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Newborn left in 'baby box' at fire department

LA PORTE COUNTY, Ind. — Local families are encouraging new mothers facing hardships to explore other options after a newborn was left behind in a Safe Haven Baby Box in La Porte County Tuesday night.

“It’s always a last resort but such a great chance to give this baby hope,” said parent Heidi Meier.

An alarm from the box sounded at the La Porte County 911 center around 10:24 p.m.

“I can see the sweatshirt and I could see the little baby arm and then adrenaline set in,” said Chief Mick Pawlik of the Coolspring Fire Department.

Chief Pawlik recounted the moments one infant found hope during a press conference Wednesday.

An ambulance transported the baby to Franciscan St. Anthony's Hospital. It appeared to be healthy and in good condition, according to the La Porte County Sheriff's Office.

“To know that a young mother in crisis for whatever reason chose to surrender her child to us last night made my heart full,” said Monica Kelsey, the founder of Safe Haven Baby Box.

Indiana’s Safe Haven Law allows a parent to give up an unwanted infant at an emergency medical provider anonymously without fear of consequences.

The founder of the box says although it should be a last resort, this option is here to ensure that anonymity.

“We don’t know the crisis they’re going through and nor are we here to judge them,” said Kelsey.

Giving that infant and others a second chance at life is encouraging to families looking to provide that opportunity.

“A lot of times women don’t know, they just think ‘nobody wants my baby,’” said Meier. “That’s not true; there are plenty of us out there that are just waiting.”

Meier adopted two children after experiencing fertility issues and she’s hoping this incident will help raise awareness to the benefits of adoption.

“Every kids is totally worthy of having a family and being loved,” she said.

The Safe Haven Baby Box was installed at the fire department on April 28, 2016.

The Department of Children and Family Services was notified.

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