In Colorado Haven law was passed in 2000 • Colorado in 2000
passed a safe-haven law that allows a parent to hand an infant to a fire station or hospital employee within three days of giving birth with no questions asked. Parents are not prosecuted for abandonment if the baby is unharmed.
As of spring, 51 babies had been relinquished in the state, according to Colorado Safe Haven for Newborns, which people can visit at coloradosafehaven. org. sees an uptick in the numbers. In one memorable case from last year, Jaccard said a distraught mother had called the Baby Safe Haven hotline seeking information about New York’s law just minutes before a healthy newborn boy, his umbilical cord still attached, was left at the manger of a Nativity scene at New York City church.
The reasons for such cases are as varied as the children, Johnson said, dispelling a notion that the mothers and fathers are young teenagers. Some are college students reluctant to tell their parents and can’t raise a child alone. Many are women in “toxic relationships,” with spouses already abusing older children in the home and want to shield a new baby from that fate.
Larry and Jennifer Mergentheimer, of Levittown on New York’s Long Island, are on the other side of the safe haven equation. Their 18-month-old daughter, Rebecca, was adopted after being born and given up in a hospital on Mother’s Day 2015.
They say Uncle Tim regularly checks in with the family.
“It was like winning the lottery,” said Larry Mergentheimer, a 44-year-old nurse manager who lives in Levittown. “You can’t ask to complete something any more than putting a child in a home. It’s amazing.”
His wife, Jennifer, a 41year-old radiological technologist, says the precocious toddler who loves Mickey and Minnie Mouse completed their family.