Baby found once, but where is he now?
--Fauquier Times Staff Photo/Randy Litzinger
Maurice Heflin had no plans to visit his childhood church that evening, nor did anyone else. But Heflin did stop by the church and he found a 12-pound baby wearing only a diaper lying face down on the steps; his lower half on his thin blue blanket, his chest on the cold brick steps that were peppered with gravel.
It was Jan. 28, 1992 and the temperature was below freezing.
"It was cold as the devil that day," remembers Heflin, the man responsible for saving the life of the baby – now a 22 year old man who can breathe, walk around, and simply enjoy life, wherever he may be.
"It was my understanding there was supposed to have been a choir practice at the church that night, but it had been canceled. So it makes me think someone in the community may have placed the infant there thinking some of the church members would soon find him," Heflin said.
Grace United Methodist Church is set deep in the woods near Midland, with very few neighbors. One of those neighbors was William Smith, one of Heflin's oldest friends. Heflin decided to stop by his friend's house that evening to break up a long commute.
"It was a Wednesday evening at about 4:30," said Heflin. "I pulled up to the driveway where he had a gate. He would come down and open it because he had a very large Rottweiler dog that he would have to tie up before I could go up his gated driveway to visit him."
"While sitting there I kept thinking I heard a baby crying but could not see where it may be coming from. After a few minutes [Smith] came down after securing his dog and I told him about the sounds of a baby crying. About that time he heard it as well," Heflin said. The two men walked over to the church, which was about 100 yards away.
"Here was this little infant laying on top of a blue baby blanket with nothing but a disposable diaper on. . . and the sun was at treetop level about to set," Heflin said.
"The poor little guy was purple laying face down and we grabbed him up and took him over to [Smith's] house," he said. With the help of Smith's wife Peggy, the group brought the baby into the warm house and worked anxiously to warm him. The delicate baby began to come around.
"The baby reached out and grabbed her finger," Heflin remembers.
Meanwhile, they had placed a call to the sheriff's office, and the rescue squad arrived shortly thereafter. Though Heflin's time with the baby was brief, it was the difference between the infant growing into a 22 year old man, or fading away before dawn.
"I never really heard anything else about where or what agency was involved or where the child went to," said Heflin. "The only thing I ever heard was that there were a hundred or more people who were trying to adopt him.
"I had always thought it would be neat to one day see him, although I would probably be a bit nervous on that day. There is probably a heavy burden that has been carried by the mother who placed her baby on those steps that day. It would also be a wonderful thing to perhaps see the mother and child make a connection again one day as well," Heflin said. He often wonders about the outcome of the blue-eyed newborn, who the hospital confirmed to be just five to seven days old.
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