Baby Chloe lucky to be alive after being abandoned

CPS: Parents struggling with newborns have safe options

By Joel Eisenbaum - Investigative Reporter
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HOUSTON - The newborn found abandoned outside of a Cypress, Texas, apartment complex February 19, is doing well in foster care, a representative with Child Protective Services said.

"Chloe" is one of 59 babies who were abandoned in and around Houston since Dec. 23, 1998, according to state records obtained by Local 2.

Forty-seven of those babies have survived and been adopted.

"Some of them were, luckily, found on time. Some of them, unfortunately, not found on time," Estella Olguin with CPS in Houston said.

Chloe, born slightly premature baby, is on track for success according to Olguin.

"We've had calls from London, calls from the military, we've taken calls from Afghanistan," Olguin said of the interest hundreds of families have shown in adopting Chloe.

There are still several legal obstacles before Chloe can be legally adopted, but she is on a fast track and could be available for adoption in a few months.

First, a judge will have to formally sever her connection to her unknown parents, a necessary formality, Olguin said.

Chloe's case, as the numbers show, is rare but not unheard of.

"Sixteen years ago, my daughter was abandoned," said a woman who agreed to speak to Local 2 on condition of anonymity.

The Brazoria County mother adopted another high-profile abandoned girl in 1997. Her legally-adopted daughter is now a sophomore in high school doing well.

"It still breaks my heart to see these cases," the woman said referring to the Chloe case. "There are homes for these kids, homes for them. There is no reason to leave them in a field or throw them away."

The woman's daughter was found abandoned in an Alvin Post Office in February 1997.

"At least she was out of the elements,"

Her daughter's biological parents were never located and the girl has yet to ask about her history.

"She knows she's adopted, but she leaves it at that for now. If she ever asks I will tell her."

There are plenty of resources for parents who believe they do not have anywhere to turn. The Texas Safe Haven Law website is a good place to start. There is even a baby abandonment hotline for parents who have questions about the correct procedure, and locations for so-called "safe haven sites."

Passed in 1999, and groundbreaking at the time, The Texas Safe Haven, or Baby Moses Law, has saved the lives of dozens of children in the Houston area, Olguin said.

In a nutshell, the law allows for anyone to drop off a newborn (less than 60 days old) at designated "safe havens," most often fire stations and hospitals.

"You don't want to leave it up to chance that someone is going to find your baby in time," Olguin said.

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