Ohio Safe Haven Baby Box critic Chis Hicks has done it again! Listen to the audio recording below where he (please, excuse the vulgarity) tore SHBB Inc and its founder and CEO, Monica Kelsey three new ones in an “informational” phone Q&A with Indiana filmmaker Trent Eilason, hired by SHBB Inc to make a full-length documentary to promote itself. We can’t wait!
But first, some background
Hicks is not a member of the Stop Safe Haven Baby Boxes Now team nor does he have anything to do with adoption or child welfare, but he is a fast learner. He is a political watchdog in Clermont County, Ohio east of Cincinnati, and a most unlikely baby box critic since he fits the SHBB fanbase profile: conservative, Republican, Christian, and opposed to abortion. Unfortunately for SHBB Inc, he is also a strong advocate of fiscal responsibility and transparency in government no matter who is in charge or how good an idea sounds.
What began as a look into what Hicks believed were financial shenanigans by the Clermont County Union Township Trustees and Fire Station #50 in the procurement of Baby Box #108 (the 6th in the state) has turned into a long-term investigation of Safe Haven Baby Boxes Inc activities in Ohio, Through public records requests, photographs, and video, interviews, and extensive boots on the ground reporting he has painted a not-so-pretty picture of the organization that portrays itself as performing God’s work by saving problematic newborns from what SHBB Inc perceives is certain death-by-mom and instigating the return and normalization of the medieval practice of anonymous infant abandonment-by-box-in-the-wall in the United States.
Hicks’ investigation led him to file a complaint with the state regarding the failure of SHBB Inc to follow Ohio State law and Administrative Code regulations as well as SHBB Inc’s own protocols for baby boxes–particularly, but not limited to, full-time staffing requirements at box locations and safety and sanitation requirements. He also discovered that the fire station did not raise funds through the usual voluntary campaign. Instead, township trustees spent public money for the box, and later when Hicks disclosed that the station was not staffed 24/7 hired an extra firefighter/EMT at a whopping union scale, to keep the box legit. Mrs. Kelsey offered to pay for that extra member, but ultimately the taxpayer was stiffed for it according to Hicks.
Due to Hicks’ work, that baby box was finally, deactivated and a box in Troy was closed temporarily, while the state investigated the legality of its location. Other box locations underwent investigation for compliance. The Sunbury box, near Columbus, also was deactivated due reportedly to its inability to obtain a replacement part–something really weird that I’ve not had time to research. Because of the complaints, investigation, and bad publicity, no new boxes have been opened in the state since October 2022. BTW, the first box in Ohio was installed in 2018, and before the deactivations, there were eight. None has ever been used.
One of the big takeaways for me personally from the investigation was learning how little control the State of Ohio and probably other states have over boxes and how they operate. They can’t even inspect them without complaint and probable cause.
Back to the Present
As I said above, Hicks and other SHBB critics, including myself, were contacted by Trent Elison. He did not identify himself at that time as an SHBB Inc hire. I suspected he was, however, since in late March or early April Mrs. Kelsey posted on the SHBB FB page that a documentary was being made about her and the company and that someone with a camera would be following her around the office/factory for a month.
None of us is keen on appearing in an infomercial for Safe Haven Baby Boxes Inc. Although we have a lot to say, we do not want to give SHBB Inc or Mrs. Kelsey credibility by appearing on her own platform or having no control over what we say is used. We are certainly concerned about how we would be presented in the final cut. We have been insulted by her too many times to believe otherwise.
Adoptees that speak out against our exploitation are often portrayed in the media, and especially social media, as uppity, ungrateful whiners, and even Satanists, (really!) and “out of touch with reality” (whatever that means) who hate our adoptive parents–or birthparents depending on the POV. We can guess how we would come off opposing “life-saving boxes.”
Professional purity educator and SHBB Inc “hotline coordinator,” Pam Stenzel says adopted people who oppose the baby box movement suffer “serious mental challenges,” and some box fans call us liars. Mrs Kelsey, believes that “adoption is beautiful” and says that adoptee opponents “just had a bad experience.” The whole thing reminds me of Mrs. Kelsey’s Karen Moment with the Ohio Department of Health a few months ago when she canceled a long-sought meeting to discuss compliance problems with officials when they refused her last-minute demand to include the very people the department was investigating.
So, we have outright turned down the invitation, ignored it, or like Hick have s refused the invitation without this stipulation: personal retention of a copy of the raw video/audio of any interaction with Eliason.
On June 21 Hicks talked to Eliason for an hour, recorded the call, and posted it online. (Ohio is a one-party consent state and this is legal.) After listening to Hicks’ total deconstruction of SHBB Inc, the baby box movement, and Mrs. Kelsey, and overall owning the baby box scheme and schemers, I wondered if the documentary would go forward, at least with Eliason, who says no money has crossed hands yet. He admitted he thought that baby boxes are a good idea, but that he knew little about them outside of what he had been told by the Kelsey crew, Eliason seems to be a nice guy and sounded, at the end of the conversation, like he realized he’d stepped in it. Sorta! I suppose the film will be made, but it would be amusing if it isn’t.
I have problems recording phone conversations, so I will have to forgo the Hicks plan, which I kind of regret, but I do not want anything taken out of context, nor do I want to give SHBB Inc credibility. or assistance. I took tons of film classes in grad school, and I know how it works.
Below is the interview, posted with Hicks’ permission. He kindly made separate links below the main link to designate discussion points. If you oppose baby boxes, this is an hour you won’t regret. (YouTube link)
To follow Hicks’ ongoing battle with SHBB , watch his videos,and read many of the public documents he’s obtained, scroll through his Facebook page, Hick’s Watchdog.
These are links to specific points:
- She tried to trick opponents into being part of a pro-Monica fake documentary: https://youtu.be/GEm32I9-DlA
- She committed to pay for staffing at Union Township’s box but did not: https://youtu.be/VM3f6QviELM
- She edits video and audio to smear people. This shows a great example of what she said and published vs. full and unedited: https://youtu.be/yKpXQ90nBtg
- She promised to release a risk management study and that actual safety testing was imminent in 2016. Neither has happened: https://youtu.be/4fBKYVb2K88
- She disgustingly uses boxed babies in fundraisers: https://youtu.be/WAZUx4PkYhM
- She uses a fear based “dumpster narrative” for fundraising that she admits in false in her own training: https://youtu.be/GEm32I9-DlA
- She encourages ignoring age laws, is ok with sibling separation, and promotes at-home births: https://youtu.be/JOAffyDUqBw
- She smears anyone who tries to regulate safety at boxes: https://youtu.be/YeZogEld–E
- She smears traditional Safe Haven advocates and wants to take over adoptions of boxed babies: https://youtu.be/xcFAlIKS-tE
- She has a crazy messiah complex: https://youtu.be/isY6s1iuXAI
- She has a PSA that encourages young women to (a) hide pregnancy, (b) not tell mom and dad, (c) not tell the father, (d) not get prenatal care, (e) self-deliver, and (d) SLAM THE DOOR: https://youtu.be/CUDLsJq5sz4