CARMEL — For the third time in two months, a baby has been safely surrendered through the Safe Haven Baby Box at Carmel Fire Station #45.
The baby boy was recently surrendered and is healthy, according to a news release from Safe Haven Baby Boxes.
Safe Haven Baby Boxes was founded by Monica Kelsey, who was abandoned as an infant. Kelsey says she's proud of the parent who made the choice to surrender their baby.
"There's nothing better. Our whole job is about saving lives ,and this tops it. This just puts the icing on the cake," Carmel Division Chief John Moriarti said.
While Carmel's baby box has seen a record number of surrenders, Kelsey wants to remind parents of the other baby box locations that may be closer to a parent's home. Safe Haven Baby Boxes doesn't want a mom to have to drive a long distance after giving birth, and placing a baby in one community does not mean that community will be where the baby will live.
"It doesn't matter where they live, they're going to choose the best set of parents for this child ... they have the same amount of chance of ending up in Fort Wayne, or Hammond, or Evansville, as they do in the Carmel area," Kelsey said. "So we want people to know it doesn't matter where you go, these babies go through the same process and we ensure these babies are adopted by a loving family."
107 Safe Haven Baby Boxes are currently available in Indiana, Ohio, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, and New Mexico. A total of 19 babies have been placed in a Baby Box since 2017. Click HERE for a list of all available baby box locations across the country.
Tessa Higgs adopted her daughter Magnolia, known as Nola, three years ago. Nola was surrendered to firefighters in 2019.
"I just feel like we hit the jackpot with her. She is just so beautiful, smart, and funny and just keeps us laughing every day," Tessa said.
"She is spunky, sassy, but then she'll be sweet. She's kind of like a Sour Patch Kid," Nola's dad Keegan Higgs said.
Nola's dad says he didn't know he could love something so deeply — until he met Nola.
"She could have very easily ended up in a dumpster, left along side of the road in a bag," Keegan said. "Nola's mom in my book, and I think Tessa would agree with me on this, is a hero."
Doctors estimate four hours after Nola's mom gave birth, she handed her newborn baby girl, wrapped in a towel, over to firefighters.
"[Parents] should know we've got it from here, we will take it from here," Kelsey said.
What is a Safe Haven Baby Box?
Baby boxes are safe incubators that have alarm systems, so 911 is notified as soon as a baby is placed inside. The baby boxes also have heating and cooling features.
Once the infant is collected by first responders, they're taken to the nearest medical facility to be evaluated.
Infants surrendered under Indiana's Safe Haven Law are placed in the custody of the state's Department of Child Services after they are released from the hospital. The process then begins to find an adoptive family within 30-45 days.
@safehavenbabyboxes How does a baby box work? #Saving #AbandonedBabies #SafeHaven #NoMoreBabiesInDumpsters #SafeHavenBabyBoxes #SavingLives ♬ original sound - Monica Kelsey
Safe Haven Hotline
The boxes make the news, but the Safe Haven Hotline is where most of these journeys begin.
SHBB staffs a 24-hour Safe Haven hotline (1-866-99BABY1), so parents can talk to trained professionals and get more information about their options for surrendering or how to get assistance to help them be able to care for their child.
The SHBB hotline is staffed by licensed counselors.
The Safe Haven Law allows mothers to safely surrender their infants, anonymously, up to 30 days old
Under the Safe Haven Law, parents have up to 30 days to change their mind once they surrender an infant.
See the map below for locations of all available Safe Haven Baby Boxes in Indiana and across the country.