“Newborn Infant” means an infant who is seventy-two hours old or younger.
A parent or agent of a parent who leaves a newborn infant with a safe haven provider may remain anonymous, and the safe haven provider shall not require the parent or agent to answer any questions. A person is not guilty of abuse of a child solely for leaving a newborn infant with a safe haven provider. The safe haven provider shall take custody of the newborn infant if the parent did not express intent to return for the newborn infant. The safe haven provider is not liable for any civil or other damages for any act or omission in maintaining custody of a newborn infant, if the safe haven provider acts in good faith without gross negligence. Safe haven providers include health care institutions, hospitals, licensed private child welfare agencies, licensed adoption agencies, churches where services are regularly convened for religious worship, and other facilities approved by the department of health services.
I stood quietly facing this sign in a catatonic stupor reverently contemplating its significance. The emotions it evokes in me are intense, and the mood eerily similar to the sentimental feelings and compassion toward others I sense at funerals, weddings, cemeteries and battleground sites. This sign symbolically represents a “portal” to a significantly altered life for the abandoned child forever deprived of contact with its biological parents, grandparents and extended family members. The orphaned child left at a safe haven will grow up without knowledge of his or her true cultural heritage, place of geographic origin, native language, or knowledge of their unique place in the world and will have no way of forming a true comprehensive self-identity.
As I stand here, I contemplate the inherent value of mother and child bonding during infancy and the devastating effects of the primal wound when human bonding is denied. Placed in the arms of strangers, the fate of the orphaned child is unpredictable—their life’s trajectory is forever altered; their future is unknown. Circumstances surrounding their birth are as curiously mysterious as Moses in the bulrushes. I fear for the abandoned child who may exhibit higher levels of anxiety and morbidity; post traumatic stress disorder; genealogical bewilderment; selective mutism; primal wound; oppositional defiant disorder; attachment disorder; anti-social behavior; adopted child syndrome; and other social and psychological afflictions associated with adoption.
I pray for individuals everywhere in the world in need of spiritual guidance, financial assistance, and psychological support. I have empathy for parents experiencing the trauma of an unplanned pregnancy. I pray for couples and individuals in need of supporting family relationships, a simple helping hand, and sentimental love. I pray for the many safe haven providers, social workers, foster parents, adoptive parents and others who make sacrifices in their own lives to help others in desperate need of assistance. Ultimately, I pray for the orphaned child banished from their mother’s arms—intentionally left on someone else’s doorstep and jettisoned into oblivion simply because he or she was born at an inconvenient time.
“Esta facilidad acceptan bebes recien nacidos per la ley”
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