BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – A baby’s death is being used to raise awareness about child safe-haven laws in Alabama. Monday marks the 10-year anniversary of baby Angel Grace’s birth. She was a baby whose life was cut short when she was dropped off in a donation bin and discovered by workers an America’s Thrift Store in 2005.
Each year the thrift store honors the baby as a way to raise awareness about Alabama’s safe-haven law.
Donna Funderburke-McKinley and her husband are raising three adopted children in Gardendale. She is thankful that her children’s birth mother knew she has options.
“I am very grateful to that mother and what she has given me. But there are those who are very fearful. And when you’re young you feel trapped, you think there’s no way out,” said Funderburke-McKinley
McKinley’s daughter Ellen says she feels blessed having parents.
“Now I have someone who actually loves me and I can call my mom and dad. It’s just an honor to have them,” McKinley said.
Baby Angel-Grace would have been 10 years old Monday. This is around the same age as Funderburke-McKinley’s children. Instead, Angel Grace’s her short life was remembered at a memorial service inside America’s Thrift Store.
The baby girl was discovered in the sorting room by Eddy Lugo. He said he couldn’t believe it when he found the baby’s body and says this time of year is always difficult for him.
Management and employees hope that Angel Grace’s story will help parents and educators talk to their children about safe-haven laws.
“That’s why we do this. To make sure this doesn’t happen to any other children. That’s why we do this every year,” store manager Dawn Roberson said.
Funderburke-McKinley says that young people need to be aggressively educated by adults.
“A lot of young people don’t watch the news. We’ve got to get it out there so that young people know there is a place they can take that child,” Funderburke-McKinley said.
Under Alabama law, a mother can leave her unharmed baby — up to three days old — with a hospital employee at the emergency room of any licensed hospital in Alabama.
Copyright 2015 WIAT 42 News