Every kid is a gift from God, but unfortunately not all moms are endowed with the means to provide for their offspring.
And this is exactly what the Safe Haven Baby Boxes in Indiana are for: to provide moms who are in a difficult situation with a safe place to surrender their newborns without feeling shame or blame for their actions.
Tessa and Keegan Higgs of Paoli, Indiana, were able to successfully grow their family with the assistance of the baby boxes that were placed in local fire stations.
Once upon a time, becoming parents was merely a pipe dream for the couple, but now it is the wonderful reality that they are living.
“I just cannot think of anything that could possibly top having Jax and Nola. Tessa shared her sentiments on her children, stating, “Like, I just can’t fathom life without them.”
They are now a family of four because one mother had the courage to see that her child would be better off living with another family and making the decision to place her child with them.
The year 2019 gave Tessa and Keegan their third and last blessing in the form of their daughter Nola, who is now three years old.
Through the help of this program, disadvantaged mothers are able to give up custody of their children without fear of stigma or condemnation.
“She is my inspiration. Keegan, a volunteer fireman in Paoli, expressed his gratitude to Nola’s original mother in the following manner: “I mean, if I could meet her (Nola’s biological mom) today, I’d give her a huge hug and, you know, I couldn’t thank her enough.”
The Higgs had spent several years working toward their goal of starting their own family. When they found out that a baby had been abandoned in a baby box in northern Indiana, they were in the process of fostering their oldest kid, Jax.
The mother of the infant, whose name is being withheld in accordance with the Safe Haven statute, happened across a baby box billboard by coincidence and called the hotline in an effort to seek assistance.
Tessa shared that she could tell Nola’s biological mother had a lot of affection for her. The newborn had a normal birth weight, did not have any chemicals in its system, and was wrapped in a warm towel when it was delivered.
We are in possession of the towel. This is the only link we have to her original mother, thus it is very important to us. In addition, she nursed her child before voluntarily surrendering, which further demonstrates that she was loved, the witness stated.
The Higgs were finally selected as Nola’s parents after an interview with a panel consisting of nine officials from the Department of Children and Family Services. There were a total of 400 applicants who applied to be Nola’s parents.
They took Nola back to the house a week later. Both children have been legally adopted at this point.
“It’s impossible for me to picture our lives without Nola. Therefore, I would say that our family, as far as I’m concerned, is finished!” Keegan stated.
These satisfying conclusions inspired Monica Kelsey to launch the program in the first place.
“When I look at my own life, being abandoned as an infant during a time when there was no safe haven law, and now we’ve created this to allow these mothers the anonymity that they want, it is very fulfilling to see the life that I saved simply because my own life was saved,” she said. “When I look at my own life, being abandoned as an infant during a time when there was no safe haven law in an era where there was no safe haven law in the United States.”
“One of the most important parts of my goal has always been to make sure that Nola has a happy, healthy, and beautiful childhood.”
Keegan, who has seen the positive effects that Safe Haven Baby Boxes have on families personally, is doing everything he can to ensure the organization is able to fulfill its objective.
In the autumn of 2016, he was a member of the team that assisted a volunteer fire department in Paoli in installing their first baby box.
A provision in the legislation was amended in July 2021 to make it possible for volunteer departments to set up a baby box so long as they satisfied certain requirements.
“They have to be within a mile of a hospital or EMS station, have a response time of four minutes, and there needs to be a camera on the inside of the box,” Tessa added. “This ensures that a camera is on a newborn at all times until someone can come to the kid.”
Since 2016, a total of 19 infants have been put in baby boxes in the state of Indiana, while 121 infants have been personally handed up to a fireman or a nurse.
There are already 110 boxes located around the state, with the newest addition taking place in Mitchell earlier this month. The Higgs family was there to witness the presentation of the award.