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12/30/2017 11:52:00 AM
Safe Haven Baby Boxes founder meets Hope, first surrendered child
A Safe Haven Baby Box installed at the Cool-spring Township Fire Department in Michigan City. Tribune File Photo
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A Safe Haven Baby Box installed at the Cool-spring Township Fire Department in Michigan City. Tribune File Photo

Lincoln Wright, South Bend Tribune

Monica Kelsey, founder of Safe Haven Baby Boxes, recently got the chance to hold and look into the eyes of Baby Hope — the first baby ever surrendered in her creation.

“It brings everything that I fight for to light again,” Kelsey said of meeting the baby.

Kelsey created the Safe Haven Baby Boxes as a way for mothers to surrender newborns anonymously under Indiana’s safe haven law, which was expanded in April. She hopes the baby box isn’t the first choice, but it does provide a safe option if a mother doesn’t want to face someone to turn over a baby.

“Our goal is to never have a baby surrendered in a box,” she said. “It’s only a good choice, when it’s the last choice.”

On Nov. 7 just before 10:30 p.m., firefighters from the Coolspring Township Fire Department received an alert that the baby box, installed in the side of the volunteer department’s building just outside of Michigan City, had been activated. It’s only one of two boxes in the U.S. The second is located in Woodburn, Ind.

Inside the Coolspring Township baby box, firefighters found a newborn baby girl, wrapped in a gray sweatshirt with the umbilical cord still attached. They nicknamed her Baby Hope.

Now more than a month later, Kelsey had good news to share. Baby Hope has been adopted.

Related Links:
• South Bend Tribune full text

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• 'Baby boxes' bill expanded to include fire stations under Markle's lawmaker's bill

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