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Baby's case is still under investigation, but in the mean time, thousands of other children need emergency placement and adoptive parents

A church van driver from Ada spotted and rescued this baby in a car seat by the side of Interstate 40 on Saturday afternoon. 

A church van driver from Ada spotted and rescued this baby in a car seat by the side of Interstate 40 on Saturday afternoon. 

The story of a baby found abandoned along Interstate 40 in eastern Oklahoma City has prompted dozens of emails and calls from people who want to adopt the child.

The boy had a Social Security card, birth certificate and $5,500 cash with him in his car seat when spotted on the shoulder of the highway just before 4 p.m. Saturday by Roger Prater, a driver for the Ada-based Abba's House Worship Center.

"His story has so touched their hearts that they want to do something," said Sheree Powell, Department of Human Services spokeswoman. "They want to get involved and help."

Finding a baby along the side of the highway is "highly unusual,'' Powell said, "but children come into our care every single day on an emergency basis."

While Powell couldn't comment on the specifics of the baby found near I-40, she said he is safe and healthy.

In a case like his, DHS workers would try to find extended family, close family friends or someone in the community who knows the family or child well. But in some cases, none of those options are available, she said. In those cases, children are placed in foster homes and could be placed for adoption.

There are about 9,500 children in state custody, she said, and the need for both foster and adoptive parents is ongoing.

The baby's mother was found through her relatives in Texas and taken to a hospital for observation, while the case has been assigned to a detective and remains under investigation, said Capt. Bo Mathews, a spokesman for the Oklahoma City Police Department.

"More than likely, they're not going to file charges," Mathews said.

Powell said the jurisdiction of the baby's case could change.

The 911 call

In a 911 call obtained by The Oklahoman, Prater, the driver, told dispatchers the church group was returning to Ada from Frontier City when "I saw something out of the corner of my eye on the highway and I was like, ‘That looks like a baby.'

"So I pulled over, backed up. There's a baby here in a carrier,” Prater said to a dispatcher after finding the baby near Interstate 40 and Triple X Road.

The child, whom Prater estimated was about 3 months old, was taken to OU Medical Center, where he was reported to be “completely healthy."

Oklahoma is among the states with a safe haven law, but it only applies to infants up to seven days old.

Under the statute, parents can leave infants up to seven days old with "a medical services provider," such as a physician assistant, nurse or nurse practitioner, or at a police station, fire station, child protective services agency, hospital or other medical facility.

Parents who follow the provisions of the law will not be prosecuted.

To learn more

For more information on how to become a foster or adoptive parent, visit www.okfosters.org.

 

Juliana Keeping

Juliana Keeping is on the enterprise reporting team for The Oklahoman and NewsOK.com. Keeping joined the staff of The Oklahoman in 2012. Prior to that time, she worked in the Chicago media at the SouthtownStar, winning a Peter Lisagor Award... Read more ›

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