'Safe Haven' Baby, Now 10, Retraces First Steps

OAK PARK, Ill. (CBS) – Ten years ago, the girl known as “Baby Sunday” was born in the emergency room of West Suburban Hospital and promptly given up by her birth mother under the state’s Safe Haven law.

She didn’t remain unwanted for long.

On Wednesday, the girl now known as Aidan Jane “A.J.” Millar-Nicholson returned to West Suburban. The mere sight of A.J. prompted the nurse who had cared for her, Vilma Duran, to break into a dance.

“She’s so beautiful,” Duran said. “I’m so glad to see her again.”

Aiden Jane visits with nurses at West Suburban Hospital who recalled the day she was brought to the hospital ten years earlier – safely relinquished under Illinois’ Safe Haven law.

A.J. had a heartbreaking smile on her face almost continuously during a meeting with reporters and a tour of the hospital nursery with Duran and adoptive parents Lesley and Lori Millar-Nicholson.

It’s not the first time they had returned to West Suburban with A.J., but the first time, several years ago before moving to the Boston suburb of Sudbury, they decided against going in. This time, all was arranged in advance, with the assistance of Dawn Geras of the Safe Haven Foundation, who said the family has been in the forefront of efforts to promote use of the law by women who give birth and decide they cannot keep the child.

Geras said, since the law was enacted in Illinois in 2001, 120 infants have been given up legally. She said all have been adopted safely. During that same time, she said, 81 other infants were given up illegally; 42 died.

“It makes my heart break for the parents that have needed to use the Safe Haven law, but want to thank them for trusting the law – and to see the end result.” 

– Dawn Geras, Founder, Save Abandoned Babies Foundation

Hospital personnel presented A.J. with an outfit for the doll she cradled in her lap, a water bottle and other gifts. A.J. said that even though she lives now in Boston, when the Red Sox play the Cubs or White Sox, she’s rooting for the Chicago team.