When a baby is abandoned at a hospital, he is often referred to as a boarder baby. Usually, parents abandon their babies because they believe they cannot care for them or because they have no interest in raising children. Often, these infants are not healthy and are in need of special care. For example, a boarder baby may be born with HIV or be addicted to drugs because of his mother's drug use during pregnancy; some also may be born early or with handicapping conditions. In some cases, however, the babies are healthy but are simply left behind.
The term boarder baby is used in reference to an infant who has been abandoned in a hospital. Often, this situation occurs when the baby's mother cannot care for the child and leaves the hospital without him following childbirth. Sadly, many of the babies who are abandoned in this way are actually more in need of capable caregivers than other babies. This is because many of them have health conditions that make them much more vulnerable. Still, there are also some boarder babies who are abandoned despite the fact that they are completely healthy.
The range of issues a boarder baby may have is wide and varied. Some boarder babies are born with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which is the virus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS); others are born addicted to drugs because their mothers used drugs during pregnancy. Many are born with health issues caused by their mothers' heavy consumption of alcohol during pregnancy. Often, these babies are premature and born at very low birth weights. Some boarder babies are born with minor or major birth defects, conditions caused by chromosome abnormalities, or they are born blind or deaf.
It may seem logical that it would be easier to adopt boarder babies than infants who have not been abandoned at a hospital. In many cases, this may be true. It is important to understand, however, that a person who wants to adopt a boarder baby will usually have to become a foster parent to him first and then eventually adopt him. This can be emotionally troubling for some hopeful adoptive parents, as there is a chance that the parents of the child, or his other relatives, will seek reunification. Often, the authorities involved extend the parents the chance to reunify with their boarder babies despite the fact that they initially abandoned them.