A firefighter from Michigan City was in for the shock of his life after coming across an abandoned baby at the department’s Safe Haven Baby Box.
Coolspring Township Volunteer Fire Chief, Mick Pawlik, was alerted to some sort of activity at the baby box, but initially assumed it was just somebody pulling a prank – he’d experienced false alarms before.
Looking through the holes of the box, Pawlik could make out a sweatshirt and a small arm, but to his surprise, found a little girl – who was only about one hour old.
Her umbilical cord was still attached to her tiny body and she had not yet been cleaned up.
— Chris Hush (@ChrisHushNBC) November 8, 2017
According to NWI, Pawlik made the following statement to reporters at a press conference:
I can see this sweatshirt and I seen a little bitty arm then, boy, adrenaline sets in, I opened it up and that baby just looked me right in the eyes.
I’m elated. Him and I were like proud papas in the back of the ambulance. By law we have to ride in with this baby.
Assistant Chief of the Fire Department, Warren Smith, explained how the child’s mother had done ‘the right thing’:
She stepped up to the plate and did the right thing by turning the baby into the baby box instead of us finding the baby in a ditch, in the woods or in the dumpster… we hear so many horrible stories.
— PostTrib (@PostTrib) November 8, 2017
The baby girl remained calm and quiet despite her unusual circumstances and was found to be in a healthy condition after being transported to Michigan City Hospital by ambulance.
The seven-pound baby is now in the custody of the Department of Child Services, who will place her in emergency foster care.
Shout out to the Indiana Knights of Columbus for donating this baby box!!!! Well done Chief Pawlik, well done!!! https://t.co/awx4uxyDih
— Safe Haven Baby Box (@SafeHavenBox1) November 15, 2017
Safe Haven Baby Boxes is a charity which was established by medic and volunteer fire fighter, Monica Kelsey – who herself, was abandoned on the day of her birth.
The baby box – which is mounted into the wall of the fire station – is there to encourage mothers to give unwanted infants away in a safe and anonymous manner, without fear of being prosecuted.
It’s specially fitted with heating and cooling technology, as well as an alarm system which alerts emergency service personnel to the infants presence, within 30 seconds.
Once the child is placed inside the box, the outside door is locked safely.
According to the Safe Haven Baby Boxes website:
These women love their children and they want to do what’s best for the child but they don’t want to have their faces seen. The baby boxes take the face-to-face interaction out of the surrender and protects the mother from being seen.
#Indiana #newborn left in “Safe Haven Baby Box” doing OK. 1st time ever that someone used box in #US. Sends 911 call to dispatch. #safehaven #safehavenbabyboxes
More tonight at 6 on @cbschicago pic.twitter.com/vcqozt9lB1
— LAUREN VICTORY (@LaurenVictory) November 8, 2017
This newborn is the first child to be found in the Coolspring Township box since it was installed back in April 2016.
There are only two such boxes in the US, with the other one situated in Woodburn, Indiana. Four further boxes are scheduled to be installed next year, in locations within Indiana and Ohio.
Watch Pawlik discuss the importance of these boxes – which have proved to be controversial among some people – below:
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Both Pawlik and Smith say they would be open to adopting the little girl, who they now appropriately refer to as ‘Baby Hope’.
Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.