Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Sacrifice

I didn't hear about this until my friend, TerritoryMom, posted it on her blog. There aren't many things that make Mother's Day more sad than losing your child, or children, the weekend before what is supposed to be a day to celebrate being a mother.
This "mystery mom", left her newborn son & daughter, twins, at a firehouse because she was unable to care for them. She called 911 and let them know where she had left them, lovingly wrapped in blankets in a basket.
People are mad. Furious. Steaming.
And all I can think is how blessed they are. Mother and twins alike.
You haven't known life until you have felt the pangs of birth, and you don't know the awe of how much you love someone the very instant they are laid, helpless, on your chest as they are brought into this world.
This mom knows, and yet she still knew what was true - she couldn't take care of them.
The ultimate sacrifice was to give her children to a life that they could be cared for in a way she couldn't.
Would you rather have heard another story of a mother drowning her children? Neglect or abuse? Starvation? Abortion?
Mystery mom deserves a round of applause and support for doing what all parents want to do for their children - give them a better life than what they, themselves had.

Want the whole story?

SHAWNEE, Okla. — Before it was clear that a mother left two newborn babies in the back of a truck at a Shawnee fire station early Saturday morning, an overnight search ensued as police searched pickups within a 12- to 14-block radius from the origin of the 911 call.


The twins, a boy and girl, were found safe and healthy early Saturday morning in the back of a firefighter’s truck parked at Shawnee Fire Station No. 3, MacArthur and Oklahoma streets.

Once found, they were cleaned up by firefighters, diapered and taken by REACT EMS ambulance to Unity Health Center, where they were reported to be in good condition.

Under Oklahoma’s Infant Safe Haven Law, passed in 2000, children can be surrendered within seven days of birth to any medical provider, or to a designated person at any police or fire station, without any fear of prosecution.

“The main thing is that the kids are safe,” said Shawnee Police Chief Russell Frantz. “The mother attempted to do the right thing.”

According to a police report, the children were released from Unity Health Center into the custody of the Department of Human Services.

Mary Leaver, a spokeswoman for DHS, said while she couldn’t comment on any specific case, children in situations such as this make up about one to two percent of the children in DHS custody.

Typically, when a child comes into the DHS system, there is an emergency placement with foster parents, she said, and then the courts decide the long-term outcome, which can include adoption.

The discovery of the babies followed a frantic night for dispatchers and police officers.

The 911 call, which came in about 12:50 a.m. from a woman who sounded to be the emotionally distraught mother, outlines she put her babies in the back of a black truck, Frantz said.

While the mother faintly said a “firehouse” in Shawnee during that call, the word “fire” in firehouse wasn’t initially heard by the dispatcher in the communications center, he said.

“I put my kids in the back of a truck...I can’t take care of them,” the woman said. The dispatcher, asking questions, learned it was a parked black truck, but then the caller, who said she couldn’t remember the name of the street, hung up.

The call originated from a Kwick Stop pay phone at Bryan and Highland Streets, Frantz said.

While the 911 call trace gave clues to the general area, it wasn’t exact, he said. Officers began searching around houses, driveways, businesses, anywhere in that general area of the 911 call looking for a black truck, he said. Their search spanned 12 to 14 blocks.

Frantz said the officers searched many areas on foot to check all pickups; they were just in the wrong part of town. Officers were working from information they had at the time, the chief said. As they were searching, he said many other emergency calls kept coming in, including a disturbance and fight.

The 911 call was played back several times in the communications center, and by early morning, another dispatcher heard “firehouse.” That’s when the search took a new direction.

About 6:10 a.m., dispatch advised officers to check firehouses, so officers were sent to Station No. 2 on Bryan Street, the closest one to the 911 call. A police sergeant told dispatchers to call the stations as he checked Station No. 1 at city hall.

In the meantime, an off-duty dispatcher was apparently doing her own search near Station No. 3.

“That shows her dedication — she was concerned,” Frantz said, adding the dispatcher and officers were all affected by the emergency call.

Shawnee Fire Department Capt. Mike VanAntwerp was resting at the fire station when the phone rang about 6:20 a.m., alerting firefighters that a woman was outside the station and needed assistance. The off-duty dispatcher was standing by a black pickup belonging to one of the firefighters on duty.

The twins were found in the back of that pickup, inside a laundry basket with a blanket over it. The babies were within hours of being born. Attached to them was a note that said, “Take care of my babies, I’m poor and can’t do it.”

At 6:23 p.m., reports show an officer responded to the scene, and upon arrival, the babies were already inside the station being cleaned up and checked by firefighters.

VanAntwerp, who said the babies were wrapped individually in blankets, didn’t appear to be bothered by the early morning rain and had kept each other warm.

VanAntwerp, who has five children of his own, including twins, said he holds no hard feelings toward the mother and said he would like to know if she is OK.

“I hope the mother, wherever she is, is healthy,” he said. “She might need medical care. She was trying to do the right thing.”

Frantz said the mother’s identity is unknown. She should be protected under the Infant Safe Haven Law from any legal action, but this case will be referred to the district attorney’s office for review.

———

Reporter Johnna Ray contributed to this report.

Kim Morava may be reached at 214-3962.



Copyright 2010 The Shawnee News-Star. Some rights reserved
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1 comment:

  1. Amen, Heidi! You can hear her pain & tears in her voice in the 911 call she made & it broke my heart. She just wants something better for her children, more than what she knew in her heart that she could provide. And she did it the right way, the legal way, by taking them to a safe place. I'm sure she was ashamed and that is why she dropped them off so no one would see her, and I celebrate her as a mom, even if her children are no longer with her. She could of just as easily left them in a dumpster, but you & I know that it was true love that lead her to her actions. May God comfort her & bless her.

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