'I picked her up and held her. We locked eyes, and that was it. I’ve loved her ever since that moment,' said the firefighter.
It is not every day that one finds something in a box that one had been deeply desiring. That's what happened to a firefighter who hails from Ocala in Florida. It was just like any other night shift for this firefighter but at 2 am on January 2, he was woken up by an alarm. He knew what the sound was for and went to check the building's Safe Haven Baby Box and it had a newborn in it. It is basically a device that allows someone to safely and anonymously give away a child, as reported by TODAY.
The firefighter first thought it was "a false alarm " but once he opened the box, he found a healthy child wrapped in a pink blanket. It was a kid who he would eventually go on to adopt and name her Zoey. Recalling that day, he said that she had a little bottle with her and she was just chilling. “I picked her up and held her. We locked eyes, and that was it. I’ve loved her ever since that moment.” He and his wife had been trying to have a child for more than a decade and finding a kid in the box really made him want to adopt her.
"I didn't call my wife right away because I didn't want to wake her up, but I knew she'd be on board," he shared. He went to the hospital and checked about adopting the kid. At the hospital, the firefighter, who also happens to be a paramedic, wrote a letter and left it with Zoey. “I explained that my wife and I had been trying for 10 years to have a baby. I told them we’d completed all of our classes in the state of Florida and were registered to adopt,” he said. "All we needed was a child."
When the firefighter finally got a chance to talk to his wife, she started crying. However, he didn't want to get her hopes high. “I was like, ‘Don’t get too excited yet,’” he said. “My biggest fear was that the note I wrote wouldn’t stay with Zoey and she’d be gone. Those were very stressful few days.” Fortunately, the firefighter and his wife got to bring the child home on January 4, 2023, and they adopted Zoey in April. “The way I found her... This was God helping us out,” he expressed. He added that it is difficult to not get emotional while sharing the story. The man said that he wanted to talk about it to give "some closure" to Zoey's biological mother. “We want her to know that her child is taken care of and that she’s loved beyond words,” he said. He got to know later from the hospital that the baby's umbilical cord had been tied off with a shoelace.
The Safe Haven Baby Boxes are basically found at fire stations EMS locations, and hospitals. The aim of the project is to prevent abandoning newborn babies in dumpsters or abandoned outdoors. According to the organization's website, about 31 babies have been safely surrendered and in total, there are about 148 safe baby boxes in the United States. The founder of the project, Monica Kelsey hopes that one day, they will be able to eliminate illegal infant abandonment across the US and around the world, reports Motherly.