June 11, 2017

The Drop Box: Fostering Good Will

Is it part of being middle aged and middle class that you throw yourself a pity party now and then? It sometimes looks that way yet my go-to response for such complaints is the question "Have you done any volunteer work lately?" Gainfully employed, healthy, able-bodied homeowners with a second place upstate and a robust 401K need to do a reality check next time they bring out their sad little noisemakers. One way to do that would be to watch Brian Ivie's humbling documentary The Drop Box which details the selfless, good samaritan work of Pastor and Mrs. Lee, two noble spirits helping to find homes for unwanted babies previously abandoned in the street. How they get these babies is a touch heartbreaking.

Although I'd never heard of such a thing before, evidently, there's this thing called a "baby box" or a "drop box" or a "baby hatch" (or in olden days, a "foundling wheel"). These repositories serve as a place for unhappy, unfortunate parents to discard infants that they simply cannot or will not raise. Drop boxes can be found everywhere from Pakistan to Germany to South Africa. Often they're run by churches but not always. In the USA, "safe haven laws" allow parents to turn over babies often at fire stations, no questions asked. But the Lees aren't just an exchange point. They're adopting a number of children, too — some of them with serious challenges.

The stories of some of those children should also act as a curative for any woe-is-me ailments. I was especially moved by their bespectacled son Ru-ri, a young boy with partially amputated fingers whose bright spirit, passion for Taekwondo, and respect for his father's life mission make you realize that nobler goals might be a good thing to start incorporating pronto. Considering all the meanness, corruption, and amorality in the world right now — right up to the US President — The Drop Box's message of kindness and caring is a welcome reprieve.

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