Safe Haven feel a unique kind of shame that keeps them quiet. Most of us hid our entire pregnancy, so why wouldnҒt we continue to hide now?
While I dont want birthmother horror stories to become a competition, because many of us have our fair share, and it doesnҒt get us anywhere, I believe that Safe Haven birthmothers are a particularly silenced group.
Clearly, I am not terribly silenced. At least not in Cyber space.
And I do NOT profess to have the ability to speak for all Safe Haven birthmothers, just this one! But as I was looking into information about Safe Haven, both before AND after placement, I found very little information other than what the basic law was for any given state.
So, I offer you, ask a Safe Haven birthmom!
Seriously, ask anything. Im a pretty open book, especially when I donҒt know who it is Im talking to.
Maybe your questions will give me some ideas about how to focus my Safe Haven thoughts҅because right now, theyre all a little jumbled. And if itҒs okay with you, Ill be using some of the questions and the thoughts they provoke as part of my blog.
So please, if you have any questions, I will answer you to the best of my ability, and if I donҒt have the answer, I will try to find it for you.
And please, note that there is a warning attached to this forum, that this is not the place to debate Safe Haven laws. If you want to do that PM me, and Ill chat with you, but this is for support.
Thanks for the reply. Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. I ended up breaking my ankle last weekend and my mom had surgery this week. Wheew! :arrow:
I like your idea about not going through the newspaper. I was concerned that she might have hidden the pg. and that her parents could be local, see the ad, put 2 and 2 together and get very upset with her. She doesn't need anymore stress than she's already got! I also liked the idea your adoptive family had about leaving a note at the hospital. I forgot that the hospitals have social workers, too. :arrow:
I wasn't going to leave anything until we finalize. Our state is still a little jittery when it comes to open adoptions, but I really think they can do everyone in the triad a world of good if people's hearts are in the right place. So, by the time I left the note at the hospital or started searching here, he will probably be about a year old. If I may be so bold to ask, when did your DD's family contact you? Do you think a year is enough time? I guess, especially if I leave messages here, it gives her the option of responding when she's ready. Where are the most likely websites she would be, or in other words, besides here can you think of anywhere else I could post? My heart just breaks for her. I think of her and come close to tears. The not knowing has to be sooooo hard. Thank you again for all your opinions and information. The "experts" who usually dole out information to AP's only know what the research says. It's nice to have information from a real "expert" who's lived it and really knows what they're talking about, even if it is only one experience in a sea of many. Thank you again and again and again.....
Megan, I'm sorry to hear about your broken ankle and your Mom's surgery! I hope you're both okay!
My DD's Mom left the note at the hospital when DD was four days old. I contacted the SW directly and we had communication through the SW until after finalization. After finalization we had a face to face.
Please, if you come up with ANY other questions feel free to ask them! I would rather have people be able to ask thier questions and be able to discuss things than not be able to.
Hi Thanksgiving Mom!
I'm new to these forums, (my husband & I are a potential adoptive family) and reading your story as well as many of the posts on this site by moms who've chosen to place their baby for adoption has been very important for me. We have three natural daughters whom we've raised with the attachment parenting style. Having these parenting experiences starting from each of their births has made me very sensitive to the importance of keeping mom & baby together---whenever possible. I've learned a lot about the pain that a mother feels when this isn't possible, thanks to you & others who are brave enough to share your stories. For a time, awhile back, after reading the book, The Primal Wound, I was even questioning whether it was right for us to even be attempting to adopt. Isn't it better to try to provide whatever helps a mother might need---if possible---so she can raise her child herself? Fortunately, we are part of a very small agency who follows this sort of philosophy (which is part of the reason we're still waiting 3+ years later). (This is reflected in the fact that our attorney's fees for the entire adoption are in the hundreds rather than the thousands and tens of thousands I see everywhere else.)
I'll cut to the chase. Your posts are making me wonder if it is best if we look to become adoptive parents only if a mother decides to place her baby through the Safe Haven laws, as this situation is one in which her decision is made by herself presumably without coercion by others who stand to make a profit from that decision and is a way to show support for loving moms who choose a safe place for their baby, whom they are unable to care for at that time. (I don't mean to imply that every agency is coercive and looking to separate moms & babies, I just mean that going this route would necessarily prevent that possibility.) What do you think as a mother who chose this route? If we do go this way, could we still possibly have an "open" connection with the child's natural mother, if she so desired? (I am very interested in such a connection for the sake of the mom & especially the child involved, whom I feel deserves this for the sake of his or her psychological development.)
Thank you so much for your courage to speak for those who may feel voiceless and thanks for your consideration of these matters.
P.S. I also don't mean to imply that adoptive parents seeking a child in another way is in any way "wrong"--just that other ways might not be the right choice for US.
I have a question and a comment...first I just wanted to say that Safe Haven is in my opinion probably one of the BEST laws ever passed!! I just think that is was inspired. It gives scared women an option that she wouldn't otherwise have.
My question is (and I have wondered this for quite a while) do adoptive parents like my husband and I get our names, etc. out there to be eligable to adopt a baby placed through Safe Haven?
In a couple weeks...we will have a current homestudy (this will be our second adoption), what steps do we take from there?
Daisha, I'll PM you some of the info I have re: how DD's Mom became her Mom! I've written some notes below re: some of the downsides of Safe Haven placements as well. Best of luck in your journey, whichever way it takes you!!!
Stelle - While I wasn't coerced into my decision, that's not to say that ALL safe haven mom's aren't. Some may be forced to place by thier child's bfathers, some may not be in safe situations and be placing for thier survival, etc. The social worker at the agency my daughter was placed through is CONSTANTLY reminding parents not to look at A (my daughter) as the model of a Safe Haven baby/placement. They can be high legal risk because there is no TPR signed. They can be high legal risk because of birthfather issues. They often have a high risk of the child being drug/alcohol exposed.
My situation wasn't a risk in any of those situations, but many are. It was a wonderful miracle that my daughters adoption is now open, at her Mother's suggestion. I would never have followed up and asked for an open adoption but she reached out to me and left a letter at the hospital. It was by complete chance that I even returned to the hospital to see DD, many first mothers that place through Safe Haven do not return (at least that's my understanding from the sw's I have spoken to).
Thanks for the questions!
I know that guidelines vary by state, but should an emom have to know that she's relinquishing the baby using "Safe Haven" protection for that protection to apply? What if she just shows at the hospital to deliver and leaves without the baby, but calls back up to the hospital to say she wants the baby to be adopted? I'm trying to figure out what the response should've been to her so that I know best how to advocate for her. I'm feeling like a birthmom I know is being treated unfairly (calls, visits from social workers, threatening requests for information, etc.)
Thanks for the insight!
Wow. Well you're right, guidelines do vary state by state, but I don't think that threatening requests for information are ever appropriate.
A birthmother that shows at the hospital, delivers, and leaves without the baby can be charged with abandonment (that's my understanding at least). I don't know what information social workers etc. are trying to get...they DO have a right to ask who the bfather is because he would have to sign TPR if going the traditional adoption route. Using safe haven, I was advised to not disclose bfathers name or they would have to try to contact him (and for the record, I believe thier advice was pretty darned unethical).
I'm at a loss of how to provide more info to you without more details of the story. If you're comfortable sharing them with me please feel free to PM me:
I'd be glad to help you in any way that I can. I think it's great that you're looking to advocate for your friend and will be a support to you both if I'm able.
In our state (WV) it can still be considered "Safe Haven" if a mom delivers at the hospital and decides not to keep the baby. There have been a couple cases in the state where this has happened - in fact, that was the situation for our "safe haven" baby. I like the idea that moms don't have to deliver alone if they don't want to. As far as we know, our birthmom had pre-natal care and delivered with her Dr. at her side and made her intentions known at the moment of delivery. While recovering in the hospital, she never asked to see the baby or inquired regarding the baby. It took the court some time to determine if the baby was "abandoned" or "safe haven". Since the baby was "left at the hospital" which is a "safe haven" placement, he was deemed safe haven. She filled out medical history to the best of her knowledge and left. She has not contacted state social service agency. We were told that if she did, she would THEN be charged with abandonment. (How weird is that?) Anyway, she was granted protection under safe haven. That is the way the law is being interpreted at this point. Though to the best of my knowledge there have only been like 5 cases in the state's history. Hope this helps. BIG HUGS to all safe haven moms out there, esp thanksgiving who, if I can't find our safe haven birthmom, I would be willing to "adopt" as my own! You ROCK, girl!
Can you also send me info on how I could be considered for placement for safe haven infant?
Should I notify the hospital? Does each hospital have its own protocol? Is this handled by a social service agency?
In answer to the question, "How do you get on the Safe Haven List?" In our state (WV) Safe Haven placements are handled through Social Services. We were called because we serve as foster parents for the county, but I would imagine that different states do it differenty. I would call Social Services and the hospital and ask what their policies are in your county.
For us, it was just a question that we answered during our homestudy. We said, "Yes, we'd be open to adopting through Safe Haven." And then we got the call. We were picking her up 3 hours away the next day. The staff at the hospital was absolutely wonderful and had given her a lot of love and care while she was waiting at the hospital. She was in the NICU and had been rocked and held for her first 4 days.
Our daughter is 6 months old now and her case was a little different from the norm but we're so glad we said yes. It took a while to get all the paperwork sorted out so that was quite nerve wracking but we made it through. She was with us for 3 1/2 months before the TPR hearing but I'm glad the agency and court handled everything correctly so that our daughter's birthmom was able to be informed about her decision. We finalize in August.
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