CLINTON, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV)– For Amanda Murphy, Monday marked the end of a journey that lasted over three years– all the way back to before the start of the pandemic.
That’s when she first heard about Safe Haven Baby Boxes– and decided she wanted to bring one to her community.
“I was born and raised here in Vermillion County,” Murphy said. “Back in early 2020 I was thinking of other ways to help the community, I’ve known Chris Strohm, the fire chief here, for a number of years, and I came across the safe haven baby box.”
The Clinton Fire Department unveiled the resource, the 109th now available across Indiana, during a blessing ceremony on Monday. Murphy led the charge in raising around $20,000– and she was overcome with emotion in the morning as they neared the event.
“It’s amazing. This morning actually, on my way to work I was in tears, thinking about how exciting this is that this is happening tonight. It took three years because we all know the world shutdown thanks to COVID,” she said. “It’s hard when you can’t go see people and talk to them face-to-face and explain to them exactly what the safe haven law is.”
The organization hopes that these boxes can help raise awareness on the issue– something development coordinator Mariah Betz said is a main goal of the organization.
“Our mission is to end infant abandonment all over the nation,” she said. “This offers another option for parents to safely and lovingly surrender their child if they don’t want to go face-to-face with somebody.”
If a child is placed in the box, first responders are notified and they take care of the child as other agencies work to find a permanent home within 30-45 days.
Betz said adding another box is always bittersweet– but she’s happy to give families in crisis another place to go.
“We know that we need to put these in more communities, our heart is always happy that a baby is safely surrendered, but then it’s also broken because we know a mother did not feel like she had another option,” she said.
Murphy said that she hopes to see more boxes pop up around Indiana– and the country.
“All I did was start sending out letters, emails, text messages, phone calls, anything you can do. It’s well worth the time and effort,” she said. “I think these need to be in every community across the state.”
More information can be found on their website or by calling 888-742-2133.