South Africa (MNN) — Each month, nearly 200 babies are abandoned between Johannesburg and Soweto in South Africa, reports the International Mission Board. Typically, no more than 60 are found alive.
Unable to bear the ongoing reports of infants found in trash cans and rivers, Baptist woman Cheryl Allen began an outreach called "Door of Hope." The group would provide medical and emotional care for abandoned babies and find loving homes for them.
How would Door of Hope get to the children before it was too late? Allen observed that many women would prefer to give up unwanted or unplanned children rather than abandon them to die IF they could do so anonymously.
Thus, Allen partnered with Berea Baptist Mission Church to start working on a bold plan. Men from the church cut a hole in Door of Hope's security wall and installed a "baby bin," wiring it with sensors and an alarm to alert caregivers when something or someone is deposited.
Since the bin was installed in 1999, nearly 1,000 babies have come through Door of Hope and have been adopted into loving homes.
Many infants arrive malnourished, premature, neglected, sick or severely abused. Upon receiving a baby, Door of Hope staff and volunteers immediately perform a medical evaluation to determine if hospitalization is necessary. Once medically stable, the babies are taken to one of three temporary homes where they are cared for 24/7 by volunteers.
Door of Hope works through an adoption agency to place the children in loving, preferably Christian, homes. Babies are held for three months before they can be declared abandoned, in case a relative wishes to claim them. After this period, the babies are adoptable nationally. If they are not adopted after a period of time, the process is opened to other countries. Many are taken in by families in Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands.
Beyond caring for humanity's most vulnerable, Door of Hope is also sharing the Gospel. Every baby Door of Hope takes in is dedicated at Berea Baptist Mission Church and their salvation prayed for. Volunteers sing "Jesus Loves You" and other Christian songs "until they recognize them" said one volunteer. "We tell them Jesus loves them every day."
Allen says the outreach opens many doors to share God's love as well as the Gospel message. His love, she says, is what keeps them motivated.
Door of Hope accepts volunteers and monetary donations from all over the world. Learn more here.