Firefighter & His Wife Adopt Baby Left In Safe-Haven Box After Trying To Become Parents For 10 Years

A baby who was safely surrendered to a Fire Department completed a firefighter's wish for a family.

firefighter, baby hand holding an adult hand Anna Shvets / Pexels

In January 2023, a firefighter in Ocala, Florida was working an overnight shift when his life was forever changed. An alarm sounded at 2 a.m., signaling that a baby had been left in a 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 and his wife adopted the baby left in the Safe Haven Baby Box after trying to become parents for over 10 years.

The anonymous firefighter remembered the moment he found the baby. “She had a little bottle with her and she was just chilling,” he said. “I picked her up and held her. We locked eyes, and that was it. I’ve loved her ever since that moment.”


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He took the baby to the hospital, leaving a note along with her, in which he detailed how deeply he and his wife wanted to be parents. “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. All we needed was a child."


Two days after being left in the Safe Haven Box, the baby went home with the firefighter who found her.

He and his wife officially adopted the baby, named Zoey, in April 2023. He shared Zoey’s story with the world in order to offer closure to the parent who surrendered her to the Safe Haven Box. He explained, “We want her to know that her child is taken care of and that she’s loved beyond words.”

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firefighter and his wife adopt baby put in safe haven boxPhoto: Pixabay / Pexels


TODAY reported that Zoey was the first newborn surrendered to Florida’s sole Safe Haven Baby Box, which was installed in 2020. According to the Safe Haven Baby Boxes website, the devices have a bassinet-style bed for the baby’s safekeeping and are temperature controlled.

The organization’s founder, Monica Kelsey, reported that the moment a baby is surrendered in a Safe Haven Box, the door locks and an immediate signal is sent to the Fire Department. She also estimated that the “average time for babies in our boxes is about a minute and a half.”

During a press conference, Kelsey spoke directly to Zoey’s biological parents, stating, “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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Kelsey acknowledged just how difficult the decision to surrender a baby might be, explaining, “I’m sure this was not an easy option [to] choose, but I want you to know that we’re honoring you today because I hope you find peace in knowing that your child is safe... So know that the process has worked and I want you to find peace in what decision you made.”

firefighter and his wife adopt baby put in safe haven boxPhoto: Josh Willink / Pexels


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The Safe Haven Baby Boxes website reports that there are currently 153 active baby boxes in the United States. Their mission states that their goal is “to prevent illegal abandonment of newborns by raising awareness, offering a 24-hour hotline for mothers in crisis and offering the Safe Haven Baby Boxes as a last resort option for women who want to maintain complete anonymity.”

By offering a multi-pronged support network to parents unable to safely care for their babies, the Safe Haven Baby Boxes organization is providing a crucial service to families while reducing shame and stigma.


The journey that the firefighter and his wife embarked on to become parents shows that families come in many forms. The baby that found her way into his arms needed him just as much as he needed her, making their family complete.

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers parenting issues, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.