PLANO (CBSDFW.COM) – A mother’s difficult choice, gave him a chance. A North Texas newborn is healthy and now in foster care after his mother willingly surrendered the infant at a Plano fire station last week. Under the state’s Baby Moses law, the woman need not identify herself and will face no charges.
“I know the that firefighters that accepted the baby, they’re all fathers, I think they had to know what a tough, tough thing it was for this mother to do,” says Plano Fire Department spokesperson Capt. Peggy Harrell, “tough…but, probably the most loving thing she could have done.”
The woman walked into Plano’s Fire Station No. 1 Thursday morning and told firefighters that the baby was born at home; but, she was unable to care for him. Supporters say it is exactly the kind of situation that the state’sSafe Haven Law, passed in 1999, was intended to address.
“Too many times babies have been found in suitcases, in old dryers… in a recycling plant of all things,” says Patsy Summey with Baby Moses Dallas. “I’m sad that she can’t take care of the baby, but so happy for the baby that someone loving will take the child and raise it as their own.”
According to Summey, when lawmakers passed the state’s Safe Haven Law, no funds were allocated for public education. Thus, a local bible study group decided that they would serve God, by getting the word out about the new law designed to save babies. And when Baby Moses Dallas was born — Summey, still a busy volunteer– was there.
“Having the ability to pass a baby over to a hospital, fire station, or adoption agency, is very, very important,” says Summey, lending a hand today at Methodist Dallas Medical Center. “But, we can’t become complacent. We have to keep spreading the word.”
Baby Moses Dallas has worked for more than a decade to raise awareness and provide training for the fire stations and hospitals that serve as safe havens. The agency even provided the sign on display at Plano’s Fire Station No. 1.
“We know it had to be hard; but, thank you so much for doing the right thing,” said Capt. Harrell of the unidentified mother.
In Texas, unharmed infants 60 days old or younger can be voluntarily surrendered. However, supporters say it is important to remember that infants cannot simply be left at safe haven locations; the baby must be handed to a firefighter or medical staffer.
“The message is easy: there is help out there,” says Capt. Harrell. “There’s no obligation to answer any questions, you don’t have to give a reason.” Just give the babies a chance.
“It’s kind of a victory, isn’t it?” But, Summey’s smile suggests that she’d already answered her own question.