For the past eight years, Linda Znachko has dedicated her life to making sure every child in Central Indiana has a name in life and dignity in death. Through He Knows Your Name ministries, Znachko provides headstones, burial services and bereavement services to abandoned babies and families that are unable to afford the costs of a funeral. For several years, Znachko and a private family foundation funded the ministry, but now He Knows Your Name partners with local organizations and businesses.
It all began in 2014, when Znachko buried a baby found abandoned in Eagle Creek Park and named her Amelia. Znachko soon became an advocate for the Safe Haven Law, which allows parents to surrender a baby of up to 30 days old at hospitals, police departments and fire stations. Legislation was just passed in the state of Indiana for the use of Safe Haven Baby Boxes; the logo on these boxes features Amelia’s footprint, and her story is featured in a Russian documentary.
“When I asked them who in Russia was going to see this, they said 95 percent of the country,” Znachko said. “So my baby Amelia that was thrown away, that I claimed and named, now has purpose in her life and is teaching the country of Russia how to treat abandonment and how to have laws in place to take care of babies.”
He Knows Your Name also provides Cuddle Cots to hospitals, a cooling device for babies that are stillborn which gives families more time with their baby while the mother is recovering in the hospital. Indiana now has eleven Cuddle Cots, more than any other state in the country.
The work of He Knows Your Name led Znachko to run swim lessons for children in Douglass Park in honor of Tim Bray, a 13-year-old boy that drowned there because he did not know how to swim. She met Tim’s mother after his death and learned that the family couldn’t afford a headstone. After Znachko covered the cost of the headstone, she and Tim’s mother continued a conversation about Tim’s legacy and developed the swim program, which continues six years later.
As an advocate for children and their place in this world, Znachko shares her story in her award-winning book He Knows Your Name. She hopes it inspires others to protect and love the littlest members of our community.