A baby who was abandoned on the side of the road at the beginning of the year is getting a permanent home for the holidays.
A couple in Florida officially adopted their daughter on Wednesday, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Office.
"A happy ending that leads to a happy beginning," PCSO posted in a Facebook announcement of the adoption.
PCSO officers rescued the baby in Mulberry nearly one year ago on Jan. 28, 2023, at about 1:47 a.m. Temperatures were in the lower 50s.
The baby girl was found wrapped in a blanket with her placenta still attached. Based on her temperature, rescuers believed she was about one hour old when she was found.
The newborn was transported to a local hospital where she was deemed healthy and stable.
Police had responded to a call from a nearby resident who had heard the infant's cries.
"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. She was left in an extremely vulnerable condition, but she's a strong little girl, and it looks like she's doing great," Sheriff Grady Judd had said when the baby was rescued.
Extensive efforts were made to identify the baby's birth mother, but she was never found.
"A K-9 unit, drone, aviation unit, and bloodhound were used in the search. Deputies also began going door-to-door," police said in a press release.
The couple who adopted the little girl did not wish to publish their names, but did permit the sheriff's office to share their photos to thank "everyone who followed this child’s story and prayed for her well-being," police said. The post garnered hundreds of messages of support and well wishes.
Florida's Safe Haven law, which went into effect in 2000, allows parents to leave their unharmed newborn child (under a week old) at any Safe Haven facility — which are hospitals or properly staffed fire stations — anonymously without facing prosecution.
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