WEST OCALA, Florida (LifeSiteNews) — The first baby to be saved by a Florida safe haven box has now been adopted by the firefighter who found her.
Baby girl Zoey, who was rescued from a Safe Haven baby box in West Ocala, Florida in January, has now been officially adopted by the firefighter who saved her, after he and his wife tried to have a baby for nearly a decade.
“I picked her up and held her. We locked eyes, and that was it. I’ve loved her ever since that moment,” eight-year firefighter Vincent, who asked that his last name be withheld for privacy reasons, told Good Morning America last week.
Vincent was on duty at the fire station when the little girl was dropped off during the early hours of January 2.
“Dispatch called the station stating that the baby box had been activated. I got out of bed, walked over with another firefighter to go check it to see if there was anything in there and when the lights came on and I opened up the back door to the box, Zoey was laying in there,” he recalled.
As a trained paramedic, Vincent immediately started a medical examination on Zoey and called for hospital transport. He then rode in the ambulance with her to a local hospital for a mandatory observation period.
“I handed the baby off to the nurses so they can do all the stuff they do at the hospital and I pulled the doctor aside and I had asked him like, ‘When’s the caseworker gonna get here? Because I would like to adopt her,'” Vincent explained.
Vincent was not able to speak to the caseworker but, at the suggestion of the doctor, he left a note explaining that he and his wife were certified to adopt in Florida. He also revealed that he and his wife, Katy, had been trying unsuccessfully to have children for nearly a decade.
“I didn’t know whether or not the doctor was going to hand my note all the way to the case manager,” Vincent said. “I honestly just really thought that that was gonna be it and we weren’t gonna be able to see her again.”
However, the couple were allowed to welcome the baby girl into their home within a couple of days. Zoey was officially adopted into the family in April.
“It’s just been a whirlwind. 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,'” Vincent said.
Campaign Life Coalition’s Jack Fonseca celebrated the story, telling LifeSiteNews, “This touching story is another testament that life is winning in America!”
“A mother chose life for her baby instead of abortion,” he declared. “But not only that, she helped a childless couple fulfill their dreams of becoming parents. I can identify with the firefighter because my wife and I suffered nine years of repeat miscarriages, infertility and heart-rending childlessness until we were finally able to adopt.”
“I know how painful it is to watch all your friends have children, go to their birthday parties, and all the while, your home feels empty and you’re praying for nothing more than a baby of your own,” he revealed.
“That birth mother answered the couple’s prayers, and I hope she gets to see that firefighter’s story because it’ll affirm for her forever that she did the right thing in choosing life,” he added.
In his interview, Vincent publicly thanked Zoey’s mother for choosing life for her daughter.
“It’s not about me. It’s not about my wife. It’s not about our journey to have kids. It’s not about me being a first responder. It’s about this beautiful little girl who was given the chance of life, and that she’s been adopted, she’s loved and hopefully her birth mother sees it and recognizes that she did the right thing,” Vincent said. “She doesn’t have to worry anymore. Her daughter’s taken care of and is loved beyond words.”
“We’re just so thankful that … she chose to give Zoey a life and that she chose right, for whatever reason, putting her in that box, and that she gave us a family,” he added.
Zoey was the first baby to be placed in the Safe Haven Baby Box since it was installed at the MLK First Responder Campus in West Ocala.
The Safe Haven Baby Box was founded by pro-life activist Monica Kelsey after learning she had been conceived in rape yet her mother chose life.
The boxes are designed for mothers to securely and anonymously deliver babies to a safe place where they will be taken by professionals for care and placement with a willing family. They are equipped with heating, cooling, and a silent alarm for medical attention.
While the exact details vary, each state has a safe haven law under which mothers who have decided they are unwilling or unable to raise their babies can leave them at certain locations, such as fire stations, hospitals, or police stations, without fear of legal punishment. The option undercuts some of the most commonly invoked rationalizations for abortion: the difficulty, expense, and career or educational impact of raising a child.
Fonseca advocated for more safe haven baby boxes to be set up throughout America and especially in Canada, where he revealed “only four such Safe Haven locations exist, with three in Alberta and one in B.C.”
“More are needed in Canada, especially because we’re witnessing an alarming increase in the number of infanticide cases, with newborns being dumped in recycling bins, in garbage dumpsters, and parking lots,” he added.
“Perhaps the knowledge of a Safe Haven baby surrender locations might’ve prevented these tragedies?” Fonseca questioned.
“This is the kind of adoption story that the pro-life movement needs to tell nationwide,” he declared. “I’m convinced that if more young women in crisis pregnancy possess the awareness that they have the power to become an answer to another couple’s prayers, that many more will consider adoption instead of abortion.”