By Jada, Participant of Session 1&2&3, From USA
Today we had a special experience visiting the first and only baby hatch in Japan at Jikei Hospital in Kumamoto City. We were given a tour by the wife of the head of the institution, and as a group of diverse national and personal backgrounds, we had a good discussion session with the hospital representatives and shared insights regarding adoption and baby post systems in the world.
The hatch at Jikei Hospital, named the “Stork’s Cradle,” was made to provide support for parents whom, for different reasons, decide to give away their children, and care for the abandoned babies. The reasons of the giving away of the baby at the hatch include lack of money to raise a baby, not being married, result of an affair, etc. Originally this hospital was created in 1897 to cure leprosy, but at the time leprosy was incurable and patients stated they were treated horrible. This then eventually changed to the Jikei hospital that it is now to a women’s hospital. The Hatch was added in 2006 after having problems with mothers leaving children in areas where they would die. The goal of the hatch is to either bring the mother of the child to reach out for help or to lead the child into an adoption agency.
Inside the hospital they have the maternity station and the nurse’s station. In both areas they have a blue alert signal to notify when a baby has been dropped off. When a baby is dropped off multiple nurses will run down the stairs to get there within seconds to treat the baby as needed. There is even an oxygen tank next to it just in case the baby would need support. If by chance the child needs a doctor, they have a doctor on call for 24-hour assistance and all nurses are trained regularly to make sure they meet the needs of the child whenever needed.
This hospital is very unique with the baby hatch being what they are known for, but also having a great maternity unit and making sure they meet the needs of each woman who might be pregnant and carrying for their child.