Guangzhou’s station for distressed parents to leave their children has received 51 drop-offs in its first 13 days of operation. While most of the abandoned children have been infants, some have been as old as five or six, and all of them have been “critically ill or disabled.”
The sheer number of drop-offs has nearly crippled the safe haven, which is a small facility with a handful of baby beds and incubators. Local officials did not estimate that so many parents would wish to part with their children, and had to issue a statement assuring that “we never encouraged parents to dump their babies and children via establishing the safe haven.”
Baby-abandoning stations like Guangzhou’s have often been controversial, but it’s certainly hard to argue that the city would be better off without them. Parents of disabled or terminally ill children face a massive array of problems and pressures, ranging from one-child-policy woes to concerns that disabled individuals have an extremely difficult time in modern Chinese society, as a 40% illiteracy rate can attest.
The Guangzhou facility was constructed for only 120,000 yuan (about 20,000 USD) and boasts just 7 square meters of floor space. If this hurried pace of 3.9 babies/day continues, it looks as though they’ll be forced to expand or make some tough decisions.