Last week, I received a call from Debi Faris, the woman I credit with creating the Safe Surrender program. She operates the Garden of Angels, a cemetery for abandoned newborns and was recently given the release of the baby girl that was found abandoned at the recycling plant in the City of Industry last month.
“Supervisor, will you bless this child with a name?” she asked.
Hearing those words, I became sick to my stomach. This child, thrown into a dumpster by her mother, was still nameless, awaiting her burial and I was going to name her as she was laid to rest. It was horrifying to think this mother could just throw her daughter away and was even worse to think this baby girl didn’t even have a name.
I decided to honor this precious baby girl with the name “Hope Angel.” She will be buried next week, surrounded by the only sense of family she has: a name.
This PSA is a powerful tool for conveying the message to mothers in desperate situations that they can make the right choice for their babies -and themselves- with the Safe Surrender program. The Safe Surrender program was created to give a mother, no matter what the situation, a safe, secure and anonymous way to get her child into safe hands and to protect a baby from abandonment: No shame, No blame, and No names. So far, in Los Angeles County, we have been able to save the lives of 103 infants. I am confident this PSA will help save the lives of many more.
What happened in December in the City of Industry is a reminder that we have a lot more work to do in spreading the word of the Safe Surrender program. We will continue our efforts for Hope Angel and all the other newborns who have lost their lives.
May Hope Angel rest in peace.