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Europe’s baby mailboxes: a way to stop baby abandonment in Spain?

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There is no official statistic that reflects the seriousness of baby abandonment in Spain, but it is known that it can arise from multiple circumstances. Also, that the profile of mothers is very varied, as stated Conrado Gimenezfounder and president of the Godmother Foundationwhich last year alone served 27,000 women in situations of vulnerability: “When they carry the pregnancy to term, it is mainly because they want to have the baby and they were in a relationship. But the man usually abandons herin many cases it occurs because there has been an episode of violence I are directly related to violations“Then the panic in the face of so much loneliness, stigmatization and responsibility.

It can also occur, according to the foundation’s experience, among Muslim women who have become pregnant without having previously married. There they face the risk of losing their lives: “We have had young people clandestinely in the shelters. They are attacked with acid, killed or, in the best of cases, kicked out of the house.”

“Abandoned babies are found from time to time, and they jump to the news like a dropper, but there are many more that are not even found,” explains the president of the Godmother Foundation. Every time it happens, the Police contact them to check if they have knowledge that the administrations lack: “Many of the mothers They don’t want to say anything to Social Services because they know that a social worker is going to take the child away from them.

This is an issue that has been taking shape as a result of the unfortunate case of abandonment that occurred at the end of January, in the Granada neighborhood of The Fargue when a neighbor found the body of a newborn baby, wrapped in blankets, while walking along a dirt road. But this is not the last and much less the first. In December 2022, a pedestrian found a newborn baby in the middle of the street in Madrid, suffering from severe hypothermia, whose umbilical cord was cut but not clamped. In mid-February, a mother from Lugo was sentenced to two years in prison for abandoning her premature baby in the hospital, and there seems to be no trace of her father, in events that occurred in 2018. Afterwards, he knew she was suffering serious drug problems.

A raw and sensitive issue that invites us to reflect on how The abandonment of babies in Spain is a reality to which, for the moment, only the National Police and almost always after the fact. Prevention is keyand to make it possible it is necessary to have knowledge and the ability to react to the high risk of poverty and social exclusionwhich affects some 13.1 million people in Spain, according to the report on The State of Poverty. Monitoring of the indicators of the EU 2030 Agenda 2015-2021.

The president of the Madrina Foundation says that with 100,000 abortions in Spain, “only 10% of those children would cover the national demand for adoptions”: “There would be no need to go to international adoptions, which have a logic of commoditymerchandisebecause applicants never know if it will be possible, they have to wait more than five years and pay a lot of money and shadow taxes to the countries of origin. It’s like a trade“In short, families go through enormous hardships until they get a child. For this reason, Giménez insists, Spain should legislate to facilitate a modality of semi-open adoption.

For now, until all these changes occur, the private non-profit entity has established a Care Service for Women and Children (SAMI), which is available 24 hours a day and 365 days a year via the toll-free telephone number. 914 490 690.

The origin of the baby box

Safe Haven Baby Boxes Inc. was founded by Monica Kelsey, a doctor and firefighter in Indiana (USA) who, at 37 years old, discovered that she had been adopted. She also learned the painful story of her biological mother: she had been brutally raped and beaten. She eventually discovered that she was pregnant and when she was going to have an abortion she changed her mind. She secluded herself until she gave birth and abandoned Monica in an Ohio hospital just a couple of hours after she was born.

A few years ago, Kelsey, after watching a working “baby box” in a church in Cape Town (South Africa), decided to start the project. A project that, at its core, eliminates face-to-face contact between a biological mother who, due to different circumstances, does not wish to raise her child and which she explains as “a last resort.”

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