While Germany debates the ethics and legality of anonymous baby dumping, Ecumenical News Service reports that the Lithuanian government, in conjunction with the country’s Catholic bishops, has opened baby hatches in the capital city Vilnius and Klaipeda, the country’s only seaport.
The first hatch is located in a “special room” in the Vilnius Babies’ Foster Home. Babies left will be cared for on the premises. Parents and family members will have three months to visit and reclaim the infant before the state takes permanent custody.
Although the “windows of life,” as the hatches are called, were instituted in response to four alleged cases of neonaticide in 2007, they are clearly being marketed as an anti-abortion measure. Richardas Doveika (right), assistant to the secretary of the bishop’s council says, “The church, as a preacher of life, always blesses every pro-life initiative.” The bishops, he says, are considering adding “windows” in church-run hospitals throughout the country, but offers no evidence of need. In fact, I have been unable to find any statistics on the number of abandoned newborns or neonaticides in Lithuania other than the reference to the 2007 cases.
Petronele Valatkeviciene, director of the foster home, unaware or uncaring of the German (and elsewhere) build-it-and-they-will-come experience, doesn’t believe the “windows” will increase the number of abandoned newborns in the city.”The most important thing is to guarantee that unwanted babies are not left unattended or even killed.”
The US State Department says about 30 Lithuanian children a year are funneled into the US via adoption. The US Consulate in Vilnius warns, however, that the Lithuanian government scrutinizes closely all adoptions to the US.
And it should. The Open Door in Thomasville, Georgia, the agency that handled the adoption of Jacob Lindorff, later beaten to death by his new forever parents, is one of the US agencies handling Lithuanian adoptions. (I have a couple updates on the Lindorff case Ill be posting this week). Bethany is another.