Volunteers honored 200 deceased babies abandoned at birth with rose petals, songs and prayers at a special memorial Saturday morning.
Speakers read out every baby’s name including Roger, the most recent and 200th buried baby, at the donated Garden of Innocence at El Camino Memorial Park. Volunteers also put rose petals over each baby’s marked gravestone honoring their brief time on Earth.
The founder, Elissa Davey, started the Garden of Innocence after she realized there were babies who needed a place to rest peacefully.
It began twenty years ago with the first baby, Adam, who was reportedly found left dead in a trash can in Chula Vista.
“You read about this happening in the local newspaper but then your life gets in the way and you jump up to start your day and forget about those articles. For some reason, with this particular story, on this particular day, I couldn’t forget,” Davey wrote on the website.
“He was a sad situation because he was actually thrown away twice because his mother threw him away in her gym clothes and someone came around later and took the gym clothes and took the baby and threw him in a different trash can,” Elissa Davey explained.
Davey wanted to create a place where an abandoned baby could be buried with a name, with dignity.
Davey’s goal is to have a Garden of Innocence in every state. She has started 13 gardens so far in California and Oregon. One day she hopes to have a garden in every state.
The organization relies on donations to fund their memorials. Davey said she is always moved to see people who never had a connection to the unwanted child come to a memorial service.
“They first come here to see what’s it’s like, to see what we are doing. Then they get involved and they say, ‘wow this is neat, I’ve never heard of this before,’ and we need people to hear about it.”
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