Opinion

Child abandonment is a reality, but you can change that

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Last year, a boy got an unusual moniker: Baby Jesus. But unlike his namesake, this little guy wasn’t born in a manger.

He was left in one.

A janitor found him in the nativity display at New York’s Holy Child of Jesus Church. He had been delivered four to five hours earlier, but despite his ordeal, doctors said the newborn was in good health. Others aren’t so lucky.

Across the country, you can read stories about babies turning up in all sorts of places; a lot of them don’t have happy endings. The good news? It’s something you can help change.

You can raise awareness about Baby Safe Haven Laws, legislation offering a safe place to bring a child–no questions asked.

Laws vary by state: while some require that children be brought to a hospital, most designate police and fire stations as safe havens as well. The group Baby Safe Haven has a map on its website explaining the rules in each jurisdiction, and you can also get information toll-free at 1-888-510-BABY (2229).

At safe haven sites, concerned professionals will accept children in need. What happens next? Well, they’re typically placed on a pathway toward adoption. Given how there are relatively few adoptable infants and large numbers of hopeful couples, it’s usually a short wait.

Some people aren’t ready to be parents right now, and that’s ok. Some know they never will be; that’s ok too. Abandoning a baby isn’t, though, and safe havens are a loving alternative. That’s a message we need to spread.

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