LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — It has been nearly 20 years since the Safe Haven Law was passed in Nevada. This allows parents to surrender a baby that has not been abused and is younger than 30 days old without fear of prosecution.
8 News Now spoke to a safe haven advocate and her adoptive daughter, about where they are today.
“No Name, No Shame.” That is the motto used by advocates to describe the Safe Haven Law.
The goal is to prevent abandonment or neglect, and give other parents, like Suzanne Hobbs, a chance at raising a child.
“I was desperate to have a child,” Suzanne said. “I had been married for about 7 years and my husband at the time and I could not have children.”
Suzanne Hobbs helped establish the Safe Haven Law in Idaho in 2000, just three years later, she would welcome a safe haven baby into her own home.
“I’m so thankful that Lilly’s mom knew about the Safe Haven Law, and did the right thing 17 years ago,” Suzanne said. “It had to be a very difficult decision.”
As Lilly grew up, Suzanne says her daughter had questions about her past and biological family.
“Lilly always wondered, ‘why did my birth mom not want me? what happened?’” Suzanne said.
A year ago, Lilly got some answers when she reconnected with her birth mother and one of her sisters. Just last week, Lilly met an uncle, another sister and a nephew.
“It really healed my heart whenever I met Laina, my biological mother. She’s a very special woman,” Lilly Hobbs said. “I can’t imagine what the struggle was, but I know she made a good decision.”
Although Suzanne and Lilly Hobbs are a prime example of a safe haven success story, babies are still being abandoned. In late November, a newborn was found in a trash bag in Las Vegas, with the umbilical cord still attached.
“Know about the law, share the law with people, you don’t know who is struggling right now and who is carrying a baby and has uncertainty if they can raise this child,” Suzanne said.
Under the Safe Haven Law, a baby can be surrendered to a hospital, fire or police station, or to an ambulance driver.
This option gives babies, like Lilly, the chance at a happy, safe life.
“For me, I really appreciate what happened 17 years ago and it’s really special,” Lilly said. “If any other Safe Haven child hears this, know that you are special in your own way just like how I am.”