Human Interest

Christmas Blessing: Florida couple adopts newborn surrendered under safe haven law

After waiting on an adoption list for over two years, Philip and Laci Neary received what they’re calling a Christmas miracle — a newborn baby girl.

The Largo, Florida couple told ABC Action News that they received an unexpected phone call last week from their adoption agency, letting them know that an infant had just been surrendered at a hospital.

“They told us they had a baby girl who was safe havened in the hospital,” Laci explained. Laci and Philip accepted the match that day, and two days later they drove to the hospital to meet their newborn, Sarah Beth.

“When I got the phone call, it was like — did this really just happen?” Philip said.

Laci added, “We are just so excited to have her here, and we do feel like she is the biggest Christmas gift we could’ve ever gotten.”

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Philip noted that his life will never be the same after becoming a father. “I am so blessed beyond words. It is a Christmas miracle, it really is,” he said.

Each state has its own Safe Haven Law which allows a parent to surrender a newborn to an approved location, like a hospital, fire station, or police station. The laws were enacted nationwide to prevent tragic infant abandonment. The Florida Safe Haven law allows a parent to surrender a child less than seven days old to a hospital or fully-staffed emergency medical station or fire station. The parent can remain anonymous if he or she chooses.

Thanks to the selfless act of Sarah Beth’s birth parent, the little girl now has a mom and dad who are overjoyed that she is with them.

“I love her,” Laci said. “I can’t imagine my life without her now.”

“I feel like I couldn’t want anything more than this,” she later added. “And it is such a special time of year.”

As for Phillip, he said, “I’m just honored to be a part of her life.”

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