Regarding the recently opened facility for unwanted infants at Jikei Hospital in Kumamoto: I have worked with children and families for more than 20 years. The argument that people are not comfortable talking with government staff is so true, but the answer is not a baby hatch.
Such traumatic separation from parent, regardless of age, is devastating to children. I now work with developmentally disabled adults, some of whom were abandoned cold and others sent from family to family as private placements and are now living in assisted-living facilities. Overcoming losses of significant people is a major issue for such people.
The answer for an unwanted child or parental inability to raise is not a baby hatch, but better-trained, scrutinized and well-paid government or private agency staff with a strong monitoring agency well-funded by tax money. The monitoring agency needs to follow prenatal care more vigorously when the potential for abandonment can be identified.
People will abandon children of all ages regardless of any system, but finding a 3-year-old toddler on the first day of the facility’s operation should be taken as a warning about the misguided compassion of this hospital and the city.
I suppose the idea will be well-liked by adoptive parents who would love to sever all semblance of a possible connection with biological parents. I am saddened by the insistence of the mayor that the baby hatch is a good idea. I have found Japanese people in general more sensitive and compassionate than a host of other groups. Even with the baby hatch, people will continue to abandon children in all sorts of other places.
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