Baby awaits adoption after dropoff at L+M hospital

New London - A baby boy left at Lawrence + Memorial Hospital last week has been placed in a foster home and is awaiting adoption, the state Department of Children and Families announced Wednesday.

The baby, less than 1 month old, was left with nurses in the Emergency Department one evening about 7:30 p.m. under the Safe Haven Act, which protects parents from being prosecuted for abandonment if they cannot care for their child.

L+M spokesman Mike O'Farrell said the baby was evaluated by a physician in the hospital's pediatric emergency room, and police and DCF were contacted immediately, in accordance with hospital policy. This is believed to be the first time a baby has been brought to L+M since the law took effect in 2000, he said.

Citing privacy laws, O'Farrell said he could not provide any further information.

Over the 13-year history of the law, 20 babies have been brought to emergency departments around the state and given up for adoption, DCF said in a news release. The last Safe Haven baby was brought to Charlotte Hungerford Hospital in Torrington in January.

All 20 Safe Haven babies have been placed in permanent homes, either with families licensed by DCF or with a relative, DCF said.

When parents give up a child under the law, DCF immediately begins the process of terminating parental rights.

Katz said that when a Safe Haven baby is brought to a hospital emergency department, it creates a lot of public interest in adoption.

Typically, DCF receives many inquiries from members of the public who want to adopt the baby.

"It is only natural that a story like this creates a lot of public excitement," she said. "This gives us a good opportunity to remind people that there are many wonderful children of all different ages who need a loving and permanent home through adoption."

j.benson@theday.com

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