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Florida pregnancy help non-profit celebrates more than 400 infants saved

by | Jun 12, 2024

By Kim Hayes

A Safe Haven for Newborns celebrated the milestone of more than 400 babies safely surrendered earlier this spring.

A Safe Haven for Newborns was founded in 2001 under the Gloria M. Silverio Foundation. This was her husband Nick’s vision to remember his beloved wife who had died in a car accident.

The Silverios were unable to have children, as Gloria had suffered two miscarriages. As he was mourning his wife, Silverio was up late one night, flipping through a magazine and came across a story concerning the rise in infant abandonment.

The next morning, he announced to staff at the IT company he owned and operated his vision of finding a way to help stop the awful trend of child abandonment.

For the past 23 years, A Safe Haven for Newborns has partnered with hospitals, firefighters, and EMS professionals to provide protection for newborns and anonymity for parents through the legal, safe surrender of infants.

Through A Safe Haven for Newborns a baby’s life is saved and his or her mother or father is saved from a lifetime of guilt. It also protects them from legal prosecution.

Silverio and the men and women on his staff of volunteers are dedicated to saving the precious lives of newborns from infant abandonment.

They seek to reach pregnant girls and women before the moment of crisis whenever possible. Safe Haven does not charge for any of their services.

As word spreads about the Safe Haven ministry, most of the over 6,000 women and children helped have received encouragement, resources and material aid leading to healthy pregnancies, deliveries and families created and tragedies averted. This is facilitated through the organization’s 24/7 multi-lingual helpline.

As of mid-April of this year, 404 babies have safely surrendered through the efforts of Safe Haven. What were once double-digit numbers of infant abandonment in Florida each year has shrunk to near zero in the last five years.

“We provide a number of services including online training, awareness outreach, and education,” Joel Gordon told Pregnancy Help News. “It’s the collection of everything we’ve done over the last 20-some-odd years that brings us to this point.”

Gordon is on the advisory board and oversees media relations for A Safe Haven for Newborns. He elaborated on the specifics behind the victories Safe Haven is celebrating.

The first goal of Safe Haven is to assist mothers so that mother and baby can stay together. Whatever she needs: medical care, financial support, furnishings, housing, clothing, baby needs.

“If we can keep them together, that is the ideal goal,” Gordon stated.

Following this is the offering of adoption placement or surrender of the baby to a hospital, fire station or emergency medical services where the baby is directly and anonymously handed off to a medical professional who will follow the protocols laid out by law.

Counseling is made available for mothers who want to be part of the adoption process, connecting them with a reputable adoption agency.

“The initial idea was to prevent infant abandonment,” Gordon noted. “In Florida it was a major problem. The number of infants that were left to die was just horrendous.”

Over the past two decades, with education and training, Gordon is happy to report that, “We have reduced the number of infant abandonments to almost zero.”

There was a three-year span of zero abandonments in Florida, but unfortunately there have been a couple in the last two years.

Across the state, Safe Haven has worked tirelessly to raise awareness for who they are and what they do.

“We have gone into the school systems with information,” Gordon said. “We have signage at every fire station and hospital in the state of Florida. We have billboards and bus bench signs.”

Literature is provided for all agencies and groups involved with high-risk pregnancies and women in distress.

Anonymity is guaranteed so it is not possible to track the babies or their mothers.

However, occasionally they hear from a surrendered child years later.

Some of the inaugural infants saved have now graduated from college and communicated with Safe Haven to celebrate the opportunity that giving life to that child has provided.

There are plans to expand the ministry and fundraising has begun to build a facility in Miami. Demand for their services has increased so the building would enable Safe Haven to expand with offices, allow storage for essential needs for moms and babies and possibly a temporary shelter for a mom in need.

The infants who are surrendered are given the blessing of life and are placed in a loving home where a family awaits, so delighted to receive a child.

Silverio and his staff have offered support and encouragement when individuals and organizations from out of state have reached out to A Safe Haven for Newborns. Calls have even come from other countries.

Silverio is often quoted as stating, “If we saved one life, all of our efforts would be truly worthwhile.”

“With each life saved, I am reminded how fortunate I am to have so many people join me in bringing hope, peace, and happiness to those that feel those they love have abandoned them,” Silverio said.

“I never imagined we could save so many lives,” he said. “But this happens when you lead with your heart and surround yourself with like-minded individuals.”

As A Safe Haven for Newborns celebrates 404 babies safely surrendered, they are quick to note, “And we’re just getting started.”

Editor’s note. This appeared at Pregnancy Help News and is reposted with permission.