Someone has well said – “It happens, even in the best of families, a baby is conceived (but this should not be a cause of alarm). The important thing is to keep your wits about you and borrow some money.” However, with the rise of the new morality and the resulting increase of out-of-wedlock births, there has been an increase of abandoned newborns and a revival in Canada of “baby boxes” for these unwanted infants. Here’s how it generally works. In a hospital there will be a door located in an inconspicuous area near the emergency department. The waist-level hatch is three-feet tall and opens to reveal a bassinet outfitted with a blanket and a teddy bear. (The boxed area is heated in the winter and cooled in the summer.) An alarm goes off sixty seconds after the door opens, alerting medical personnel in the triage area of a potential delivery. Using a digital peephole (a camera that looks into the bassinet) it ensures the nurse or doctor that someone’s left an infant and not something else. The peephole also allows them to make sure the mother is no longer present (so the hospital doesn’t infringe on the promise of anonymity by opening the door while the mom is still standing there). Once the area is clear, an internal door is opened which allows access to the bassinet. The baby is brought into the hospital, given a thorough medical examination and handed over to children’s services. They will then look after it for eight-weeks, during which time the mother can return and claim her child without facing any criminal charges or legal repercussions. This is known today as the Baby Moses law. After two months, if still unclaimed, the child is officially put up for adoption.
It was in 1198 A.D. that the very first baby boxes came into existence. Churches had foundling wheels, a wooden cylinder built into the wall, where mothers could lay their babies inside, rotate the wheel to bring the child within the structure, and then ring a bell to alert the religious personnel of the infant’s presence. Today, there are thousands of baby boxes found all over the world (Germany alone has two hundred of them) with the most famous one being located in Seoul, South Korea. There, Pastor Lee Jong-rak had one built into his home in 2009 and has since averaged saving eighteen babies a month. Recently his story was featured in the award-winning documentary entitled, The Drop Box. (For further information, go to the film’s website.) I said all of that to say this. Canada has now taken the Baby Box one step further with the world’s first Senior Box. The advertisement states, “You can now drop off your aged family member (husband, wife, father, mother, grandpa, grandma, etc.) if you can no longer care for them.” Like the Baby Box door, the Senior Box door is located in a wall next to the hospital emergency department. Inside the door is a small room outfitted with a La-Z-Boy recliner rocker, three cans of Ensure (vanilla, chocolate, strawberry), and a radio playing the current CBC on-air program. Once the surrendered senior is inside the room, an alarm goes off inside the hospital to alert staff, and the door locks so the drop-off cannot leave and wander the streets. And like the Baby Box, the Senior Box is considered a safe haven from criminal or legal prosecution. This speaks well of Canada, for the mark of any society is how they treat their most vulnerable, the very youngest and oldest.
In the meantime, this coming August 23rd I need to ask my wife, in the words of the Beatle song, “Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m sixty-four!”