City raising awareness about Safe Haven law 17 years after it went into effect

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CHICAGO --  The Illinois Safe Haven law allows a mother to drop off a baby at a hospital, police or fire station with no questions asked. The city is raising awareness about the law, 17 years after it went into effect.

The Safe Haven law was passed in 2001. But there are still so many people who don’t know about it.

Monday was about raising awareness and sharing stories of hope.

Sophie Donahue is a daughter, a sister, and a safe haven child.

"She was only No. 47 so she was pretty early on and I think we have over 120 at this point,” Melissa Donahue, Sophie’s mother, said.

Donahue received a call on Halloween 10 years ago.

“They called and asked us if we wanted to adopt Sophie. We were on the list to adopt for almost a year and of course there was no question we just went ahead,” she said.

The Safe Haven law is simple. A parent can turn in an unharmed baby less than 30 days old to police, firefighters, or hospital staff and walk away with no questions asked.

“If there is any parent who is feeling the weight of the world on their shoulders, the Chicago Fire Department will be here when you need us and no baby will ever, ever be turned away,” Jose Santiago, fire commissioner, said.

“There’s always another choice you don’t have to do it on your own. There’s always families out there wanting and needing the love of their life,” Donahue said.

The law likely saved Sophie’s life. At the very least, it gave her a loving family.

On Monday, Sophie was surrounded by several other kids who are just like her.

“Now we have a network of other kids who have been through the same thing. Every summer we get together and the kids can bond and if they have any questions they know they have other families they can turn to,” Donahue said.

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