More than 1,000 people have sought to adopt a newborn baby girl found dumped in a plastic grocery bag in Forsyth County, Georgia, earlier this month even as authorities continue a search for the child’s birth mother.
“It’s amazing the number of people who are looking to take on a new life into their families and we got somebody who tried to throw one away,” Forsyth County Sheriff Ron Freeman told the "Today" show.
Alan Ragatz and his three teenage daughters found the little girl — unofficially called Baby India — in a wooded area near their Forsyth County home around 10 p.m. on June 6. They told WSB-TV 2 that they believe God put them in the right place at the right time.
The sisters recalled that on the night they found baby India they initially heard a strange cry from the woods.
“(We) grabbed our flashlights and we're driving around and we're, like, ‘That doesn't sound like an animal,’” Kayla Ragatz told the network.
The girls then went home and told their father they thought they heard a baby crying but he was skeptical at first.
“I said, ‘That's got to be impossible. It's a baby raccoon, deer or something,’" he said.
But they decided to follow the sound of the crying and eventually found Baby India inside the plastic grocery bag in a pile of leaves, sticks, and a bath mat. The child’s dramatic rescue was caught on video.
“We went down, pulled it up. There was a poor little baby wrapped in a plastic bag, and we called 911,” Alan Ragatz said. “She was alive. She was crying, so we figured that was a good sign. Could have been worse. The credit goes to my girls. They were the ones sticking with it.”
Freeman noted in that report that: "It is, without doubt, divine intervention that this child was found. If it wasn't for these citizens, we would be having a different conversation.”
Since she was found, Tom Rawlings, director of the state Division of Family and Children Services, told Fox 8 that Baby India is in a “wonderful protective home right now.”
“She’s gaining weight and smiling a lot. She’s an easy baby who loves to be held and sung to, and she’s overall thriving now,” Rawlings said.
He further noted that while his agency is normally bound by confidentiality rules, Baby India’s nickname was created to protect her long-term privacy.
“Once a forever home is found for her, she will have the opportunity to grow up under any name given to her by her adoptive parents,” he said.
He further explained that while it is not uncommon for babies to be abandoned, Baby India’s story “is notable because a miracle has come out of it.”
“Too often, babies are abandoned in terrible conditions like this. We’ve had babies left in bathrooms and other horrible situations,” Rawlings said.
“None of this is necessary. There are good options, wonderful options,” he explained.
Georgia’s Safe Haven law allows a woman unable to care for her child to anonymously leave her child at a police station, a fire station, or a hospital up to 30 days after birth. Similar laws are in place in all 50 states, Rawlings said.
Police continue to search for Baby India’s family. The child appears to be “Caucasian or Hispanic.”
Anyone with any information on Baby India is urged to call the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office at 770-781-3087.