When a US firefighter answered an alarm from within his own station, he could never have predicted the outcome.
The man – who has chosen to remain anonymous – was working an overnight shift at his Florida station, Ocala Fire Rescue Station 1, when he was woken around 2am on January 2 by the noise.
He recognised it straightaway as the alarm designed to notify first responders that a baby had been placed in their station’s Safe Haven Baby Box – a drop-off point specifically designed to allow someone to both safely and anonymously surrender a child.
But as he confessed to Today, he “thought it was a false alarm” until he opened the box and discovered who was inside: a healthy baby girl swaddled in a pink blanket.
“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.”
And he meant every word of it, with he and his wife going on to welcome her into their family, and to adopt her as their own.
According to the firefighter, who is also a trained paramedic, he and his wife had been having trouble conceiving for more than a decade, and immediately he had started connecting the pieces.
However, he hadn’t called his wife the second he found their future-daughter, hoping to avoid waking her, but that he’d known “she’d be on board” with his plan to take the baby to the hospital and ask about the likelihood of adopting her.
He’d then gone through with that plan, writing a note to leave with the baby that “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.”
It was then that he got in touch with his wife, filling her in on what had transpired that evening, and requesting that she not get too excited, as he himself was afraid the note might have been separated from the baby, and that “she’d be gone.”
The days to follow were stressful for the hopeful couple, but just two days later on January 4, their dreams came true, and baby Zoey went home with her forever family.
Three months later, they adopted her.
The firefighter revealed that it was difficult not to become emotional when sharing their stories, and that he believed a higher power had been “helping us out” with the way she’d come into their lives.
And as for why they’d chosen to share their story, he said it was in the hope that it would give young Zoey’s biological mother “some closure”, as they just wanted her to know that Zoey was “taken care of and that she’s loved beyond words.”
Images: CBS News
This article first appeared on Over60.