Firefighters are used to dealing with the extraordinary. The unpredictable nature of their jobs means that they always need to prepare for every scenario.
But firefighters at the Station 75 Fire Department in Santa Ana, California never could have imagined what would arrive on their doorstep – quite literally – in March 2015.
A young woman arrived at the station with a newborn baby. She explained to the firefighters that she needed to give her up. Having given birth to her yesterday, she said that the baby was only 15 hours old.
While this may seem like an odd request, California’s Safe Surrender law allows for anyone to give up a child to an authority – firefighters included – within the first two weeks of its life, with no questions asked.
Safe Surrender is often not considered by panicked new moms, who will unfortunately go to desperate measures to part with their child if they’re in a dangerous or unstable situation.
It can, in many cases, save a child’s life – which is exactly what it did this time around. Firefighters Michael DeLeon, Daryll Milliot, Shawn Stacy and Tyler Green took the baby from the young woman, and she left.
The men did their best to look after the newborn until help arrived. Nobody knows the fate that may have awaited the little girl had she remained with her mom, but there was no denying that she was in a safe place now.
Nine months later marked a very special day for the four firefighters involved in looking after the newborn. The little girl returned to the station by her new adopted mom and dad for a reunion.
In an interview with CBS2, Fire Captain Paramedic Daryl Milliot talked of the moment he first held the 6-pound baby, now named Naomi, in his arms, recalling:
“This is so unique and rare, and something that I never thought I’d do.”
According to Milliot, the mom, who had been in her twenties, had found it difficult to let go of the child, and had “wanted just a few months longer to hold her.”
In the months after the Safe Surrender, the firefighters became a part of little Naomi’s life, even attending her adoption ceremony. All firefighters were proud to have been a part of the unique “rescue”, and Fire Authority Engineer Michael DeLeon said that attending the adoption ceremony was one of the highlights of his career.
“I mean, going to that ceremony and getting to see her again, because, you know, when it happens, you don’t know what’s going to happen to the baby, really.”
Baby Naomi is now in a safe and caring environment with her new family. Kristin and Kurt Schneider, her adopted parents, had always intended to adopt rather than have their own kids. Naomi has an adopted brother, 1-year-old Juda, to keep her entertained as she grows up.
Most importantly, Naomi’s mom says that her story won’t be hidden from her. She’ll always know how she came to be a part of her family, and the unique situation that led her to be here today.
“It really is a great opportunity for us to tell her about her mom and what a courageous thing she did.”
You can learn more about Naomi’s remarkable beginning and happy ending in the video below.
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