I recently had the opportunity to interview a birthmom who relinquished her child through her state’s safe haven laws. Before I dive into the heart of the post, let me tell you a little bit about safe haven laws in case you are unfamiliar with them. Safe haven allows allow a mother to safely leave her newborn child at a designated safe haven such as a fire department or hospital anonymously without being charged for abandonment. The child is then placed for adoption through the state. Safe haven laws are now in effect in each of the United States.
I have always thought women who used safe haven laws to relinquish their children were mysterious. They typically remain anonymous and we never hear anything from them so I was excited that this birthmom (whom we will call T) opened up and shared her story with us.
T was pretty shocked when she intitally found out that she was expecting her first child at 24 years old. She told her daughter’s father about the pregnancy but he was not interested in being involved.
I was in shock, totally surprised, and unbelieving. Then I was pretty calm about it. I figured I had time to decide what I was going to do. To be honest, no option was completely impossible so I figured I would think over my options.
T gave birth to her daughter at home alone in her bedroom. She remembers having a strange confidence that she could do this on her own, although she did have her phone right beside her, just in case anything went wrong.
After giving birth, she took her daughter to a local hospital that she knew had an amazing Neo-Natal Unit and that she would be in good hands there.
T recalls seeing safe haven signs at the local hospital when she would go there to visit friends or family members but never pictured herself ever using a safe haven.
I always saw the signs, but I never pictured myself being the kind of person that would use it. I did a lot of research on random things during the pregnancy, Safe Haven might have been one of the things that came up, although, I think I sought it out.
T goes on to talk about how she thinks society sees mothers who use safe haven laws.
I think that people think that Safe Haven Moms have this split second where they decide between killing their child and providing it with a safe environment. Hurting my child was never an option. I would never have put my baby in a dumpster. We are NOT those Moms. We’re not careless abandoners that took the “easy” way out. I can’t tell you how many times people accused me of placing using Safe Haven because it was easier than the hassle of traditional adoption. It wasn’t easy. And I didn’t do it because I just didn’t care.
In closing, I asked T what she wants the world to know about women who use safe havens to relinquish their children.
We’re just moms that placed our children for adoption in a different way. I can’t speak for all Safe Haven Moms. I’ve only spoken to one other one in my life. But we love our children. We want their safety and happiness. We’re not unlike any other Mother out there, except that we felt we had run out of options and were scared.
Thank you T for opening up, sharing your story, and giving us some insight into the heart and mind of a safe haven birthmom!