She was conceived in rape, then abandoned two hours after being born.
And yet, it could have been worse. Her mother, desperate to “get her life back,” had almost aborted her.
But God had plans to use Monica Kelsey’s life for great good!
Adopted at birth by a Christian family, Monica didn’t discover the shocking circumstances of her conception, birth, and abandonment until she was 37 years old.
As she investigated the circumstances of her adoption, Monica discovered that she had been conceived through rape.
Monica’s mother had been attacked, raped, and left on the roadside to die at just 17 years old. She survived, however, she soon discovered she was pregnant with a baby girl.
The young mother was terrified.
Wondering how she could move on with her life after this horrific act of violence, she decided to pursue an illegal, unsafe abortion and “get her life back.”
But the abortion clinic was hardly a safe place for the teenager, and she began to have second thoughts about killing her unborn daughter. When she was confronted with the reality of an abortion procedure, she fled the clinic and didn’t look back.
The young mother endured the rest of her pregnancy in silence and loneliness, finally giving birth to her baby girl, Monica.
Unable to imagine raising her rapist’s child, Monica’s mother abandoned her baby only two hours after giving birth.
Thankfully, Monica was found and adopted by a generous Christian couple.
When confronted with the troubled story of her birth, Monica struggled to accept the idea that her father was a rapist and her mother had given her up.
But, as a Christian, she knew that God had a plan for her life.
So, instead of asking why this was her story, she started to wonder, “How can I take this gift of life that I’ve been given and make a difference?”
It wasn’t long before God answered that question in a simple, clear way.
As a firefighter and medic, Monica had seen many abandoned babies — but now, every encounter with a rejected child became personal.
She started to brainstorm ways to protect these children and help their mothers.
Most abandoned babies are deserted in unprotected locations where they’re easily susceptible to weather, violence, or other dangers. Many of these babies die from exposure.
So Monica began to research ways to protect abandoned babies — and allow their mothers to surrender them peacefully and without consequences. She recognized that many mothers feel unfit for the task of raising a child and need options besides abortion.
“I don’t believe that a mother would carry a child for nine months and place her child in an unsafe place because she wants to,” Monica said. “I think that a mother carries her child for nine months and is in a crisis mode and freaks out and doesn’t know what to do.”
After researching “baby boxes” and Safe Haven laws — which allows mothers to “safely relinquish an unharmed newborn baby without any risk of persecution” — Monica knew what she needed to do.
She started an organization called Safe Haven Baby Boxes, which educates people on Safe Haven laws and builds baby boxes to protect abandoned babies.
A baby box is designed so a mother — or father — can safely surrender a baby. The box is built into the side of a public building, usually a fire station or hospital, and is big enough to safely house a baby for a brief amount of time.
When the box is opened to place the baby, a silent alarm is triggered and alerts emergency responders. Typically, the baby only remains in the box for a few minutes before being retrieved by responders.
Monica and her staff at Safe Haven Baby Boxes have already helped install baby boxes around the state of Indiana. Since the installation of the boxes, zero babies have died from abandonment in Indiana.
In addition to building and installing baby boxes, Safe Haven Baby Boxes advocates for the unborn at state and national rallies.
The ministry’s core message is that every life matters.
“Our baby box is a last resort option for moms,” noted Monica. “We want them to choose a parenting plan [or] an adoption plan. But if they can’t do those, we don’t want a baby in a dumpster.”
Monica herself often speaks on the subject of abortion in cases of rape. Many pro-abortion activists argue that mothers should have the right to abort babies conceived in rape, but Monica fights against this narrative by telling her story.
To learn more about the ministry of Safe Haven Baby Boxes or to donate, click here.