MICHIGAN CITY — A Safe Haven Baby Box was blessed Tuesday morning and placed at Franciscan Health Michigan City, the first hospital in Indiana to receive a baby box.
The baby box is outside next to the Emergency Department Ambulance garage at the hospital and is in a heated and air conditioned room with its own ventilation. It is available to new mothers who want to use Indiana's Safe Haven law which enables a person to give up an unwanted infant anonymously without fear of arrest or prosecution.
An alarm sounds in the Emergency Department when the box is used, notifying staff to immediately tend to the baby.
The Most Rev. Donald Hying, bishop of the Gary Diocese, presided over the blessing.
"Just think of the mothers who will come here and use this," he said. "This is a place of hospitality and, regardless of circumstances, no child is ever a mistake. There is always room in our hearts for one more child."
The founder and CEO of Safe Haven Baby Boxes, Monica Kelsey, was on hand for the blessing.
"I could not be more proud of this baby box," Kelsey said. "Way back in October 1972 a woman was raped and got pregnant and had the baby in April of 1973 and abandoned it at the hospital. That baby was me. I was once dumped and now I am so proud of these Baby Boxes."
Kelsey stressed that every child is wanted by someone and some women don't want their face seen when they are giving up or abandoning a baby.
Hying added that nothing is more pro-life than this baby box.
"It gives both freedom and peace to a mother," Hying said. "Three years ago we blessed this land of the hospital and now we are allowing someone to enter into your heart."
"This is an exciting day for us," hospital president and CEO Dean Mazzoni said. "We've been working with Safe Haven for three years."
Chesterton Fire Department and Coolspring Township fire stations also have Safe Haven Baby Boxes.