The Angel Cradle Initiative- Bring the Cradle to Calgary
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For far too long, there have been stories reported far and wide, of babies who were abandoned in dumpsters, or alleyways, in boxes and in duffel bags. Some of these babies were a few months old, and others no more than an hour.
We hear of these stories everywhere. All over the world, in every city, even in our hometown of Calgary.
Some mothers feel compelled to leave their child in one of the aforementioned places, in hopes of their anonymity being maintained, and to avoid the criminal prosecution they would face in the event of abandoning their baby. Sometimes a newborn is unsafely abandoned because the mother feels that she has no other option. The Angel Cradle offers an alternative.
These days, mothers cannot leave their babies at the hospital, or a church, or a fire station. As a matter of fact, there are laws in effect surrounding abandonment, and a child can not legally be abandoned in any location, at any time. The mother will be located, found, held legally acountable, and tried in a court of law. This eliminates the anonymity of the situation entirely, and out of fear, the baby is usually left somewhere to inevitably die.
For centuries, baby hatches have been used in one form or another, dating back to the medieval times, where they were quite commonly used. Today, they have them all over the world from Germany to Brazil, South Africa to Vatican City, there are over 2000 in operation all over the world. In the United States they are referred to as Safe Haven baby boxes, and to date they have been used a cumulative total of 3,317 times. Right here in Alberta, they are called Angel Cradles, and each Cradle has been used on more than one occasion.
In 2010, St Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver, B.C, started a program called the Angel’s Cradle. The Cradle provides a safe place for a mother to leave her newborn baby if she feels that she cannot properly care for it. The Cradle is located just outside of the hospital’s emergency entrance, and there is a sign indicating its’ presence. Thirty seconds after the newborn has been placed in the Cradle, a sensor will alert Emergency staff. The baby will be given any necessary medical treatment and admitted to the appropriate unit. A hospital social worker will contact the Ministry of Children and Family Development, which will then assume responsibility for the baby. Law enforcement have agreed to treat the Cradle as a safe haven for babies, meaning it would be safe and anonymous for a mother to give up her baby if she chooses to do so.
In 2013, after witnessing the miracle of the Angel’s Cradle in B.C, Covenant Health implemented a new way to reach mothers in need in Edmonton, by installing two cradles. One is located at the Misericordia Community Hospital, and the other at Grey Nuns Community Hospital. While there are adoption options for a woman in the Edmonton area who is unable to care for her newborn baby, women in crisis are sometimes hesitant to access these resources because they want to remain anonymous. The Angel Cradle is a way for a woman to give up her newborn safely and remain anonymous.
Gordon Self, Vice President of ethics, mission and spirituality at Covenant Health has said that the Cradle has been used in the past 6 months, and that is one life who has benefitted from the Cradle.
Here in Calgary, with the events surfacing surrounding the newborn baby girl left behind a grocery store, it has sparked concern by more than one party, that there is a need for these cradles not only in Calgary, but every major city as well. These boxes have been around for centuries, and it being 2018, why have we yet to have a box?
To install one box in a Hospital in Calgary would cost roughly $45,000. One baby placed inside this Cradle and not left somewhere inaccessible and abandoned, is priceless.
There are many voices in Calgary, many people who have not yet spoken up on this issue, but today is the day we raise awareness for what these Cradles are truly about. They are essentially the alternative to an extremely tragic event. This isn’t about finding out who the mother is, or the circumstances, or the why’s if you will. It is simply about saving the life of a truly special baby.
If you want to raise awareness of an incredibly powerful issue, please stand with us and sign the petition in support of the Angel Cradle Initiative, and help us bring a Cradle to Calgary.
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