Adoption vs. Safe Haven: What You Should Know

by | Sep 30, 2022 | Birth Parent Blog

A mom holds her newborn baby at the hospital while thinking abut safe haven or a baby boxSafe Haven laws allow a person to give up their unwanted baby secretly at a baby box. This is a location permitted by law. Mothers can drop their baby off at a Safe Haven location so long as it hasn’t been abused.
Legislators created Safe Haven laws to protect babies from being abandoned in places like public toilets, dumpsters, or on someone’s front porch. A Safe Haven law generally forms a list of safe places a parent can leave their newborn with no criminal liability for abandoning a child and no questions asked.

Unexpected Pregnancy

If you’re going through an unexpected pregnancy, it can quickly turn your life upside down. You or someone you know may be afraid to tell parents, facing addiction issues, or in a domestic violence situation. Or, you might be facing postpartum depression, afraid of being in trouble for your citizenship status, or worried that you can’t remain anonymous if you choose adoption.
If you can relate to any of these situations, our hearts go out to you. Sometimes, in cases like these, the pregnant mother will ignore her pregnancy until she cannot ignore it anymore because she goes into labor.
What now? She wasn’t ready to face the truth, so now there is a baby she’s told no one about. But if she cannot face the reality of pregnancy, parenting will be even more challenging.

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Making the Right Decision for Your Baby

It’s times like these when it is important to do the right thing for this baby. If you don’t want anyone to know you had a baby, you can drop them off your at a Safe Haven location such as a fire station, hospital, police station, or other approved site. There will be no questions asked and no judgment given.
Make sure to alert someone that you are dropping off your infant at a baby box. Earlier this year, a baby was left outside a Chicago fire station in a duffel bag on a freezing night. No one discovered the baby until the next day, and sadly, he did not make it.
Most Safe Haven locations will have signs, and some will also have Safe Haven boxes. This box locks out the outside for safety so that you can place your baby in this box. Staff in the building will be alerted to come and retrieve the baby. To get information on the Safe Haven laws and locations in your state, you can call or text 1-888-510-BABY (2229).

Adoption is Another Option

While you may not be ready to parent, a baby is a precious being that deserves a good life. Many childless couples would love to adopt your baby. Adoption is an option, no matter how old your baby is, how far along you are in your pregnancy, or what kind of situation you face.
While dropping your baby off at a Safe Haven location may seem like the best option, this is not the case. With adoption, you can choose your baby’s adoptive parents, get help, and decide how much you’d like to keep in touch with your child as they grow up.
Adoption offers many advantages that leaving your baby in a Safe Haven doesn’t. No matter what the situation is, a woman can create a private, legal adoption plan just as easily and quickly as she can drop off a child under a state’s Safe Haven laws.
Advantages of choosing adoption instead of dropping off your baby at a Safe Haven:

  • Your baby won’t go into the already-full foster care system. They can go home with a loving and stable adoptive couple right away.
  • You will know what happened to your child (even if you choose a closed adoption). In the future, you may rethink your decision to leave your child at a Safe Haven location and wonder how they are doing. Adoption answers all your questions.
  • Counseling and peer support will be available at no cost to you.
  • Adoption is free, so you don’t need to worry about the cost. You may even be able to get financial assistance for your housing, living expenses, medical costs, and more.
  • Adoption offers you and your baby more security and stability throughout the adoption process and in the long run.
  • If you’d like, you can choose an open adoption that allows you to stay in touch with your child and the adoptive family. Many birth mothers have a great relationship with their adult adopted child.
  • You can place your baby for adoption anonymously and confidentially.
  • It’s never too late to choose adoption for your baby.

Lifetime is Here to Help

At Lifetime Adoption, there is an adoptive family for every child. They are ready and excited to become parents through adoption.
Our adoption coordinators are available to talk or text with you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at 1-800-923-6784. They can help you get support at no cost. In addition, the coordinators will manage your situation confidentially and won’t judge you.
Lifetime’s adoption professionals will answer your questions. Getting more info will help you determine if adoption is a better option for your child than just dropping them off at a baby box at a Safe Haven for a stranger to care for them.
There is help available, no matter your current situation. So please don’t throw your baby away. By reaching out for help, you can keep both you and your baby safe. Call or text Lifetime or the Safe Haven National hotline. You’ll hear a kind, caring, and non-judgmental voice on the other end, ready to help you.

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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on August 1, 2017, and has since been updated. 

Heather Featherston

Written by Heather Featherston

As Vice President of Lifetime Adoption, Heather Featherston holds an MBA and is passionate about working with those facing adoption, pregnancy, and parenting issues. Heather has conducted training for birth parent advocates, spoken to professional groups, and has appeared on television and radio to discuss the multiple aspects of adoption. She has provided one-on-one support to women and hopeful adoptive parents working through adoption decisions.

Since 2002, she has been helping pregnant women and others in crisis to learn more about adoption. Heather also trains and speaks nationwide to pregnancy clinics to effectively meet the needs of women who want to explore adoption for their child. Today, she continues to address the concerns women have about adoption and supports the needs of women who choose adoption for their child.

As a published author of the book Called to Adoption, Featherston loves to see God’s hand at work every day as she helps children and families come together through adoption.

Read more about Heather Featherston

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