Safe Haven Mangers
With a full page picture of a ribbon cutting, the Ashe County Chamber of Commerce announced the states's first Safe Haven Baby Box. The photo was what drew me to the article; 15 or so happy smiling people holding on to a big red ribbon. Then the word "baby box" piqued my interest. What could that be? And so I read further.
"Safe Haven Baby Boxes are a way for mothers or fathers to safely and anonymously surrender their babies if they feel they do not have the means to take care of them or raise them....Once a baby is placed in the blanketed, heated and camera monitored box, the door will lock and an alarm will ring in the 911 dispatch center. Once the door is open, three phone calls are made immediately tot he Sheriff's Office 911 center, Ashe County Department of Social Services and Ashe Memorial Hospital. In less than 60 seconds, an official will retrieve the child from the box and transport the baby either to the DSS or AMH."
I was speechless as I read this article. Having spent most of Advent thinking about the manger into which the Christ Child was laid after his birth, I realized what a holy manger box this one is. Born into a world of fear and neglect, in a stable or a back alley, to young unwed parents, the babies who are placed in this box are not very different from the Christ Child in their circumstances at birth. The hope into which these babies are placed is profound...hope of the parents for the child they must let go, hope of the child who will be cared for, and hope of the parents who long to adopt and will perhaps receive this child.
I am sure there are other Safe Haven Baby Boxes all over the world, but I had never heard of them. I am certain I will never forget learning about them during this Advent season. May all of us be filled with profound Hope like the Hope that begins in those Baby Boxes.