14 years after abandoning newborn at a hospital, mother shares her story

In Australia, 14-year-old Jessica Boatwright has been on a mission to find her biological mother.  A Current Affair reports that the teen was adopted into a loving family as a baby but has been on a search to find answers to the mystery surrounding how she came to them. 

In April, Boatright made a public appeal to her biological mother, asking her to come forward and begging her to come out of hiding.  Security footage from a Liverpool hospital shows the night in 2005 when an unidentified woman entered the emergency department cradling a newborn.  Later that night, she disappeared, leaving her daughter behind. Despite extensive efforts at the time, authorities were unable to locate the mother and she was too afraid to come forward until she heard the words of her daughter.

The mother, who spoke to A Current Affair on the condition of anonymity, explained, “I heard the word she said – she forgives me, she loves me, no matter who I am.”  Those words were enough to overcome 14 years of silence and guilt. She said, “That’s what made me stand up and say, ‘okay, you’re my baby, I’m your mum.’”

Australian news outlets have agreed to respect the mother’s desire to conceal her identity in order to share her side of the story, and what she has to say reveals the need for greater resources for mothers in crisis pregnancies.  The woman says that she realized she was unexpectedly pregnant shortly after moving to Australia at the age of 18. She hid the pregnancy from her family and did not know what to do.

When she went into labor, the scared teenage mother silently delivered her baby in her family’s apartment.  She told an interviewer, “Jessica even not crying, nothing at all, she’s just quiet and I put her in the bed, cover in a blanket and just keep her warm and just hug her, sit there and hug her and look at her,” she said.  Seeing her newborn daughter, she recognized the preciousness of her life. Although she still did not know what to do, she knew she needed to protect her and find care for her vulnerable baby. She said at the time, “I’m thinking, ‘she’s just so beautiful’.  She’s just a gift to give to me.’ In another way, I don’t know what to do.”

The young mother snuck out of her family’s home after everyone else was asleep and brought her daughter to the hospital, where she made her fateful decision.  Although this decision caused a great deal of pain for both her and her child, her courage in bringing her daughter to safety has given Jessica a full and beautiful life with her adoptive parents, Brad and Anna Boatright.  

Jessica’s adoptive parents have fully supported Jessica’s efforts to locate her mother and the eventual success of those efforts led to healing for the young teen.  She told news outlets, “It’s just a miracle that we found her.” She said elsewhere, “This has filled the beginning of my life,” after meeting her birthmother for the first time.  She added, “It’s amazing to fill a hole I’ve had for 14 years.”

Meeting her daughter has been healing for her mother, too.  She said, “I ran away for 14 years. One day you have to face it, no matter what.”  Not having to hide any longer has brought closure to years of guilt. In a new country without resources and fearing the reaction of family, many women may not have had the courage to ensure that their child received the love and care they need and deserve. 

In recent years, harrowing stories like Jessica’s have led to the passage of more laws like Texas’s Baby Moses Law.  In Texas, and many other states with Safe Haven Laws, parents in situations of fear and despair can bring a newborn baby to a designated location, like a fire station or hospital.  The parents can surrender the baby without facing criminal charges and often the parents can remain anonymous if they choose.  

Other stories show even more starkly how important such laws are.  Earlier this year baby India was discovered abandoned in a plastic bag and, miraculously, was unharmed.  Babies like Jessica and India, born into difficult situations, should be given every chance of safe delivery and loving care.  Mothers like Jessica’s birthmother should know that they have options and they can safely choose Life for their babies.

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