“Bittersweet” is the choice word used to describe a special visit by a special little girl to the special place where she was not only offered up, but offered life and hope for a bright future.
Representatives of the Helderberg Baby Saver warmly “welcomed back” one of the five babies who were given a chance at life when their mothers placed them in the special safe, during a recent return visit.
The now preschool girl, dubbed “Baby X” to protect her identity, was accompanied by her loving family and spent quality time bonding with two responders and founder Sandy Immelman.
Immelman, in an interview on the joyous occasion, explained the visit was arranged by Baby X’s family, who have embraced her safe abandonment as a significant part of her story and recognised her growing and evident interest.
“The visit was an incredibly special moment for all of us,” she said. “It was something we had never imagined – that one day, six years on, one of the precious lives that came through our Saver would return to open up the special safe herself to see where her new chapter began.
“It was bittersweet. Although it was beautiful to watch Baby X curiously investigating the place where her new lease on life had begun, the atmosphere was weighted with the reality that she was returning to the very place where a heartbreaking sacrifice was made and the previous chapter that gave rise to it was drawn closed.”
Out of respect for the parents’ wishes, DistrictMail decided not to publish any details on Baby X’s safe abandonment, including when she was placed in the Saver.
Immelman, however, was permitted to share that after being discharged from hospital, Baby X was placed in the care of a loving temporary foster family while the necessary legal steps were seen through.
After becoming adoptable, Baby X was matched and placed with her adoptive family. “Baby X is described as not only being ‘part’ of a family, but as truly being the heartbeat of her family,” Immelman said.
“Her journey since being placed in the Saver is marked with hope, love and joy.”
Baby x’s lights up all hearts
In response to the request for insight into the characteristics and personality traits displayed by Baby X, Immelman shared a note from her parents, saying: “Baby X is doing phenomenally well. She is the brightest light and brings endless joy to every heart. She is marked with love and happiness and she seamlessly illuminates every season and situation. She is always ready for an adventure and she absolutely adores people. She always manages to find a way to make those around her smile. She is very clever and eagerly communicates. She loves to laugh and does so easily. She is cuddly and kind, but also has a spirited twinkle in her eye. Baby X is also incredibly brave and courageous – teaching those around to do the same. People love Baby X’s contagious joy and passionate personality. She is very affectionate and loves to give hugs, kisses and high-fives (or just elbow taps).”
ray of hope for desperate women
One of the responders, Amanda-Lea Jones, took to Facebook on Monday 17 August and said in a post: “Such a special day for me, the emotion of it all only really overwhelms you afterwards. I am so immensely grateful to Sandy Immelman for allowing me to be a part of something so incredible, the Helderberg Baby Saver. What a spirit this child has; how can she not with such love in her life.”
Immelman expressed her hopes for Baby X’s story to give mothers out there hope; women who made the brave decision to choose a Saver, and desperate women who may still be dealing with a crisis pregnancy or a situation where they feel they have no other option. “We wish communities, families and partners would be supportive enough that no-one ever found themselves in this situation – but at least, if they do, they have somewhere they can go to bring hope and a positive future to their precious babies, as evidenced by special Baby X!”
History and how it works
The Helderberg Baby Saver was initiated six years ago after two incidents of babies found abandoned in Somerset West. Five babies were given a chance at life thanks to the saver, located at the Choices Crisis Pregnancy Centre in Schapenberg Road, Somerset West.
The Baby Saver acts as a last port of call for help or hope, enabling safe abandonment of an unwanted baby. When a baby is placed in the safe, an alarm is triggered and appointed respondents, including security and emergency personnel, collect the infant.
The response is linked with child protection organisations such as Wandisa, which sees to all the statutory processes, including placing the baby in temporary safe care, working with the courts, placing advertisements to try to connect with the mother to facilitate support, reintegration or adoption if no-one comes forward after a 90-day period.
Mothers are guaranteed of a safe, anonymous alternative to discarding their baby – no questions are asked and there are no cameras on site.
Similar in concept to the Helderberg Baby Saver, the Grabouw Baby Saver situated at Lighthouse Mission Educare was recently relaunched and the Macassar Baby Saver will be operational as of next week.