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The Province

Last chance for Baby Jane's parents to come forward
ABANDONED INFANT: Police promise no charges will be laid

Lena Sin, The Province, Sunday, December 19, 2004

A last-ditch plea is being made today for the parents of Baby Jane Doe, abandoned at a Vancouver bus stop, to contact the Ministry of Children and Family Development.

A legal ad has been taken out in today's Province to give the parents of Baby Jane notice that the ministry will be making an application for permanent custody of the baby.

But Deputy Minister Alison MacPhail is urging the mother or father to come forward before the Jan. 13 Vancouver court date so they can be given help.

"It happens so rarely, I think it's an act of desperation," MacPhail said. "I can only imagine that the mother would be feeling terrible."

MacPhail said the ministry, like police, are not recommending any charges against the mother.

Baby Jane was left at a bus stop on King Edward Avenue near Carnarvon Street Nov. 27 and found by a passerby. Police believe the baby was about three days old when she was abandoned.

For now, B.C.'s Public Guardian and Trustee and the Ministry of Children and Family Development's Director of Child Welfare are the temporary joint guardians of Baby Jane.

The ministry was ordered by a judge to print an ad in the paper so the parents are given an opportunity to object to the ministry's plans to seek permanent custody of Baby Jane Doe.

"Once we are the permanent guardian of the child, then we can start to make a permanent plan for the child, which would mean adoption," said MacPhail.

MacPhail said the ministry would also like to speak to the parents to learn about the baby's medical history and her cultural background.

The story of Baby Jane has reverberated throughout the province -- and even as far as Ontario.

Toronto's Erika Klein learned about Baby Jane through an online support group called Origins

Canada.

"It struck a chord with me for sure. I just hope somebody can reach out to the mother and offer her support," said Klein, 28, who gave up her own daughter for adoption three years ago because she didn't have the financial means to support her child.

Like Klein, Bryony Lake, a Victoria mother of four, knows all too well how it feels to have to give up a child.

"The pain has not left and it just doesn't go away and this girl was probably told that she can get over it, that she can get beyond it -- and it's not going to happen," said Lake. "The grief is almost impossible to resolve. It's not something I want to see this girl go through."

It took 19 years before Lake reunited with her son and for the past 14 years, she has been working with various groups to help single mothers. Lake said she would like to donate $1,000 to the mother of Baby Jane and set up a trust fund for the woman so she knows she will have resources to take care of her daughter.

"She's most likely extremely scared. She's afraid of being charged if she comes forward. She probably did this to begin with because she's frightened of her parents if she's a young teenager," said Lake.

lsin@png.canwest.com

How you can help Baby Jane Doe

n A trust fund has been set up. Cheques can be made to the Baby Jane Doe Trust Fund and sent to lawyer Kathleen Walker's office at 757-777 Hornby Street, Vancouver, B.C., V6Z 1S4.