“We are making history.” The first Safe Haven Baby Box in Idaho comes to Blackfoot
“We are making history.” The first Safe Haven Baby Box in Idaho comes to Blackfoot

BLACKFOOT — History was made in Idaho this week when the state received its first baby box. It’s located in Blackfoot.

At Grove Creek Medical Center, located at 350 North Meridian Street, there is a sign that reads “Safe Haven Baby Box Drop Off.” It is a designated location where parents can anonymously and safely drop off a baby they can no longer care for.

Watch the following video to see how the baby box works.

“For most of us, the birth of a child is a joyful event. But as we know as nurses in the delivery room, there are also times when childbirth is painful and unbearably sad. And it is precisely these women that we want to help with this Safe Haven Baby Box,” says Patty Killian, nursing director at Grove Creek Medical Center.

The baby box was blessed by a local minister on Tuesday. It is the 245th box in the United States. It comes from an organization called Safe Haven Baby Boxes. Click here to learn more.

“This box is now available to women in this community and beyond. This box offers no shame, no guilt and no names,” said Monica Kelsey, founder of Safe Haven Baby Boxes.

Kelsey of Indiana said Idaho is the 19th state to receive a Safe Haven Baby Box.

At the blessing in Blackfoot, she spoke to over 100 people about how she became an advocate. Kelsey shared a true story from August 1972 about a 17-year-old girl who was brutally attacked, raped and left on the side of the road.

Monica Kelsey
Monica Kelsey, founder of Safe Haven Baby Boxes. | Andrea Olson,

She said the girl was strong enough to file a complaint against the man who raped her.

“When her life finally returned to normal, she found out she was pregnant and went into hiding for the rest of her pregnancy. She gave birth to her child in April 1973 and abandoned it two hours after birth,” Kelsey said. “And that child was me.”

She said she is now at the forefront of this movement.

“This is my legacy and I am their voice. I will always be with these mothers who are choosing something safe. And I will always be with these children who are growing up knowing their worth and their purpose,” Kelsey said.

She added that there is a crisis hotline that can be called or texted 24 hours a day at 1-866-99BABY1.

Since 2017, 50 infants have been safely and legally surrendered in a baby box. National Safe Haven’s crisis hotline has assisted with over 150 surrenders, the website says.

Killian said the box cost $12,000 to purchase. She said the Bingham Healthcare Foundation agreed to cover the cost and received a grant through the KFC restaurant chain.

“Our dream is for it to become a resource,” Killian said.

Hailey Dahle, a bereavement counselor at Grove Creek Medical Center, came up with the idea of ​​getting the baby box. She described how it was a journey to bring it to the community. It also raised awareness about the Safe Haven Act.

“Our immediate concern was the fact that Idaho law does not contain language in our Safe Haven Act that allows for handover in a device like the Safe Haven Baby Box,” Dahle said.

Many key people have come together to make change and get the box. One of those people was Idaho Republican Senator Julie VanOrden, who started the process to amend the Safe Haven legislation to allow anonymous surrender of newborns via safe devices in Idaho, a press release said.

The amendment to the existing Safe Haven Baby Act passed unanimously in March. Governor Brad Little signed it and it went into effect on July 1.

“Today we are making history in Idaho. We are giving women an option that has never been available before in this state. We are giving women 100 percent anonymity if they want it, so they cannot just walk into a facility and hand their child over to a person,” Kelsey said.

Dahle and Killian expressed their gratitude that the city was able to receive one.

“We just want to show our compassion to mothers in situations like this. We know that every story is different and that being a mother honestly looks different for everyone in this world and for some, the alternative might be having to give up their baby,” said Dahle.

Surrendered infants are adopted by families who have registered as foster parents for adoption.

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By Everly