By Joy Allmond
Lt. Chuck Kohler of Indiana’s Coolspring Township Volunteer Fire Department got a page April 8 to go rescue a baby girl—but not from a fire.
He went to the fire station to gather her from a “Save Haven Baby Box,” a padded, climate-controlled container that allows people to anonymously relinquish a newborn.
The page alerted him that alarms had been triggered on the baby box at his fire department, near Michigan City. The infant, who was taken to a nearby hospital to be examined, appeared to be in good health.
“I want to thank the mom for doing the right thing, and having the courage to find a safe place for her newborn, and surrendering it under the Safe Haven law,” Monica Kelsey, president of Safe Haven Baby Boxes Inc., told local press.
This makes the second time since November an infant has been left in a northwestern Indiana fire station. The only other Safe Haven box is located at a Woodburn fire station near Fort Wayne, although Kelsey says there are plans to install a third box in Ohio by end of April.
The Indiana Safe Haven Law was enacted to protect unwanted infants. People can surrender a baby in the box without facing prosecution, provided there is no evidence of intentional abuse. Once examined and given any necessary medical treatment, the infant is handed over to the Indiana Department of Child Services and placed with a certified foster family.
Kelsey, who developed the boxes, was herself abandoned at a hospital several hours after being born.
For nearly 20 years, many Protestant churches have observed “Orphan Sunday” every November to bring awareness to the needs of orphans around the world, like those dropped off in the baby boxes.
Early observances focused on international adoption and orphanages. But in recent years, foster care—both stateside and abroad—has been emphasized.
According to a Lifeway Research survey of 1,010 churchgoers, 25 percent say someone among their congregation has been involved in foster care within the past year.
A 2015 report from the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System indicated 427,910 children were in foster care, with 111,820 waiting for adoption.
“There may be no greater expression of the Christian faith than extending hope and love to children whose birth families are not able to able to care for them, ” says Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research.
- 5 Ways Your Church Can Care for Orphans
- The Bible Talks About Orphan Care and Many Churches are Listening
- 5 Practical Ways to Be a Pro-Life Champion in Your Church
JOY ALLMOND (@JoyAllmond) is managing editor of Facts & Trends.