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Firefighter, wife adopt newborn baby he found in Safe Haven Baby Box – NBC 6 South Florida | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey


A Florida firefighter and his wife had been dreaming of a family for years, until one night in January an unexpected surprise changed their lives forever.

Vincent was pulling an overnight shift for Ocala Fire Rescue he was awoken at 2 a.m. by an alarm.

He recognized the sound immediately. A newborn had been placed in the building’s Safe Haven Baby Box, a device that allows someone to safely and anonymously surrender a child — no questions asked.

“To be honest, I thought it was a false alarm,” the father Vincent told TODAY.com. But when he opened the box, he discovered a healthy infant wrapped in a pink blanket.

That baby would become his daughter Zoey.

Zoey is now 5 months old. Courtesy Ocala Fire Rescue Station

“She had a little bottle with her and she was just chilling,” he recalls. “I picked her up and held her. We locked eyes, and that was it. I’ve loved her ever since that moment.”

Vincent and his wife Katy had been struggling for more than a decade to have a baby, and the wheels in his head started turning.

“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 says of his plan. He would go to the hospital with baby, and inquire about adopting her.

At the hospital, Vincent, who is also a paramedic, wrote a note 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 says. “All we needed was a child.”

When the firefighter finally spoke to his wife, she started crying.

“I was like, ‘Don’t get too excited yet,’” he says. “My biggest fear was that the note I wrote wouldn’t stay with Zoey and she’d be gone. It was a very stressful few days.”

Zoey was placed in the station’s Safe Haven Baby Box on Jan. 2. On Jan. 4, she was home with the firefighter and his wife. The couple adopted Zoey in April.

In an interview with TODAY, Katy said the moment the adoption was finalized she finally felt like her family was complete.

“Before we finalized, anything could happen. We’ve had that happen in the past,” she said. “So when that judge said you guys are a family, we just looked at each other and said ‘holy guacamole, we’re a family.’ That was easily the best day of our lives.”

Vincent said it was God who put her in their lives and gave them the opportunity to adopt her because for a long time it felt like it was not meant to be.

“Oftentimes we would feel that way,” Vincent said. “We would get so discouraged.”

The firefighter added he’s sharing the story in hopes that it gives Zoey’s biological mother “some closure.”

“We want her to know that her child is taken care of and that she’s loved beyond words,” he says. One detail he learned later from the hospital is that the baby’s umbilical cord had been tied off with a shoelace.

Baby Zoey as a newborn, shortly after she was left in a Safe Haven Baby Box. Courtesy Ocala Fire Rescue Station

There are 148 Safe Haven Baby Boxes in the United States, and 31 babies have been safely surrendered, according to the organization’s website. The devices are temperature controlled and feature a bassinet-style bed inside, easy for retrieval.

Safe Haven Baby Boxes Founder Monica Kelsey spoke at a press conference in January, the same day that Zoey was surrendered.

“We want to address the parents who legally surrendered this infant. And right now I’m going to talk directly to her or him,” she said, at the time. “Thank you. Thank you for keeping your child safe. Thank you for bringing your child to a place that you knew was going to take care of this child. And thank you for doing what you felt was best.”



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