Wednesday, February 1, 2023

“Dropbox Kids”: Moms Who Get Their Kids Delivered to Mailboxes in the US

The end of the constitutional right to abortion played a significant role in the outcome of the recent midterm elections in the United States.

An argument used when the Supreme Court considered striking down that an alternative to abortion could be found in safe haven laws for newborns.

These laws, which exist in every state, allow mothers with problems drop off your kids anonymously At designated sites immediately after giving birth without being brought in for testing.

This is the story of three people who have been deeply affected by these safe haven laws.


It was a dark and damp winter night on one of Arizona’s endless plains. Michelle was driving on a deserted road when she suddenly stopped.

“I was in so much pain that I couldn’t go back to the hospital,” he recalls. Michelle gave birth to the child in her car near a drain about 30 km from the city.

,It was terrible. I just remember to pray. I was calling my mother… I wanted my mother,

When Michelle gave birth, their older daughter slept in the back seat. In the dim light, with her mobile phone dead, Michelle sat for 15 minutes, her newborn baby wrapped in a blanket on her lap.

He looked at the girl, his eyes fixed on her child’s face. Then he started the engine and drove fast.

Michelle didn’t tell anyone that she was pregnant. I was very scared. The father of her little daughter was unexpected. After breaking up with him and leaving a relationship with the father of her new child, she felt helpless.

Safe Haven For Newborns

Getty Images

He stopped at the nearest hospital. Mitchell was aware of Arizona’s newborn safe haven law, under which she could anonymously “surrender” her daughter without prosecution, Unless the child has been harmed.

So she took the girl in her arms and ran towards the reception.

“I asked to speak to the delivery department. They came and spoke to me and I said, ‘I think the best option would be to release her.’ I just wanted her to be safe from the father of my eldest daughter.”

Michele handed the baby over to the nurses. He knew that now the girl would be adopted.

He was at the hospital in less than three minutes.

what are they mailbox for babies,

  • Michelle handed over her baby to the doctors, but they can also be left in a special mailbox or drawer at a hospital or fire station
  • In medieval Europe, so-called “foundling wheels” on the side of hospitals and churches served the same purpose.
  • Drop-off windows still exist elsewhere, but the US is the only country with comprehensive laws for abandoned babies
  • Safe haven laws were enacted in the US to prevent infanticide; First appeared in Texas in 1999 and then in all other states
  • The risk of infanticide is greatest on the day of birth. A recent report from the US Centers for Disease Control found that after the introduction of safe haven laws, between 2008 and 2017, the number of babies killed on the first day dropped by about 67%.
  • But a causal link is hard to prove: affordable child care, better parenting skills and an understanding of maternal depression could also explain it.


It was the death of a newborn that inspired Heather Berner to become a passionate advocate for safe shelters. More than a decade ago, I was on duty in the emergency room at the Phoenix hospital where I worked as a pediatric nurse.

“A 15-year-old girl checked in complaining of abdominal pain. After checking her vital signs, she went to the bathroom. She delivered her baby alone and Saw Watero in a boat Garbage, It was found by the cleaning lady after about 20 minutes. We tried to save his life, but we failed.”

Despite the evidence, the teenager denied that the child was hers. It is suspected that a relative has sexually abused her.

“It was very painful,” says Heather. Now director of the Arizona Safe Havens Program and executive director of the National Safe Havens Alliance (NSHA), she anticipates 4,687 children They have been “distributed” nationwide since 1999.

Heather Byner

Heather Berner.

NSHA has a helpline and receives between 60 y100 calls per month. In June, as the Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade, calls were up 300%. Anti-abortion groups have long argued that safe haven laws eliminate the need for abortion, a view echoed during the hearing.

For NSHA callers, a Place of Safe Place advice is a last resort.

“We ask them, what’s stopping you from raising this child?” Heather says. “Most of the time, the child is not the crisis, it is the situation in his, Are they homeless? Do you need help with childcare? I actually paid the electric bill once and it made the woman feel like she could handle what was ahead.”

Some of the calling females keep the child with them. Others opt for regular adoption and will choose – and perhaps meet – the family that will care for their child. But some will “deliver” their babies to a safe location.


West of Phoenix, Porter Olson lives with his foster family and his beloved dog. Porter is an energetic 11-year-old boy who enjoys camping, gardening, and cooking.

In 2011, the Olssons were contacted by the adoption agency they signed with. “I got a call and they said we were having a baby,” recalls Michael Olsson. He sent a text to his wife, Nicole, with these words: “the best day of my life”.

Nicole was teaching a class. “I called my director and said, ‘I need to find out about maternity leave.’ And she said, ‘Why? Are you pregnant?’ And I said, ‘No, but I’m having a baby today!'”

Porter’s biological mother left her in a baby box at a hospital. in Arizona, usually an adoptive family is found on the same day, And, like the Olsens, they may know absolutely nothing about their new baby.


The family came to know on the same day that she was going to give birth to a child.

“I never really cared about that, I just thought we’d grow together and figure that part out,” says Nicole. Still, the couple felt it might be helpful for Porter to have more information himself.

Porter continues the story, “So one day my mother was going to get me a DNA test. Whatever it was, I was going to celebrate.” “And we got tested, and the doctor said, ‘Congratulations! You can celebrate everything!’ I am European, American Indian, Sub-Saharan African, and East Asian.”

There is no mechanism for Porter to learn more about his birth parents., This is why some adult adoption activists reject safe haven laws. Feminist scholars have also criticized them for failing to address the socioeconomic injustices that may have forced them to leave in the first place.



And what if a woman later has doubts about giving up her child forever?

“some states There is a period within which the mother can try to get the child back”says Maricopa County Assistant District Attorney Kate Laudenslagel.

“But here in Arizona, we have no choice for mothers who change their mind. Abandoning a child is considered an abandonment in itself. If a father believes he has a child paternity to, he has 30 days to notify the registry of the presumptive.” The parent.” The parent claims paternity”.

what happened to michelle?

,I couldn’t get his face out of my head.”She now tells of the child she delivered to the nurses that winter night.

Michelle called the NSHA three days after giving birth. Heather Berner became an advocate for this distraught young woman.

“He was very fortunate to have an adoptive family,” says the NSHA’s executive director. Thirty-three days after giving away your daughter, Michelle took it back.

Michelle says seeing Heather again was the best feeling in the world. The couple taking care of the girl agreed to return her. If he had refused, Michel would have had to fight the case in court.

Michelle agreed to talk to the BBC, probably because everything was going well. but, what about the thousands of women who have given delivered their newborn baby and never see them again?

Perhaps it was the best or only option for them. We don’t know, because almost no one has shared their story publicly.

,Name of Michelle It has been changed to protect your identity.

Photos: Tim Mansell

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