08 May What is the Difference between an Adoption and Utilizing a Safe Haven Law?
The Safe Haven Laws in Indiana, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Kentucky enable a person to leave a newborn at certain safe places without fear of criminal liability for child abandonment or neglect.
Recently, we, at Adoption Attorneys Kirsh & Kirsh, P.C. (“Kirsh & Kirsh”) met a birth mother at a hospital after she delivered her baby. Prior to giving birth, she told her doctor and hospital social worker that she wanted to invoke Safe Haven for the baby. She INCORRECTLY believed that if she gave the baby up for adoption, or more correctly placed the baby for adoption, she would have to pick the family who would adopt. She worried that she might jeopardize the well-being of her baby by picking the wrong family to adopt and felt that if she simply left the baby at the hospital, the authorities would take care of the baby and find a good home for the baby.
In fact, she correctly assumed that Child Protective Services (“CPS”), which is part of the Department of Children Services (“DCS”), would take care of the baby and find a good home. BUT, she would not know anything about the family and would not receive updates on how the baby grew and developed over the years. Additionally, the baby would go into foster care, possibly for several months. She did not want foster care for her baby.
Fortunately, her doctor had a number of patients and friends who adopted through Kirsh & Kirsh, giving the birth mother confidence that we, at Kirsh & Kirsh, were the right adoption professionals to help her. She asked the hospital to contact us. When we first spoke with her, she told us she still did not want to choose adoptive parents for her baby – she did not feel qualified to make that decision. We listened to her preferences for the type of family she wanted and presented her the profile of a family, which included lots of photos and information. She loved them. Although she originally told us she wanted a closed adoption, she decided to meet them when they came to the hospital late that night. The next day the family told us that she and they talked long into the morning. They all felt at peace having had the chance to meet and get to know each other. Meeting the family reaffirmed the good feelings the birth mother had about the family after having read their profile and looking at the pictures, they included with what they wrote. Neither she nor the adoptive parents would have had that chance through Safe Haven. Many of the pregnant women with whom we work want to review the profiles of several families and choose who will adopt. This mom did not. At Kirsh & Kirsh, we try to handle each adoption in the way most comfortable to all involved.
Also, she still has not decided if she would like to receive updates about the child, but the adoptive parents will put together lots of photographs and letters for her over the coming months and continuing for 18 years, should she decide later on that she wants them.
UNQUESTIONABLY, the Safe Haven Laws in Indiana, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Kentucky have saved the lives of many precious babies and given birth mothers an option of leaving their babies in safe places, rather a dumpster, as has happened all too many times. But, making an adoption plan for the baby gives the birth mother more options – she does not have to take advantage of those options, but she has them.
Additionally, as the name suggests, by making an adoption “plan” for a baby, she can feel proud that she fulfilled her role as a mother. Even though she will not do the parenting, she creates a parenting plan for her baby. She assures her baby of the opportunity for a bright future, in a loving and secure home – a very MOTHERLY thing to do!
We have lots of wonderful, carefully screened, loving families (married, single, Lesbian, and Gay) who cannot wait to welcome a baby into their hearts and homes and happy to assist with living expenses to the full extent allowed by law.
You can call, text and or email us anytime. To contact us—call: 317-575-5555, text: 317-721-2030, email: AdoptionSupport@kirsh.com, or Facebook message: https://www.facebook.com/KirshandKirsh/. We answer our office phone 24 hours a day, every single day. We try to respond to emails and text messages within minutes of receipt.