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Adopting a Safe Haven Baby

“His smile in the morning when he first sees us is everything."


Pin on Kids cornerFor Cara Clark, the dream of adopting a child was something that she had envisioned since she was a young child, and when she met her husband, Mike, her vision became their shared aspiration.


While engaged and planning their wedding, the Clarks attended a DCF Open House to learn about fostering and adopting in Connecticut. Soon after, they began the required training and became a licensed home right before their wedding day. Their support social worker, Robyn Wood, suggested that they place their home on hold until after they returned from their honeymoon.


Adoption Short QuotesOnce settled, the Clark’s home study was made available to Permanency Planning Teams held throughout the state, but their wait to adopt continued. In January 2019, the Clarks selflessly put their adoption journey aside to care for a family friend's nephew for thirteen months and helped with the reunification process.


The Clarks, whose intention was to adopt, became increasingly disappointed each time they were notified that they had not been selected for a child - that is until they received a call that an infant was born at a local hospital. “We all cried tears of joy when they were selected as the pre-adoptive family,” explained Robyn.


A Safe Haven baby, a term that the Clarks had become familiar with through their training, needed a family.


Connecticut's Safe Havens Act for Newborns was passed in 2000. The law allows a parent, who does not believe they can care for their newborn, to voluntarily give up custody of an infant age 30 days or younger to the staff of an emergency room and remain anonymous. DCF will then place the baby in a pre-approved adoptive home.


“It was a rollercoaster of emotions," Mike explained, adding, “We were both happy and scared, terrified, and thrilled. We had gone through a few letdowns (not being picked in teamings), and to finally get that call that we were selected was amazing."


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The Clarks immediately went to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and felt privileged to be able to name their baby boy, Kevin.


According to Robyn, the difficult decisions of the birth family are not lost on Cara and Mike and the story of the parents who recognized what they needed to do to keep their child safe will always be part of the story that they share with their son.


“I felt like we won the lottery! It was surreal. We felt an overwhelming amount of gratitude to have been chosen to be parents and so excited to meet him and bring Kevin home." Cara said.


A picture containing text, newborn, baby, human face Description automatically generatedAlthough Kevin was born healthy, there were some tests that were pending results that extended his stay in the hospital. Mike, who just happened to work at the hospital, was able to spend a lot of time holding and bonding with their son. “I never understood what parents meant when they said their child means everything to them, but now I understand. Having Kevin makes me want to be a better man, husband, and father," he stated.


Kevin was born outside of the hospital, and because of the mother’s fear of being identified, a friend brought him into the hospital with a note from his mom. The note explained that she did not name her son and that she wanted the hospital staff to know that she took prenatal vitamins throughout the pregnancy.


State law allows parents to bring their baby to a hospital without facing charges of abandonment, although the parents can still be held accountable if abuse or neglect occurred. The birth parents did not come forward within the 30-day appeal period and never shared their identities.


1,644 Black Baby Hospital Stock Photos - Free & Royalty-Free Stock Photos from DreamstimeCara explained that everything moved quickly, and the Clarks legally became a family six months after Kevin was placed in their home.


“We are so grateful for Robyn Woods, our social worker,” explained Cara. “There were many people involved in making us parents that we will never forget, but Robyn has been our rock on our parenting journey, our trust in her, there are just no words.”


A baby in a hospital bed Description automatically generated with low confidenceWhen asked what life is like with Kevin, who is now two years old, Cara explained, “Our days are filled with so many moments of gratitude. Kevin's happy personality since he was born has made the biggest and best positive impact on me mentally and emotionally."


“His smile in the morning when he first sees us is everything."


*The names in this story have been changed to protect the family's privacy and the pictures are not specific to the individuals.