Never to Small to Make a Difference

Six years ago on a frigid cold Christmas Eve, I was one of several investigators involved in a heart-breaking case after a baby had been found in a recycling bin by a bottle picker.  In the pursuit to identify the infant’s mother we all worked hard that holiday season to no avail until several years later, the fresh eyes and ideas of a new investigator found the missing pieces of this puzzle and brought the case to a conclusion.

Baby Eve’s (as we affectionately called her) investigation was grim but there were things born from it which prove that no one is too small to make a difference.

In the months and years following her discovery, I watched several dedicated investigators explore innovative new technologies to bring a conclusion to this case.  These new techniques included DNA phenotyping (essentially creating a composite sketch of a suspect) and genetic genealogy tracking.  Although these techniques did not ultimately assist in identifying Baby Eve’s mother, experimenting with them laid the groundwork for their continued use into future investigations.  Unbelievably since 2017 there have been several old files which have since been solved by techniques learned during baby Eve’s investigation – bringing closure to families who so desperately needed it.

Baby Eve’s story also became the precipice and the spark behind something else, an idea to develop a baby cradle program where mothers who, for any number of their own personal reasons, could surrender their newborn into the safety of a cradle versus the alternative. In 2021 an organization I am so proud to represent – Gems for Gems partnered with the Strathmore fire hall to build the very first “Hopes Cradle”.

“Hopes Cradle” now gives new mothers another option of anonymous surrender where none was before. As the cradle program continues to build momentum in communities across the country including our own, one hopes the women who are considering making the complex and difficult decision to surrender their babies can now do so at a “Hopes Cradle” in the communities who have so far embraced the program.

The gifts of “fresh ideas” and “new innovations” are the legacy pieces Baby Eve left for us. She was small, and her life on Earth was tragically brief, but the ripples from her hours-long journey may well be a benefit to our community forever.

Over this holiday season I hope we can all keep in mind the message behind baby Eve’s tragedy. None of us – even the smallest of us, are two small to make a difference.