"We are so happy to have him officially adopted and know that he is a part of our family forever," Brittany Tyler tells PEOPLE of son Samuel
A newborn baby who was surrendered at a Kentucky fire station about two years ago has now been officially adopted by his foster family.
Samuel was only a few days old in May 2022 when he arrived at the Louisville Fire Department in a box accompanied by a note from his biological mother, according to Good Morning America and NBC affiliate WAVE.
The previous year, Gov. Andy Beshear signed legislation that enabled children under 30 days old to be surrendered in a “newborn safety device.” The law also designated all hospitals, fire stations and police stations as locations for the baby boxes.
Today, Samuel, now a toddler, is doing great, according to Brittany and Chris Tyler.
"He has grown into a very happy loving little boy," Brittany tells PEOPLE in a statement on Monday. "He is learning new things every day and I’m so excited to continue watching him grow and learn. We are so happy to have him officially adopted and know that he is a part of our family forever."
The Tylers, who decided to become foster parents after struggling with infertility, first heard about Samuel's story in the news.
"When the article came out that a baby was surrendered at a local fire station," Brittany tells PEOPLE, "I told Chris about it and prayed all weekend that we would be chosen as the foster parents to care for him and when we got that call we were so excited and couldn’t wait to meet him. He was an answered prayer."
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Not long after the phone call, the couple — who are also the parents to two young sons, whom they also adopted — were at a local hospital's neonatal unit holding Samuel. At the time, Samuel weighed 3 lbs., according to Brittany.
"He was in the NICU for a couple of weeks before he was ready to come home [because] he was so small," she told GMA. “He was in the NICU for a couple of weeks before he was ready to come home [because] he was so small.”
After his time at the NICU, Samuel spent the next 581 days under the foster care of the Tylers until they adopted him last month.
"We knew [the adoption] would eventually happen but waiting for it was really taxing at times," Chris tells PEOPLE. "But it has made it much sweeter now that it has finally come. We’re so excited to see what he will grow to enjoy and do and we want to encourage his talents a desires. We’ve had him in swimming lessons since he was just six months of age and we will do other sports and activities as he grows to see what he’s interested in the most."
Following Samuel's adoption, the family celebrated the occasion with a visit to Build-a-Bear, where their son made a firefighter bear in honor of the special role the local fire station has played in his life.
The family still visits the fire station where Samuel was surrendered, and they even celebrated his first birthday there. "Samuel has touched the hearts of the firemen he was left with," Chris tells PEOPLE. "The nurses who cared for him, the social workers that managed his case, and also the judge who granted his adoption. Samuel has been loved from the very start and every single person that has been part of this story. I hope that this story will be duplicated time and time again should other mothers feel that surrendering their babies is the right thing for them to do."
The couple have also praised Samuel's biological mother for making what must have been a very difficult decision.
"We want his birth mom to know that we are so grateful for her and we will tell Sam how much she loved him," Brittany tells PEOPLE. "We may never get to meet her but she will always be a big part of his story. She wrapped him in a blanket and put him in a shoebox with a note saying she loved him and took him to the fire station. We have kept those items for him to have when he’s older."
"We will continue to share his story to raise awareness of the safe haven laws," she continues, "so other moms know they have that option if needed and also in the hopes his mom sees it and knows he is safe and loved."
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