FRANKFORT, Ind. (WLFI) — The city of Frankfort now joins dozens of cities in Indiana that offer a Safe Haven Baby Box.
Safe Haven leaders report a healthy baby was surrendered at a fire station in Crown Point, IN on Thursday, Dec. 5. This makes it the 62nd baby to be saved nationwide by these boxes.
“These baby boxes offer so much love on the other side of this door,” said Monica Kelsey, Safe Haven Baby Boxes Founder, and CEO.
On the other side of the door sits a firefighter ready to help a baby in need.
“It's very positive, it could save a life, and we're in this business to save lives,” said Frankfort Fire Chief John Kirby.
Chief Kirby said plans for this box have been in the works since September. After thoroughly testing the box and training the firefighters, it's officially ready for use.
The box is designed to keep the person dropping off an infant anonymous while having it located in a place where the baby wouldn't be in the box for long.
“Inside it's secluded so it's kind of tucked away in a closet so nobody can really see it so these doors will be closed at all times and then when we get the tone or the alarm guys will come over and there could be a baby in there,” said Chief Kirby.
There are 21 baby boxes throughout the United States, 17 of them in Indiana. The one in Frankfort is the only one that directly dials into 9-1-1 when the door is opened. Once a baby is dropped off, the firefighter who finds it officially becomes the baby's caregiver until the child is taken to the hospital. From there, the adoption process for the baby begins.
“We're finding 150 babies dumped in our country every year,” said Kelsey. “If we can even make that half or a third, you know, let's just make an option for these women that they are okay with and that their life goes on and the child's life goes on.”
Indiana's Safe Haven law allows people to anonymously surrender their healthy infants without punishment. Kelsey knows first hand the importance of this. Her mother was brutally attacked and raped before she was born.
“She carried the pregnancy to term because abortion was illegal and then she gave birth in April of '73 and abandoned her child two hours after that child was born and that child was me so I want to make sure that every child in this country is left in a safe place,” said Kelsey.
Kelsey was dropped off at a hospital and later adopted.
“Adoption is such a blessing, especially for the child, I mean I was so blessed by adoption,” said Kelsey. “Women who choose the Safe Haven law, choose the Safe Haven baby box option for their child. They're keeping their child safe, they're placing their child in a warm environment and that child is going to be adopted.”
Safe Haven leaders are working to launch the next box in Lafayette.