A newborn baby girl who was found alone crying in the woods has been given the happy ending she deserves after being adopted by a loving couple.
The baby girl, named Angel Grace by Florida’s Polk County Sheriff, Grady Judd, was found and rescued on Jan. 28, 2023. She was discovered alone on a small hill near the Regal Loop Mobile Home Park, wrapped in blankets and still attached to the placenta, after a nearby resident heard her crying in the dead of night and called 911.
“The temperature outside was in the lower 50s, and members of Polk County Fire Rescue checked the girl out and determined that, based on the girl’s temperature, she had been born about an hour before she was found,” Polk County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) shared on Facebook.
The baby was rushed to a local hospital where she was declared healthy and stable. Despite “extensive effort,” to locate her mother, which included using a K-9 unit, drone, aviation unit, bloodhound, and deputies knocking on each door, their efforts were unsuccessful.
“It was by the Grace of God that we found the abandoned baby girl when we did, before exposure to the cold or any animals caused her any harm,” Sheriff Judd said in a statement. “She was left in an extremely vulnerable condition, but she’s a strong little girl, and it looks like she’s doing great.”
Ten months later, on Nov. 29, the baby was officially adopted by a loving couple who chose to remain anonymous but allowed PCSO to share photos of their “Happy Gotcha Day” with all who had followed their adopted daughter’s story and prayed for her wellbeing.
Comments flooded in from well-wishers, with one of Angel Grace’s former nurses, Cecille Bactat, writing on Facebook, “I will never forget her little face in the hospital. ... I prayed with you and will continue to pray for you. God has big plans for your little girl!”
In a press conference in January after Angel Grace’s rescue, Sheriff Judd praised the baby’s powerful lungs for raising the alarm, and hailed the neighbors who heeded her cry for help as “true heroes.” He also reminded all citizens that Florida has a Safe Haven Law, enacted in 2000, which allows any parent to leave an unharmed infant less than 1 week old at any hospital or staffed EMS or fire station anonymously, without fear of prosecution.
“When you think about it,” Sheriff Judd said, “the reason that baby is here is because it was born healthy, and it had a great set of lungs, and there were great people, so all the pieces came together for that child to end up alive, healthy, and well.”