Hundreds are interested in adopting Baby Girl Hope, who was left on Thanksgiving Day at a Wantagh fire station, Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano said Tuesday.
Mangano said the county’s Department of Social Services has received a flood of calls from people who want to become the girl’s parents and that the department is looking into the case.
She was just hours old on Thanksgiving when her family surrendered her at a Wantagh fire station.
The infant’s mother had talked with a counselor at a crisis hotline Wednesday and called back Thursday to turn the baby over under a law that allows it with no criminal repercussions, said Scott Cohen, a board member of AMT Children of Hope Foundation, which accepts relinquished infants.
The premature infant still had part of her umbilical cord attached and tied with thread when she arrived at the firehouse shortly before noon Thursday, according to officials at Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow.
The baby remains in a hospital, where she’s safe, healthy and gaining weight, said Timothy Jaccard, founder and president of the foundation. He said she weighed 4 pounds, 2 ounces when she first arrived at the hospital, and won’t be considered for discharge until she’s more than 5 pounds.
Mangano said social services is exploring families who are certified and interested in Safe Haven babies; from those families one will be selected for Baby Girl Hope.
Mangano said social services certifies foster and adoptive families, also referred to as resource families.
“Foster families take children into their home with the understanding that the placements may be temporary, as DSS is required to determine if reunification with their parents/birth families is possible,” Mangano said in a news release. “When this is not possible, the department looks to the foster parents to become the adoptive resource.”
Some families come to social services with an interest in adoption and not foster care, the release said. When children in foster care become freed, very often their foster parents become the adoptive family. It is required that the child’s foster parents be considered first and foremost.
In Safe Haven situations, usually the parent that brings his or her child to a safe place does so with the plan to permanently relinquish the relationship with that child, officials said.
In those cases, social services looks to place Safe Haven babies with certified resource families who have a strong adoptive interest.
Prospective adoptive families are also told that a birth parent can request the return of an abandoned infant. So, under New York State law, reunification with birthparents is still possible even after a baby has been abandoned, officials said.
Those interested in becoming an adoptive or foster family should call social services at 516-227-8284 or 516-227-8291.
With Patricia Kitchen