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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Newborn left at firehouse with ‘I love you’ note was just adopted

By Sydney Page Washington Post

The day Chris and Brittany Tyler heard the news that a newborn baby was surrendered at a Louisville Fire Department station, they sat by their phones hoping they’d get the call to pick him up.

It was May of 2022, and the Tylers – who struggled with fertility for years – were already experienced foster parents.

“There are so many kids that need a home,” said Brittany Tyler, noting that over the past seven years, she and her husband have fostered 17 children for varying lengths of time.

At the time, the Tylers already adopted two children, and they wanted the baby boy from the firehouse to go to a loving home. They hoped it might be theirs.

“I had assumed since it had been a few days, that they had already found a place for him to go,” Brittany Tyler said.

But four days after the baby was found and taken to a hospital, they got a call asking if they’d be willing to foster him. They happily accepted.

They also learned that the infant’s mother left him with a handwritten note that said: “I love you.”

“She didn’t have to leave a note at all,” said Chris Tyler, 43. “Just that act by itself showed how much she cared about him.”

The boy was just over three pounds, and he stayed in the NICU for several weeks before moving in with the Tylers.

“He was so small and had a feeding tube,” said Brittany Tyler, 37.

Before long, though, the baby was thriving – and enjoying life at his new home. The Tylers named him Samuel, and he officially became their son on Dec. 18, 2023.

“I can’t even really put words behind how exciting it was,” Chris Tyler said.

Samuel, who will turn 2 in May, has developed a tight bond with his older brothers – Judah, 8, and Calvin, 5.

“They are good big brothers to him,” Chris Tyler said. “They love him and they enjoy doting on him.”

“When we first brought him home, they were so excited,” echoed his wife. “It’s really special to bring a new baby home. They were like ‘Can we keep this one?’”

That was always the Tylers’ goal. When a baby is surrendered to a designated safe place in Kentucky – such as a hospital, fire station, place of worship or police station – the process for terminating parental rights begins after 30 days.

Once that period had passed for Samuel, “we knew he wasn’t going anywhere,” Brittany Tyler said.

In December of 2022, Samuel’s birth mother’s parental rights were terminated, paving the path for the Tylers to adopt him. Adoptions take time, the Tylers said, as there is ample paperwork to process, and the couple also had to renew some of their certifications and schedule a court date.

Having Samuel as their son, they said, was well worth the wait.

“Getting the adoption finalized felt really good,” said Brittany Tyler, adding that family and friends came to witness it and celebrate.

“You end up building a bond, and it’s pretty exciting when you know that bond will never be broken,” said Chris Tyler, a project manager at a benefits administration company.

Although Sam was tiny as a baby, he is now in the 80th percentile for size. He is in good health, his parents said, aside from some muscle tightness in his legs – for which he does physical therapy.

Sam’s personality has also blossomed.

“He is hilarious,” Brittany Tyler said. “He loves to play with the big kids. Anything they’re doing, he wants to do it, too.”

Sam will soon have another sibling, the Tylers said, as they are in the process of adopting a medically fragile little girl who they have been fostering for almost a year. She is eight months younger than Sam.

“She needed to be removed from the care that she was in, and unfortunately, there just wasn’t any family that was able to take a child who was medically complex and needs to see a lot of doctors,” said Chris Tyler, explaining that they currently can’t share any more details about the child, including her name.

The Tylers have had training to look after medically complex children – which is what qualified them to care of Sam when he was considered medically fragile as an infant.

Before fostering Sam, “we didn’t know a whole lot about safe haven babies,” Chris Tyler said.

While Sam wasn’t left in a Safe Haven Baby Box – which are drop-off locations that keep surrendered newborns safe – the Tylers hope that sharing his story will help raise awareness about them, as well as designated safe places.

“A lot of people don’t even know that it’s an option,” Brittany Tyler said. “We feel it’s important to get awareness out there.”

“If we can help even one person, then we’re going to continue to share our story,” she added. They were first interviewed by WDRB, a local Louisville station.

The couple also hopes their message reaches Sam’s birth mom. They kept her note, and Brittany Tyler made the baby blanket Sam was found in into a teddy bear.

“While we may never know her, we understand where her heart was,” Chris Tyler said. “She loved him, and for that reason, we have love for her as well.”

“We hope that she knows he is safe, he is happy and he is loved,” Brittany Tyler said.