Today, we went to Jikei Hospital in Kumamoto. This hospital is unique because of the so-called Stork’s Cradle, where people can give their baby away anonymously. Before the visit, we did some preparation at a nearby YMCA, which consisted of basic information about the hospital and the Stork’s Cradle, and we had several debates about topics like abortion, nationality, and anonymity. Because these topics are so delicate and hard to answer ethically, there were many different opinions. We also learned a lot about our countries though these conversations. Generally there are a lot of opportunities if adopting in the participating countries, but not many of them have something similar to the Stork’s Cradle.
When we got to the hospital, we first got to look at the Cradle itself, where people can physically give up their baby. You can either ring the bell for assistance from the staff, and then decide whether you still want to give your baby away, or you can just put the baby in the special baby hatch. Even though you can do it without talking to the staff, there is a letter in the hatch addressed to the parents. This explains that they can get their baby back if they get regrets in the future.
These and many other topics were talked about in a PowerPoint presentation by the founder of the baby hatch, Dr. Hasuda. He also explained why the organization was founded; to stop the killing of unwanted babies in Japan. In spite of the internal debate in the Japanese government, the permit was granted to Dr. Hasuda in 2007. During the rest of the meeting we could ask Dr. Hasuda questions.
The day was very educational and contributed something very special to the program, I believe.
Amalie Nielsen (Denmark)