Excerpts from clickorlando.com:

Six months ago, someone dropped off a newborn baby in Florida’s only Safe Haven box located at Ocala Fire Rescue Station 1. Today, Baby Zoey is a happy and healthy little girl in large part thanks to the Safe Haven Baby Box and the firefighter who opened the box, who would become her adoptive father.

The firefighter stationed at Ocala Fire Rescue headquarters was checking on the climate-controlled box when the alarm went off and discovered the little girl inside with a shoelace tying off her umbilical cord. He and his wife had been trying to start a family for a decade, so after rushing the baby to the hospital, they began the adoption process. Today, they are Zoey’s adoptive parents and have fallen in love with the little girl.

Both adoptive parents said they commend Zoey’s birth mother for her decision.

Monica Kelsey, founder and CEO of Safe Haven Baby Boxes, was abandoned as an infant herself. She brought the baby box to Ocala in 2020 at the request of the mayor, she said, never knowing Zoey would find refuge there but expecting that some baby at some point would.

“We’ve had 10 [babies abandoned in boxes] this year in 2023, this is a record year for us,” Kelsey said. “But it’s working. And this little girl is proof that these boxes are needed in Florida.”

The box is installed in a wall where the public can access it from one side and firefighters are on the other side. The outer door locks from the outside when the door closes and immediately alerts personnel when a baby is placed inside. Zoey was getting medical attention in less than 2 minutes.

Safe Haven Baby Boxes is working on installing a second box in Florida near Gainesville and currently maintains 153 around the country, and will happily install one at any fire station or hospital if requested by a hospital owner or municipality and even has donors willing to pay for it. More information is available on the Safe Haven Baby Box website.

Florida’s Safe Haven law allows a newborn to be dropped off at any fire station or hospital within 7 days anonymously and without prosecution.

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