A Florida firefighter and his wife spent almost 10 years trying to have a baby. Like many hopeful parents who struggle with infertility or pregnancy loss, this couple probably started 2023 praying this would be the year they’d be blessed with a child.
On Jan. 2, the couple’s road to parenthood took a dramatic and miraculous turn when a baby girl was left in a Safe Haven Baby Box at the Ocala Fire Rescue.
When the alarm went off from the box, Vincent, one of the firefighters on duty during the overnight shift, opened it and found the child inside.
“She had a little bottle with her and she was just chilling,” he toldNBC’s Today. “I picked her up and held her. We locked eyes, and that was it. I’ve loved her ever since that moment.”
After giving the baby girl a checkup a the station, Vincent rode with her to the hospital. Orlando News 6 reported the baby’s umbilical cord had been tied off with a shoelace.
Once at the hospital, Vincent left a note with the baby explaining his and his wife Katy’s desire to have a child and that the state had already registered them to adopt. He hoped it would get to the case worker assigned to the little girl.
It seemed too good to be true.
“It wasn’t real until I got the call I could go in there with her in the NICU,” Katy told Orlando News 6. “We’ve been trying for almost a decade to have a family, and everything has kind of not worked out for us. So we are like, ‘Don’t get our hopes up, don’t get our hopes up.’”
Two days later, little Zoey went home with Vincent and Katy. In April, the couple formally adopted their daughter.
“It’s just been a whirlwind,” Vincent told Good Morning America. “There’s just really no way to describe it. It’s been crazy. Every day, me and my wife still look at each other and just go like, ‘I can’t believe we have a child and I can’t believe our Zoey’s our child and how everything happened.”
All 50 states have safe haven laws protecting mothers and children from unlawful abandonment. However, there are only about 150 Safe Haven Baby Boxes like the one Zoey was left in.
Monica Kelsey, the founder of Safe Haven Baby Boxes, began her mission to work with city emergency officials around the country to help keep children safe.
“We know this baby will be so loved by an adoptive family and we are so thrilled to be a part of protecting infants from abandonment,” Kelsey said in a statement back when Zoey was surrendered in one of the boxes.