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Couple adopts foster son surrendered at fire station as a newborn

Now a toddler, Samuel fittingly loves firefighters. After being adopted, he got a firefighter bear from Build-A-Bear.
Samuel, who was surrendered at fire station, being held by a firefighter.
Posted at 5:06 PM, Jan 31, 2024

It was 8 a.m. on May 12, 2022, when she rang the doorbell. Before the firefighters at the Louisville, Kentucky, fire station could answer the door, she was gone.

But what she left behind was miraculous: There, in a box, was a tiny newborn baby, so small he weighed only 3 pounds. He was alone, save for a note that the mother left with him.

The firefighters quickly brought the baby to a local children’s hospital. It wasn’t long before the story of little Samuel hit the news.

When the news broke, foster parents Chris and Brittany Tyler read the story with interest. They were already the proud parents of two adopted children, but something about baby Samuel’s story moved them. The couple prayed that they could invite him into their loving home.

They didn’t have to wait long for their prayers to be answered. The phone rang just a few days later with a simple request: Could they foster Samuel when he was ready to leave the hospital?

“He was in the NICU for a couple of weeks before he was ready to come home [because] he was so small,” Brittany Tyler told Good Morning America. “And we were able to visit him in the NICU that entire time.”

Samuel left the hospital in June 2022. The Tylers brought him home, where he was greeted by their two adopted children and another baby the family was fostering. Immediately, he became part of the family.

“The other kids absolutely loved him,” Brittany said. “We had another foster baby at the time who was only a few months older, and they became buddies right away.”

Now, almost two years after he was first surrendered at the fire station, proud parents Brittany and Chris Tyler can officially call Samuel their very own.

Photographer Heather Shay captured the memorable moment and shared the images on Facebook:

Samuel’s biological mother is not known, nor is she guilty of any wrongdoing. Under the Kentucky Safe Infants Act, parents can leave their unharmed babies at a designated safe place for up to three days after their birth. Every state in America has similar Safe Haven Acts (also known as “Baby Moses” laws), with some states allowing up to 90 days for infant relinquishment.

Thirty-five infants have been safely surrendered in Safe Haven boxes since 2017.

Located at hospitals and fire stations, these boxes are temperature-controlled and rigged with an alarm that will alert staff that a baby has been placed inside. Mothers can call or text the Safe Haven hotline at 866-99BABY1 for 24-hour assistance.

Since Samuel was surrendered under the Safe Haven Act, the Tylers knew they had a chance to adopt him. They spent the next two years going through the legal process, and on Dec. 18 of last year, Samuel was officially adopted.

After the ceremony, Samuel and his family went to Build-A-Bear. There, Samuel made a firefighter bear — fittingly, the toddler loves firefighters.

“It’s an imperfect world, and we don’t have perfect solutions for every situation, but this is another option for a mom,”  Lt. Col. Bobby Cooper, assistant chief for the Louisville Fire Department, told GMA. “If a mom finds herself in a crisis situation and needs a haven for an infant, this is another resource that’s available.”

The Tylers say that they will always make sure Samuel knows that his biological mother loved him and that she chose to surrender him to provide the best possible life for him. Shay also captured beautiful photos of Samuel as a newborn, which she shared on Facebook.

“We really want to let him know that somebody loved him even though they weren’t going to be with him for his whole life,” Chris Tyler said. “That [his biological mom] loved him and wanted the best for him, and she trusted that he would go to a good place, and we’re thankful to God that he came to us.”

The Tylers hope that their story serves as not only a testimony to the importance of Safe Haven laws, but also to the importance of fostering and adoption.

This story was originally published by Bridget Sharkey at Simplemost.