(CBS) — It’s a familiar story: unwanted babies abandoned out on the street or worse.
What we don’t often hear about are the babies safely surrendered under Illinois’s “safe haven” law.
As CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez reports, 110 babies have been given a second chance since 2001, when the law went into effect.
She has the story of one of them now.
The safe haven law says you can hand your baby off to a person at a fire or police station or hospital within 30 days of birth.
Two-year-old Luke brings laughter and joy. But his parents, Maria and Erik, never dreamed of how their quest to adopt would unfold.
“We got a call about him one morning at 10. I had him in my arms by 11:15,” the mom says.
Luke had been handed over at a fire house, when he was just days old. His mother was able to walk away, no questions asked.
Maria remembers someone asking about abandoned babies at adoption class.
“I remember thinking, that’s really sad. I also wondered what happens to these kids you hear about on the news,” she says.
After a check-up at the hospital, Luke was immediately handed over to Maria and Erik.
“There certainly are things we’ll never really know about Luke. But we’ll take that,” the dad says.
The information about Luke’s biological mother will stay secret. But his parents plan to share the story of how they got him.
“In his bedroom above his crib there’s a neat little needle point that somebody made when they heard this story,” Erik says. “It’s firehouse and firemen holding a little baby.”
The parents take Luke to the firehouse every year.
“One of the firefighters said, ‘Thank you so much. We see the bad stuff all the time but this is great,’” Maria says.
She has since joined the Save Abandoned Babies Foundation, to make sure other mothers know there are loving homes waiting.
“Words cannot describe how grateful we are for him. He’s the best,” Maria says.
Luke now has a brother and a sister – twins — born one year ago.
Those babies abandoned on the street go into foster care, and often face a much longer path to a forever family, if they get one at all. And the mothers are subject to criminal charges. Through Save Haven, a pre-screened family is waiting.
Erik and Maria requested that their last name not be used for this story.