Antwerp’s famous hatch for abandoned babies has received a new inhabitant, the city’s mayor Bart De Wever (N-VA) – also the baby’s official guardian – has announced.
The baby hatch – so far the only one existing in the country – was set up in 2000 by the non-profit organisation Moeders voor Moeders (Mothers for Mothers), to allow women who had just given birth and could not cope with the responsibility of a baby, to place the child in a safe place, to be looked after by someone.
The unit is literally a sliding hatch, like in the bank. It opens from the outside, and the baby can be safely placed inside. When that is done, a signal is sent to the charity, who will send someone immediately, day or night, to pick up the baby and take it to safety.
In the meantime, the mother can remain anonymous, although every effort is made to trace her and help with her difficult situation.
The news of the new foundling, a boy and the first baby to be abandoned in this way, dates back ‘a few weeks,’ according to De Wever. The news was held back for privacy reasons.
The baby is in good health, and has been given a name by Moeders voor Moeders, which is not being released, again for privacy reasons. De Wever, in his role as official guardian, has named the boy Finn for the time being.
“Some time ago this rascal was placed in the foundling drawer at Moeders voor Moeders,” De Wever posted on Facebook.
“Unfortunately, the mother did not report after that. She remains very welcome to do so now. For now, I am the guardian of this little miracle. My daughters called him baby Finn. Little Finn will lack for nothing. Welcome new Antwerp resident, and know that you have been lovingly received in our city.”