Baby box founder is pleased it fulfilled its purpose

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MICHIGAN CITY, Ind. (WNDU)- All 50 states have safe haven laws. Those laws allow moms who don't have the means to take care of a baby to relinquish the child to the right people.

Officials on Wednesday were grateful that the Coolspring Township Volunteer Fire Department's 'Safe Haven Baby Box' finally did its job.

"I had to sit down and take a deep breath because all of this hard work that we had been working so hard for has finally paid off so my heart is full, my heart is full," said Safe Haven Baby Boxes founder Monica Kelsey. "I'm here to thank this young mother for doing the right thing because she had an option to throw that child in the trash and she chose not to. She chose to walk or drive down to that fire station, open that baby box and place the baby inside."

Kelsey's mom was raped at 17-years-old and abandoned her daughter two hours after she was born.

"Having a back story myself of being abandoned as a child I've always had the want to help," Kelsey said. "18 months after the box was installed in the building it held its first baby."

Kelsey said they had eyed the Michigan City location as an area for a baby box because they had seven baby abandonments in the last 15 years within a five mile radius of the city.

"We knew that was a hot location for illegal abandonments even with the existing safe haven law," said Kelsey.

There is another baby box located in Woodburn.

Kelsey got the idea after going on a speaking tour in South Africa in 2014. They had a baby safe at a church.

Kelsey said there is nothing like this in the U.S. the closest is in Canada called 'Angel Cradles'.

The National Safe Haven Alliance calls instances like Tuesday night's a 'crisis pregnancy'.

"Usually they want the baby to live, but they do not have the means to take care of a child and so they're terrified and not sure what to do," said Heather Burner, the Executive Director of the National Safe Haven Alliance.

The alliance will first try to help you parent your child. If that's not possible, adoption follows. Safe haven is a last resort.

"We want to encourage a mother to relinquish this baby, an unharmed newborn, to a safe haven provider instead of leaving a newborn in an unsafe situation," Burner said.

But all grateful for this mom's actions.

"She did the right thing," said Kelsey. "Might not have been what you would have done or what I would have done or many other people, but if that's all she could do, then that was enough."

Kelsey said they are speaking to more cities in Indiana and a few in Ohio to take baby boxes there as well. She's confident it'll take off now that someone has utilized a box. She expects more boxes as early as the new year.

Safe Haven Law In Indiana
You have the right to give up your baby legally and anonymously
You will not be prosecuted
Any hospital, fire or police station can take the baby
The child must be no older than 30 days
Once the authorities take your baby, it will be given to the Department of Child Services

Safe Haven Law In Michigan
You have the right to give up your baby legally and anonymously
You will not be prosecuted
The baby must be no more than three days old
You can leave the baby with a staff member at any hospital, fire or police station or any emergency service provider on duty
The baby will be taken to the proper authorities

For more information on the baby boxes, please follow this link: http://www.safehavenbabyboxes.com/

Safe Haven Baby Boxes has a 24 hour hotline you can call as well at 1-866-99BABY1.

To learn more about finding a safe haven, please follow this link: http://www.nationalsafehavenalliance.org/maps/

The National Safe Haven Alliance also has 24 hour crisis hotline at 1-888-510-BABY.