Ashdod police unable to locate mother who abandoned her newborn boy

Ashdod police were still searching Wednesday for the mother of a baby abandoned when he was two hours old in the lobby of an apartment building, even though Army Radio reported that local police believed they had identified the woman. Superintendent Moshe Levin of the Ashdod Police investigations unit told Army Radio that a woman known to have abandoned her children in the past was very likely the baby's mother and they were currently trying to find her. The baby was discovered Monday evening wrapped in a blanket and hidden inside a garbage bag by Ephraim Janashvili, a tenant in the building. He had first believed that the bag was garbage left in the stairwell by another resident. Only when he opened the bag did he notice that a baby was inside. The medical response team which arrived on the scene found that the baby was suffering from hypothermia but that his vitals were fine. They estimated that he was only a few hours old. On Tuesday, child welfare officers in Ashdod received court approval to take responsibility for the baby and have been tasked with finding a family to care for the boy as soon as he is released from Kaplan Hospital in Rehovot. The Ashdod Municipality reported that following initial reports about the child, thousands of individuals called and offered to adopt or foster him. However, social services said that if the mother is located soon it would evaluate whether to return the child to her and provide her with constant supervision. "Abandoning a child derives only from extreme distress and some kind of emotional breakdown that could be solved with professional and family assistance," commented Orna Hirshfeld, Director of Child Services, which provides help to many woman and teenagers who decide to offer their newborn babies up for adoption. The department usually attempts to offer alternative solutions to mothers who do not want their babies, including emotional support and other treatments. If the decision is made that a mother is unable to care for her child, then the baby is transferred to an adoptive family. Currently, more than 300 families are on the ministry's waiting list to adopt a child and some have been waiting for more than seven years. A spokesman for the Minister of Welfare and Social Services said that cases of mothers abandoning babies were rare and usually happened about once a year.