My story began the night of my birth. I emerged from the warm darkness of my mother’s body into the cold darkness of a flat bed truck. Everything felt cold and unfriendly as I came into this world howling my displeasure of the transition.
No loving arms cradled or comforted me. No soft words or sounds calmed my fears. Instead, I felt a sharp pain in my belly, like someone had severed the physical tie between mom and me. The next thing I felt was being lifted and placed into another dark tunnel. The plastic surrounding me on every side felt icy black. I heard a lot of voices, frightened cries and movement. I heard my mother sobbing. Then…nothing.
I was all alone.
All I could do was scream.
Luckily, or as I like to think, miraculously, I heard a sound…a voice.. calling out. To me? Or to someone else?
“Do you hear it? ”
“Coming from the dumpster? Sounds like an animal or…a baby?”
I cried out in desperate response to the voice.
Then I heard a flurry of activity, felt myself being lifted up and blinked in distress as the bag was ripped open and my eyes were assaulted by a beam of light.
The rest of the day rushed in a Psychadelic blur as I was touched or held by so many people: police, doctors, strangers. Prodded, poked, suctioned and washed, I wondered why all of these people were hurting me…saving me.
I heard the nurses talking while I lay under the warm lights wearing my tiny sunglasses. They talked about my mom, calling her a drug addict and lots of other really bad things. They commented on the dirty rag that was used to tie my severed cord. The word monster and dumpster baby got thrown around a lot.
But they didnt know the whole truth. They didnt understand.
My mom want a drug addict. She wasnt mentally ill. She was scared and she felt trapped.
Mom was a senior in high school. Smart and popular, her life appeared to be charmed. However, you never do really know what happens out of the spotlight.
Her father, (and coincidentally, mine), treated her badly, causing her to look for escape by partying with her friends. When she found out about me, she was terrified. Her plans to go to college and escape our dad seemed to be ruined.
She didnt want to hurt me but she couldnt keep me. So she hid me.
Wearing very loose clothes, and the fact that she was already chubby, helped mom to keep up the charade. When the time came, she enlisted the help of her friends.
The plan had been to leave me on someone’s doorstep. But the birth did not go well and mom started bleeding badly. When mom fell unconscious, her friends panicked and put me in the dumpster.
I wish Mom and her friends had known about Safe Haven laws. They were designed for mothers, like mine, who had hidden their pregnancies. She could have taken me to a hospital or fire station. With no questions asked of her, I would have been placed in a foster home fast tracked to adoption.
As for me, I did get placed in a loving, forever home where I was adopted, becoming part of the family. But the story could have been much worse.
Had the couple not pulled up to the dumpster to empty their own trash, I would not have survived.
But they did.
And I did.
My life is now full of love and belonging.
But I do wonder about my mom. Did she make it? Did she escape? Is she happy?
I am telling my story to highlight the other choice. There are more abandoned babies every year than you could believe. Many of them are not discovered alive. With the Safe Haven laws, that should not happen. Do what you can to spread the word about this law. It should be discussed in high schools and colleges. No one should have to throw away their baby like garbage. And with this law, those who think they have no options…actually do.