Funerals for Abandoned Babies
Rest in His Arms "RiHA" 501c3 nonprofit organization began when its founder read about an abandoned infant in a newspaper article and thought that this child deserved a proper burial. It all started with a newspaper article. Just two small paragraphs on the third page of the Tribune Metro section … a baby's body had been found in a local landfill. After crying for the child, we knew we had to do something. We felt compelled to take action. We worked with the local coroner's office to provide the child, a newborn baby boy, with a funeral and burial. We find solace in knowing that at least in death, he would be loved. We named him Michael – "he who is like God" and left him with a blue teddy bear and a lullaby. We worked to provide this young child a name, burial clothes from a donated wedding dress and donated services and burial plot. These little things added up to big things in terms of love, respect, and dignity that needed to happen for this little child of God. Since that time, over 40 children in the Chicagoland area have been provided the final act of dignity and respect by the men and women of RiHA.
By spiritually adopting these infants and becoming guardian, RiHA arranges final services that proclaim that these children are precious – even if they only lived for one minute. Providing each child with a name, none of our babies are labeled "John Doe." Each child is lovingly laid to rest and send Home to the open and comforting arms of our Creator.
Sadly RiHA is a much needed organization as there are several babies illegally abandoned each year in the State of Illinois. But it does not have to be this way. The Illinois Safe Haven Law (www.saveabandonedbabies.org) allows a parent in crisis to leave an unharmed newborn 30 days old or younger in the arms of staff at any hospital, 24 hour emergency care facility, police station, manned fire station, or college/university campus security office. Parents cannot be prosecuted for abandonment by using the Safe Haven, and in fact, no questions will be asked. Babies left in Safe Havens receive medical care and can be adopted into loving families and given a chance at life with a forever family. The program is meant to be safe, fee, legal and totally anonymous so that the crisis can be removed without harming the child.
Until more people know about the alternatives to illegal abandonment, RiHA will continue to mourn for each life lost and ensure that these innocent little ones will not be forgotten.
September 23, 2005
Baby Michael Gerard laid to rest at Avon Memorial Cemetery in Grayslake, Illinois. Michael was found dead in a landfill in Grayslake, Illinois and was thought to have been born in August 2005. His identity and that of his parents is unknown. RiHA named him Michael meaning "Gift from God" after the great Archangel and Gerard after St. Gerard Majella.
November 18, 2005
Baby David was laid to rest at the Highland Memorial Cemetery in Grayslake, Illinois. It is believed that David was the first baby illegally abandoned and left to die the day after the implementation of the Safe Have law in Illinois. David was found in a dumpster behind a grocery store in Round Lake, Illinois. In August of 2001. His tiny body remained with the Coroner's office until he was laid to rest in 2005. RiHA named him David meaning "Beloved One."
January 01, 1970
Baby Rosa was also laid to rest at Highland Memorial Cemetery in Grayslake, Illinois. Born in 2002 and just hours old, Baby Rosa's mother left her alone to die wrapped in plastic garbage bags inside of a closet in an apartment. Her mother was found and charged with this crime. RiHA named her Rosa to honor her heritage and because she was a beautiful as a rose.
January 12, 2006
Baby Girl Morales was buried at Wheaton Community Cemetery in Wheaton, Illinois. She was born in 2005 while her mother was at work. She was left in a trash can and died alone. Her mother has been charged with the crime and the child is left without a first name at her extended family's request.
April 12, 2006
Baby Theresa Anne was buried in a private cemetery in northern Indiana. Born in January 2006, Baby Theresa Anne was found dead left in a dumpster behind a Blockbuster Video store in Streamwood, Illinois. RiHA named her after St. Theresa and St. Anne.
October 26, 2006
Baby Kinzie Marie is buried at All Saints Cemetery in Des Plaines, Illinois. Baby Kinzie made news headlines in Chicago on July 21, 2006 – the day she was found in a burning bag under a train viaduct near the 4600 block of Kinzie Avenue. Named "Kinzie" by the people who discovered her with "Marie" added by RiHA, this little baby's life was celebrated with a funeral Mass at St. Martin de Porres Church – in the community where she was found.