Health officials in Lowell, Indiana—about an hour south of Chicago, just across the state line—say that tragedy seems to have been averted as an abandoned newborn baby is expected to fully recover after being found in a rural backyard. According to reports, the baby girl was found wrapped in a towel, lying in the sun about 100 yards from the street. The infant was taken to the hospital for treatment and is expected to be released into the custody of the state’s foster care system, opening the door to a potential adoption.
Rough Beginning, Promising Future
Lake County (Indiana) Sheriff John Buncich announced this week that his department received a call on Monday morning regarding a newborn found in a family’s backyard. The baby had been found by a 9-year-old little girl who reported what she saw to her mother. The girl’s mother took the newborn out of the summer heat, into the house, and called the police. An extensive search was conducted to find the mother of the abandoned child, but the hunt has, thus far, been unsuccessful.
Buncich believes the infant was just a few hours old, as she was found with her placenta and umbilical cord still attached. Despite a sunburn, the newborn is considered healthy and is expected to make a full recovery. As far the little girl who found the newborn, Buncich is calling her a “guardian angel.” “To think if the 9-year-old wouldn’t have gone outside, this could’ve had a very different outcome,” he said. His department is planning to honor the young girl for her help in saving the newborn’s life.
Safe Haven Laws
Officials have also expressed concern over the incident based on the apparent lack of public awareness regarding options for parents in desperate situations. Indiana and Illinois, along with every other state, have enacted laws that allow a mother or father to legally relinquish a newborn at a designated “safe haven” site, which generally includes police stations, fire stations, and hospitals. When a parent chooses to relinquish a child under these laws, personnel at the safe haven site may try to gather certain information, but the baby’s safety is always paramount. A parent can decline to answer personal questions, and, as long as there are no signs or indications of abuse or endangerment, he or she is not in danger of prosecution for abandoning a baby.
In Indiana, more than a dozen babies have been safely relinquished and adopted under the safe haven law. The number is staggeringly higher in Illinois, as more than 100 infants have been relinquished.
Adoption Help in Illinois
If you would like to open your home to a newborn who was relinquished safely instead of abandoned, an experienced Orland Park adoption attorney can help with the process. Call 708-518-8200 today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation at Kezy & Associates.