Safe Haven Baby Boxes | Inset: Ocala Fire Rescue

The family of the first newborn rescued by a Florida Safe Haven Drop Box has shared their miraculous story of adoption with the world. The firefighter, who has only revealed himself by his first name, Vincent, was working at the Ocala Fire Rescue on January 2nd when he heard the silent alarm go off for the Safe Haven box that had been installed at the firehouse two years earlier. “To be honest, I thought it was a false alarm,” Vincent recalled of the incident. But he found that baby safe and snug inside. “I picked her up and held her. We locked eyes, and that was it. I’ve loved her ever since that moment,” he said. Vincent and his wife, Katie, had been struggling for a decade to have a baby and were registered to adopt in the state of Florida. 

Vincent went with the baby to the hospital for a mandatory examination and left a note with her for the doctors, describing his hope to adopt her. Katie burst into tears after Vincent called her to tell her of the incident. “I was like, ‘Don’t get too excited yet. 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,” Vincent told “Today.” The baby, now named Zoey, came to live with the couple two days later. Her adoption was finalized in April. “God definitely put her in our lives and gave us the opportunity to adopt her,” said Vincent.

The couple states they were sharing their story to bring awareness to the boxes and to let Zoey’s birth mother know she is okay. “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. She doesn’t have to worry anymore. Her daughter’s taken care of and is loved beyond words,” said Vincent. Monica Kelsey, who founded the Safe Haven Boxes, had equal praise for Zoey’s family in January when she was first found. “We want to address the parents who legally surrendered this infant. And right now, I’m going to talk directly to her or him. 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.” There are nearly 150 Safe Haven Boxes throughout the US, with 31 babies having been surrendered safely. The box at Ocala is currently the only box in the state of Florida. “It’s a gift from God, that’s all it is,” said Vincent. “There’s nothing else to explain it.” 

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