One of my brother’s favorite animated films — of many on his list — is Disney’s “Meet the Robinsons,” based on the children’s book, “A Day with Wilbur Robinson” by William Joyce. 

In the movie adaptation, Wilbur is left on the steps of the city’s orphanage. This is where his adventure begins. 

The film revolves around his need to go back in time and stop his mother from giving him up, but there’s something about that kind of ‘found family’ motive I absolutely adore.

We see these tropes often in other books and movies, and it’s heartwarming that we know the end result will involve a happy family, a finalized adventure and a big title screen reading, ‘The End.’

Although that isn’t reality — as many foster children and potential adoptees are still waiting for loving, welcoming homes they deserve — Maine is making progress for both infants and mothers.

Recently, a “Safe Haven” baby box bill became law in Maine. This new law says that it will “provide safe options for surrendering unwanted newborns.”

For those who don’t know what a safe haven box is, it is a device or container that can safely accept delivery of a newborn child, either located in a hospital, law enforcement facility or fire department that is staffed 24 hours a day by a medical services provider.

Before reading this newsletter announcement from Maine House Republicans, I had only vaguely heard of these safe havens. Social media had informed me of a new development somewhere in the country that was saving the lives of many infants born in unstable households. They were placed in foster homes almost immediately after arriving at safe haven locations.

I never really gave it much thought beyond that, other than my nod of approval, that there was good intention in doing something courageous like this, preventing infanticide or child endangerment. 

We see too many horrors of such things in both our news and crime serials; it’s good to see a progressive action that can prevent further grief.

“As a child who was abandoned as a newborn and later in life found my birth mom, I know how important anonymity is for some young parents,” said CEO Monica Kelsey of Safe Haven Baby Boxes. “I’m excited to launch in one of the New England states as we have all seen the deadly abandonments that are happening in this part of the country.”

Now that Maine passed LD 560, “An Act To Amend the Safe Haven Laws,” we can potentially see some improvements for the welfare of children, especially after the appalling and heartbreaking death of Maddox Williams in Stockton Springs earlier this summer; a loss that nobody will and should ever forget, nor forgive.

While I hope our state sees continued reform towards social workers, child welfare and stricter punishment towards child abusers, I must say that something like this brings a flicker of hope for the future.

Suzanne Lafreniere of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland seems to agree. She says, “Everyone knows that Maine is one small town and giving a parent the option to surrender a child without having to talk to someone they might know is a primary goal of installing a safe haven baby box.”

This new bill was sponsored by Reps. Patrick Corey, MaryAnne Kinney, Amy Arata, Danny Costain, G. William Diamond, Colleen Madigan, Kimberley Rosen and Bruce White.

This new law, LD 560, amends safe haven laws regarding abandoned children, to now include a safe haven baby box to the list of safe havens an individual can deliver a child to.

Abandoning a baby is illegal. Safe haven laws decriminalize the act, but only if a baby is passed into “safe hands,” designated by law, typically in the first couple of days of their life.

Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services will design rules involving the installation and use of safe haven boxes, in order for there to be necessary safety specifications. Among these measures, will include alarms for facility staff (such as firefighters, hospital employees, etc.), where the safe haven baby box is located, after delivery.

More information about Safe Haven Baby Boxes is available at shbb.org. And I would like to personally thank the Representatives who sponsored this bill.

Emma Testerman is The Courier-Gazette’s copy editor. She currently resides somewhere in the back woods, often mistaken for a cryptid. She can be reached at etesterman@villagesoup.com.