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Mother abandons newborns at fire station

October 19, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Compton firefighters had to switch roles to caregivers Monday when a mother abandoned her twin newborns at a fire station.The Safely Surrendered Baby Law has been in effect in California since 2001. As long as an infant is not abused and not older than three days, the mother can surrender that child without fear of arrest or prosecution.

The twins left in Compton Monday are about two weeks old, but the firefighters weren't about to turn them away.

Things have returned to normal at Fire Station 2 in Compton, where a rare situation unfolded Monday morning.

"I looked down and saw two twins, and they looked like they were the size of a football," said firefighter Michael Wilson, describing how a distraught mother surrendered her infant twins, a boy and a girl.

The children were well cared for, and the mother was with a counselor at the time of the surrender.

"We don't really know her circumstances or why she's doing it or what decision came about in her head that she has to do this, but it happens to people all the time, and it's better to do it this way because the babies are taken care of," said Roberto Rojas, Compton Fire Department.

Under California's Safely Surrendered Baby Law, parents can drop newborns off at certain Safe Surrender sites without fear of prosecution.

The law was designed to protect babies from being hurt or killed because they were abandoned.

"We don't want anything to happen as far as babies ending up in trash cans, or just the worst possible things you can imagine," said Wilson.

"I can't begin to imagine what she was going through," said Capt. Javier Perez, Compton Fire Department.

This is the first time that a child has been surrendered under Perez's watch. He says the situation unfolded exactly as the law intended.

"The law was enacted in 2001, but prior to that, people were doing the unthinkable, so yeah, it's a good law," added Perez.

The children were transported to a local hospital as a precaution. They will be placed in the care of family protective services then eventually be put up for adoption.

The firefighters certainly wish the best for the two babies. The mother has 14 days as a cooling-off period to reconsider her decision.

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