Michael Allen, father of three children, couldn't believe his eyes Sunday night when he was closing his window in Harlem, NY. He saw a baby stroller out in the middle of the park all by itself. When he went down to investigate, he found an abandoned baby, all alone in the below freezing temperature.
Allen quickly enlisted help from the fire department across the street from the park. The abandoned baby was wrapped warmly, but no parents were in sight around the park. It was around 9 pm. Firefighters and Mr. Allen dubbed the little guy "Little Sunday," and took him to a nearby hospital. Thankfully, the baby was found to be in good health, and at that time authorities guessed his age to be about six months.
He is actually four months old. Police combed the area searching for the baby's parents, and on Monday morning, his 18-year-old parents turned themselves in. His mother, Kenyetta Rowell of Staten Island, has now been charged with false reporting and reckless endangerment. The baby's father has not yet been charged in the case of their abandoned baby.
"Little Sunday" has been released from the hospital and is in the care of authorities. Michael Allen told reporters that he feels a special bond with the abandoned baby boy. "He is adorable'" Allen said. "He kept staring at me. His eyes were just piercing me like 'I know it was you that got me out of this cold.'" Little Sunday was very fortunate to have been found by Mr. Allen when he was abandoned. Of course he recognizes his rescuer. Michael Allen is his hero.
Some babies are not that fortunate. Despite "Safe Haven" laws in all 50 states, there continue to be cases of abandoned babies, and some do not survive. Kenyetta Rowell's actions have opened her up to a world of hurt. The consequences of abandoning her baby will follow her for a long time. But did she have other options? If she felt that she couldn't take care of her baby, what else could she have done?
CBS reports that New York has Safe Haven laws, where a mother can leave her baby at a local fire station, police department, hospital, or other responsible adult, with no penalty, anytime within a baby's first 30 days. Other states' laws vary from 72 hours up to one year when a baby may be left, no questions asked, if the mother is unable or unwilling to care for her baby. The places where the baby may be left vary as well. The website www.nationalsafehavenalliance.org may be searched for the particular laws for each state. These laws were put in place in hopes that the term "abandoned baby" would become a thing of the past.
The Inquistr spoke with Timothy Jaccard of AMT Children of Hope, to find out what options this mother, and other mothers in similar situations, had available instead of abandoning their baby to possible death and harm, and opening themselves up to criminal charges if caught, since the baby was older than the 30 days allowed by her state's Safe Haven law.
Jaccard, who is known as "the Father of Safe Haven," told The Inquisitr that Kenyetta Rowell could have called their national hotline at 1-877-796-HOPE (4673). They would have guided her in what steps she could have taken to relinquish her baby without legal charges against her. In her case, after the call, she could have brought her baby to the very fire station across from the park where she abandoned him. Then the people of Safe Haven would have advocated for her, because she would have been trying to provide a better life for her baby that she did not feel she could provide.
Safe Haven works with people in all 50 states, as well as having locations in London and Montreal, Canada. There is help for women in difficult situations. There is no need for babies like "Little Sunday" to be abandoned to the elements, or to be thrown away or left on the streets, even if they are older than the age in the Safe Haven laws. Timothy Jarrod's organization networks with people and groups nationwide to provide hope and help. To date, AMT Children of Hope has been involved with rescuing 2,890 babies. Those babies were never unwanted. It just took someone like Timothy Jarrod to connect those who wanted them with the babies, who are very wanted.
PolitiChick Dr. Gina Loudon agrees. Every baby is valuable. The popular talk show host and Fox News Commentator is founding a charitable organization to help finance adoptions of special needs children - "They All Have Names." She herself adopted Samuel as a baby, who was born with Down Syndrome. Whether babies have Down Syndrome, congenital disabilities, or are conceived at an inconvenient time in a mother's life, there are people who are willing to help or even adopt these children. There is no need for these babies to be thrown away or abandoned.
Little Sunday's story is one that pulls at our heartstrings, and elicits both compassion and anger. His story of being an abandoned baby will have a happy ending, thanks to the inspiring actions of Michael Allen. But for the other women out there who find themselves in difficult situations, such as Kenyetta Rowell, there are other options. It is up to you to help spread the word that they have options besides abandonment of their baby. They can call 1-877-796-HOPE.
[images via Bing]