Six months ago, a Florida firefighter opened the Safe Haven Baby Box at his fire station to discover a tiny pink bundle looking back at him.
“She had a little bottle with her and she was just chilling,” the firefighter, who chose to keep his identity anonymous, told TODAY.com in an interview this week. “I picked her up and held her. We locked eyes, and that was it. I’ve loved her ever since that moment.”
The Ocala firefighter brought the baby to an Ocala hospital after she was left inside the box, which was established to allow the safe and anonymous surrender of a child.
But when he left the baby at the hospital, he attached a note that changed the course of his family’s life.
“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 told TODAY.com. “All we needed was a child.”
Two days later, on January 4, 2023, the little pink bundle named Zoey went home with the firefighter who rescued her—and in April, he and his wife adopted her.
“The way I found her . . . this was God helping us out,” he said, telling the news outlet it’s hard not to cry when it talks about the way Zoey came into the couple’s life.
Now, he’s sharing their happy story to give their daughter’s birth mother—who they know nothing about—some closure. “We want her to know that her child is taken care of and that she’s loved beyond words,” he said.
Safe Haven Baby Boxes were created in 2015 by Monica Kelsey, “to give mothers/parents a safe and legal option to surrender their baby 100% anonymously. Safe Haven Baby Boxes mission is to prevent illegal abandonment of newborns by raising awareness, and offering a 24-hour hotline for mothers in crisis.” There are nearly 150 of the temperature-controlled devices around the United States, and according to its official website, 31 babies have been surrendered to-date.
The box at the Ocala fire station was installed in December 2020, and is the only one of its kind in the state of Florida. Zoey is the first baby to have been surrendered at the Ocala Safe Haven Baby Box.