More Thoughts on The Baby Box Legislation

28 Feb

I can’t stop thinking about the safe haven baby box legislation in Indiana and how archaic and wrong-headed it seems to be. Wrong-headed that the state may not even know it has another citizen it is responsible for as babe’s guardian, as it’s optional whether or not to tell the state, or they can just contact an adoption agency when a baby is left in a safe haven box. When there is no documentation of the babe to even give to the state other than the baby was left in a safe haven box, let alone provide the merest bits of knowledge of where and who brought the babe into the world, they are just left with the fact they were left in a box to tell the child – it sure seems both archaic and dehumanizing at the same time.

Growing up I had little to no knowledge, other than the made up story told to mom and dad by the county social worker in charge of finding homes for babies given up at birth. It was hard enough dealing with that little bit of info, but at least I knew my mother’s surname as dad had it on the receipt from my stay in the hospital with a surname that pointed to where some of my ancestors came from, but a baby left in a box won’t even have that smallest of snippets of knowledge.

It also brought up memories for me, memories I didn’t want to think about, including how often I’ve mentally recited my mantra of “It’s not if they leave, it’s when they leave”. Over the years from the time I was still a child to now, the wording has changed, but it’s still an active participant in my head today when something brings it to the surface. When you weren’t kept to start with, it sticks with you as to what you can expect life to be like, when you weren’t even worth keeping by your mother and what that says about you as well. And I know I’m not alone in feeling that way, imagine how hard this will be for safe haven babies.

And yes, I know people have other explanations, but the reality is the reality, you weren’t kept.

Even all these decades later – I still expect everyone in my life to eventually leave, I know they’ll see something in me that I can’t see. I also know these feelings I’ve always had are feelings other adoptees from my era still have, or had.

Maybe it will help you understand what I mean from a post I wrote in 2013 Everyone leaves…

Now imagine what a child may feel growing up that was left in a box when that’s their starting, and only story. Imagine how hard it would be to explain that to a child, a child who as they grow older likely have big feelings about what was done to them. A child who will also have all the typical questions that will be left unanswered, as my questions were left unanswered. At least my story included the context that society did not accept bastard children (no, mom and dad they didn’t use that word but I figured out it meant the same as illegitimate and that having sex before marriage was taboo and bad). That societal view may still be part of the child’s reality, or not, as times have changed since then for many people, so hopefully these babies today won’t be tainted with that making them suspect, at best, bastards as worst.

From the sheer amount of Baby Boxes in play today across the states, 98 in Indiana alone, expect many more of these stories to become part of adoption. Going backwards, instead of forward, I don’t see how it won’t become a stumbling block to the child, as it was in our days of stranger adoptions.

Thankful for Gregory Luce who does so much for adoptees and brought this to my attention. Indiana Senate Creates an Adoption-in-a-Box Pipeline

Indiana SB345 here


Posted by on February 28, 2023 in Adoption, adoptive parents, Ethics


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

10 responses to “More Thoughts on The Baby Box Legislation

  1. maryleesdream

    March 1, 2023 at 2:13 pm

    My mantra was, “family is for other people, but not for me.” I said it to myself when I saw family resemblances. I didn’t know other adoptees had this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TAO

      March 1, 2023 at 4:23 pm

      I’m sure there are other adoptees that do as well. Hugs


    • beth62

      March 6, 2023 at 1:46 pm

      Oh yeah, I caught it too, and I said it to everybody.

      RIP buddy

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Stop BabyBoxes

    March 4, 2023 at 8:11 am

    Thanks so much for posting this. I have linked this and your 3 other pieces on the Commentaries, Op-eds and Blogs page on the Stop Safe Haven Baby Boxes Now website and a quote from this specific blog on the What Critics are Saying page under Indiana. It’s getting nuts. I am spending hours a day on this, but it’s hard to make a dent. Anyone who criticizes is either ignored or bullied and called a baby killer.I even was called a pedophile.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. beth62

    March 6, 2023 at 2:13 pm

    I can’t quit thinking about it eiher.
    I thought things were supposed to be different now.

    Encouraging anonymus child abandonment to supply Adoptions, like there isn’t a thing wrong with it, just isn’t something I can support as an Adoptee, a mother, a daughter or a human.

    They are obviously not concerned at all with the mother/newborn connection if the box isn’t big enough for both. It’s blatant, unhealthy, and terribly offensive to me when no respect is paid to “mother”. It’s very obvious that this all about creating adoptees for others that want them, and others that love the feel good romance of Saved by Adoption.

    Being disconnected from that bond is a sickness in my world. And this bright idea is one of the side effects of it that harms others greatly with it’s so-called good intentions.


    • TAO

      March 6, 2023 at 6:29 pm

      Thank you Beth – I honestly can’t imagine how anyone could see this as a moral good. Been trying to remember the first mom who chose to go leave her baby at the hospital – her name was Thanksgivingmom (maybe). When she was doing that, a paramedic was there as well, she was an adoptee and begged her to leave her name. – anyone remember her?


      • beth62

        March 7, 2023 at 6:09 am

        I do remember her saying that, and I think about that often too, but the name….. argh
        I’m pretty sure I’ve heard that from more than one that went to the hospital. That once they got in there and heard the benefits for the child and themselves of identification, or openness, they were able to make healthier choices for both.

        I think it’s all just so foggy, for most all
        I’ve talked to many that do not believe you can legally abandon and relinquish your child/ren at any time, without a legal charge of some kind. Many believe the baby box is a way around being caught and prosecuted for abandonment, why they are left in awful places, so it’s a great idea to save baby. They have no idea you can take them to a hospital, police station, etc. You know, you’re supposed to leave them on the church doorstep and hide, the authorities will be called, unless the finder wants to be the savior of course.
        I think movies and old stories are all many really know to go by.

        I still see ads all the time for broke and scared pregnant mothers. I’m surprised I haven’t seen advertising for overwhelmed struggling parents (or grandparents) of born infants, or toddlers even. Telling them where to go, who to contact, without having to go through any feared abandonment charges or the stigma of going to social services for help… Since that would float like a turd in the pool, I guess their idea for the born children is the anonymous box that anyone could put anyone’s infant in and run?
        I probably shouldn’t give the barbaric agencies any ideas.


  4. BA

    May 20, 2023 at 5:12 pm

    As an abandoned baby myself, I think you are missing the entire point of the Safe Haven Baby Boxes.

    The purpose of the boxes is NOT to encourage birth mothers to use them instead of legal adoption routes! The purpose is TO KEEP BABIES FROM BEING LEFT IN UNSAFE SITUATIONS BY MOTHERS WHO WERE GOING TO ABANDON THEM ANYWAY.

    I was left naked in an unheated apartment hallway in winter, and as a 5 pound newborn I was lucky to survive. I have found my biological parents and I’ve learned that they planned my abandonment in advance. They had no intention of relinquishing me legally. There was no Safe Haven laws or boxes back then, and I’m lucky they left me in a building instead of throwing me in a dumpster.

    Because THAT is what the boxes are designed to prevent – true abandonment by parents who are more concerned with their own welfare and keeping their anonymity than with the safety of the newborn. They are designed to prevent the ‘baby on a doorstep’ – who, by the way ALSO has not a shred of information about who they are.

    Safe Haven laws and relinquishment at fire stations and hospitals are great, but not every birth parent will do it. They want the anonymity of not having to look someone in the eye as they hand over a newborn.

    Do we want babies alive, or do we want babies who ‘know something about where they came from’ …? I think we’d rather have the baby alive with no details vs left in a field or tossed in a trash can. These things DO still happen – look at the Safe Haven Baby Box FB page, they share when these stories come to their attention.

    It would be great if every parent relinquished the ‘right’ way but we’re talking about people in crisis here. The baby boxes are just designed as another safety net to keep babies alive.


    • TAO

      May 20, 2023 at 5:34 pm

      BA – I am against the safe haven boxes because they don’t offer any opt out solutions like taking your baby to the fire department does where they are given a band to reclaim the child, there are processes to ensure no one wants the baby.

      Safe Haven Baby Boxes have no reclaim, there is no checking to see if the mother was the one to abandon the child, if the father or grandparents want the child. Too many unknowns, not to mention the state that wasn’t even going to require notification to the state that the baby exists, to create a birth certificate for the little one – the state is supposed to be the child’s guardian until the adoption or guardianship happens.



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