MICHIGAN CITY, Ind. — It was just five months ago that a newborn was left in a Save Haven baby box near Michigan City, IN, and it happened again Sunday night.
"It’s a mixture of every emotion you can think of: excitement, happiness, a little sad," said Lt. Chuck Kohler, Coolspring Township Fire Dept.
They're sad it came to this, but happy the newborn — who still had its umbilical cord attached — was in good shape. Lt. Kohler said he was headed to the grocery store when his pager went off around 7 p.m. Sunday.
"As I walked up to the office door I heard a baby crying," Kohler said.
As a father of five, he immediately jumped into dad mode.
"I didn’t want to give the baby up, I was holding the baby, I was rocking the baby, I was making sure everything was okay," he said.
It’s the second time in five months a baby has been left in the Coolspring Township volunteer firehouse’s baby box. Back in November, another baby was put in the heated, secure box that's equipped with a motion-activated alarm system. That infant has reportedly been adopted and is now living in southern Indiana.
Monica Kelsey, the founder of Safe Haven Baby Boxes, says they allow mothers to remain anonymous while legally giving up their child within 30 days of birth. She says she purposely worked to have a baby box installed in the Michigan City, Indiana area because so many babies were being abandoned there.
"I’m heartbroken for this mom but I’m also excited that she chose a safe place to surrender her child," Kelsey said.
The program has been so successful a third safe haven box could be coming to the area by summer.
"Now since we’ve put that box there, which was in April of 2016, we’ve had zero abandonments in the state of Indiana, where for the last 17 years prior to 2016 we were have two to three dead babies found in our state," Kelsey said.
The last time a baby was left in the box, the hospital was flooded with calls from people wanting to adopt it. But Kelsey and Lt. Kohler want to remind everyone there are thousands of children looking for forever homes.
"Yes, this gets publicized and people see it and they want to take in this baby; there are thousands of others," Kohler said.
So if you’re interested in adopting this baby, or any child or even fostering, don’t call the hospital; instead, contact the Indiana Department of Child Services.