Opinion

Some babies get left in dumpsters and alleys, but you can help change that

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Janet Barnicoat, Julie Hutchison, and Dean Hundorf were all raised by adoptive parents. Something else they have in common? All three were abandoned as infants.

By the same woman.

Janet was born in 1981. Four years later, her sister was discovered at a market. Their brother turned up on a doorstep a year after that. The siblings were unaware of each other for over three decades, but  DNA analysis eventually brought them together. Earlier this year, ABC’s 20/20 chronicled their experience. Of course, most abandoned newborns don’t make it onto a TV show.

Many don’t make it at all.

Across the country, babies get left in trash cans and dumpsters, often with fatal results. There’s a way you can help change that.

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You can spread the word about Baby Safe Haven Laws–legislation allowing babies to be dropped off at designated locations, no questions asked. While some states require that a child be brought to a hospital, most list police and fire stations as safe havens too. The group Baby Safe Haven publishes an interactive map summarizing each jurisdiction’s rules, and you can also get information toll-free at 1-888-510-BABY (2229).

What happens after a baby is brought in? They’re typically placed for adoption. Janet, Julie, and Dean each spoke of the love their adoptive parents gave; plenty of others are hoping to do the same.

Whatever the reason, some new moms discover that being a parent is something they just can’t cope with. Abandonment isn’t the right way to deal with that; visiting a safe haven is. You could be the one to let them know.

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