A Florida firefighter and his wife are celebrating their “miracle” adoption.
In early January, Vincent was working an overnight shift in Ocala when little Zoey was placed in the Safe Haven Baby Box, “a device that legally permits a mother in crisis to safely, securely, and anonymously surrender a newborn who cannot be cared for.”
The firefighter recalled the moment he heard the alarm sound for the baby box at 2 a.m., which he thought was a false alarm at first until he opened it and saw the precious girl staring up at him.
“I picked her up. She wasn’t crying,” he told TODAY. “That was it. I was in love with her.”
He and his wife, Katie, were registered to adopt in the Sunshine State and had been struggling to have a child of their own for nearly 10 years.
So when he called his wife after he accompanied the baby to the hospital and left a note explaining their intent to adopt her, she burst into tears.
“I was like, ‘Don’t get too excited yet,” Vincent told TODAY. “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.”
Two days after Zoey arrived in the hospital on Jan. 2, she was home with the couple, but the adoption wasn’t official until April.
“Before you finalize, anything can happen, and we’d experienced that in the past. So when the judge said, ‘You guys are a family,’ we kind of looked at each other and we’re like, ‘We’re a family! Holy guacamole, we’re a family!’” Katie said. “So that was easily the best day of our lives.”
Zoey was the first baby placed in the Ocala box, which was also Florida’s first safe haven drop box installed in 2020. There are 148 Safe Haven Baby Boxes across the country, and 31 babies have been safely surrendered, according to the organization’s website.
“It’s a gift from God. That’s all it is. There’s nothing else to explain it,” Vincent told TODAY.
Zoey is now six months old.
The couple decided to publicly share their story to let the birth mother know her child is safe, healthy, and happy.
“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 explained. “She doesn’t have to worry anymore. Her daughter’s taken care of and is loved beyond words.”
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