To most parents, the thought of ever abandoning their child is simply unheard of. That bond is not easily broken, so no matter how hard things may get, it's always worth fighting through to maintain that loving connection.
Not all parents have such lucky circumstances though, and dire consequences can sometimes mean dire actions, driven to nigh unthinkable decisions. These decisions aren't the be-all-end-all though, as there are now more opportunities than ever for all parties to have a safer future.
That type of stress can weigh heavily on a mind, making the person in question feel awful about themselves. If your low self-esteem has been dragging you down lately, you can start breaking free from that cage today.
The Hardest Decision
It's something most of us have likely said before, not everyone is fit to raise a child. Though it's often brought up as a judgement or a point of concern, there's also a more grounded context in which that's said, and it's when a parent themselves has to ask whether or not they're able to raise a baby.
For those that understand they're not, be it due to financial reasons, mental health reasons, or otherwise, there are a growing number of services for them.
In cities across the country, there are buildings with a feature known as the Safe Haven Baby Box. The box is a place where parents who need to abandon their child, for whatever reason that may be, can do so safely and anonymously, knowing someone will safely retrieve the baby and give it a new life.
It sounds cruel, the thought of ever abandoning a child, but boxes like these prevent these children from being left somewhere they may not get found, where they may get kidnapped, or worse, prevent their death.
Sound The Alarm
These boxes are often stationed in places with 24-hour monitoring (or close to) so the baby isn't left alone for too long. In Ocala, Florida, the Safe Haven Baby Box is in the local fire station.
That's where a man named Vincent was working when he heard an alarm go off. Not the usual fire alarm that signified it was time to hop aboard a truck, but the alarm that told him someone had used the Safe Haven Box.
Right From The Start
He originally believed it to be a false alarm, but went to investigate. That's where he found a small baby girl wrapped up in a pink blanket.
"She had a little bottle with her, and she was just chilling," he told NBC News. “I picked her up and held her. We locked eyes, and that was it. I've loved her ever since that moment.”
Unbeknownst to the baby, who would later be named Zoey, and the parent who surrendered her, she arrived at just the right time.
Vincent and his wife, Katie, had been trying to have a child for upwards of a decade with no luck. Zoey's coincidental arrival during his overnight shift seemed to be a sign. She was meant to be part of their family.
Not right away, though. The protocol involving the Safe Haven Box is that the baby must first be brought to the hospital.
So, Vincent wrote a note explaining his immediate wish to adopt Zoey and tucked it inside her blanket before he handed her over to the hospital staff.
The Missing Piece
"I explained that my wife and I had been trying for 10 years to have a baby. I told them we'd completed all of our classes in the state of Florida and were registered to adopt," he said. “All we needed was a child.”
When his wife woke up the next morning and he was able to tell her what happened, she immediately began to cry. "I was like, 'Don't get too excited yet," Vincent told TODAY. “My biggest fear was that the note I wrote wouldn’t stay with Zoey and she’d be gone. It was a very stressful few days.”
They're A Family
However, just two days after he found her in the Safe Haven Box, Zoey was at home with her new parents, their path toward an official adoption having just started.
"Before you finalize, anything can happen, and we've experienced that in the past. So when the judge said, 'You guys are a family,’ we kind of looked at each other and we’re like, ‘We’re a family! Holy guacamole, we’re a family!’" Katie said. “So that was easily the best day of our lives.”
Zoey was originally brought home in January, but the adoption wasn't finalized until April.
A Stranger's Thanks
Vincent and Katie are immensely grateful for Katie's birth mother, whoever she is and wherever she may be. "We needed each other," Katie explained, "And the way we were able to help each other was through that baby box."
Their goal with making their story so public is that it will one day get back to Zoey's birth mother, and she'll get to know that her child is safe with a family who loves her.
The Best Case Scenario
"It's not about me. It’s not about my wife. It’s not about our journey to have kids. It’s not about me being a first responder. It’s about this beautiful little girl who was given the chance of life, and that she’s been adopted, she’s loved and hopefully her birth mother sees it and recognizes that she did the right thing," Vincent explained.
"She doesn’t have to worry anymore. Her daughter’s taken care of and is loved beyond words.”
Doing The Right Thing
Monica Kelsey, the founder of Safe Haven Baby Boxes, spoke at a press conference the day that Zoey was surrendered and found, expressing much the same sentiment that Vincent later would.
"We want to address the parents who legally surrendered this infant. And right now, I'm going to talk directly to her or him," she said at the time. "Thank you. Thank you for keeping your child safe. Thank you for bringing your child to a place that you knew was going to take care of this child. And thank you for doing what you felt was best."
More Safe, Healthy Children
Facing a decision like whether or not you're able to support a baby you just brought into the world must be immensely tough. There are so many factors that could make someone aware they're not fit to raise a child, but the guilt associated with abandonment is too much to bear for many, meaning that child gets raised in an unfit, unstable home instead.
Luckily for Zoey, her mother was strong enough to do what was right, no matter how awful it must have felt. They can both go on to live a better, healthier life now because of her decision and because of the confidence that Safe Haven Boxes give parents like her.
Being raised in a household that's not able to properly care for a child can leave some deep scars. Trauma like that can continue to affect people all the way into adulthood, making even simple life tasks difficult.
This quiz can help you unearth the latent traumas that have been silently poisoning your life. Once you know the core of the issue, you can tackle it head-on and grow into a whole new person. Uncover this hidden center today and take back your life!