As a seasoned policeman, Michael Buelna had saved lives before. It was part of his job, after all, and because he protected one of the country’s more dangerous cities, he frequently flexed his heroism muscle.
But on a chilly autumn night, he leaped into action to carry out a different kind of rescue mission, one that would stay with him forever. And, decades later, an unexpected phone call brought the case back into his life with an intensity he never saw coming…
In 1989, officer Michael Buelna cruised into one of the rougher neighborhoods of Santa Ana, California. He was performing a routine scan of the area after a stabbing, but the humdrum case took a turn when locals waved him towards an alley.
Michael didn’t see anything out of the ordinary at first, but he picked up on “a sound of a very low meow, like a cat or something.” He followed the noise to its source, between a dumpster and a wall. Michael could hardly believe his eyes.
It was a wailing infant, lying face down and exposed on the asphalt. To his horror, Michael noticed the umbilical cord was still attached. Thinking quickly, Michael radioed for immediate medical assistance.
The discovery shook Michael to the extent that he wasn’t willing to simply hand over the baby to the EMTs. Instead, he rode in the ambulance while a police escort guided them to the hospital as quickly as possible.
Fortunately, Michael acted in the nick of time. Although the newborn was suffering from hypothermia, the medical team expected him to make a full recovery. But there were still unanswered questions.
A nurse turned to Michael and mentioned the baby, only a few hours old, needed a name. After conferring, they settled on Adam. It was somehow appropriate for this miracle infant that seemingly popped up out of nowhere.
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Michael and Adam shared a tender moment together that night in the hospital, but the police officer soon had to head out and resume his duties. So what would happen to Baby Adam?
Even though the local news publicized the incredible baby rescue, authorities were unable to locate a responsible family member to raise Adam. Like so many other abandoned children, he was put up for adoption.
Before too long, however, the infant’s luck turned around. Elizabeth Barton and Daniel Fernandez — top candidates among couples looking to adopt — took him in as part of their family. Once they brought him home, they bestowed him with a new name: Robin Barton.
Although Robin spent the first few hours of his existence scared and alone, Elizabeth and Daniel made sure he never felt abandoned again. Looking back, Robin agreed that some higher power had blessed him with a great family.
Through all his blissful childhood years, Robin did not have the faintest idea about his miraculous rescue. Elizabeth and Daniel kept his origins a secret so Robin could be a normal kid. But as he got older, he started asking questions.
Facebook / Robin Barton
Once Robin reached maturity, Elizabeth understood it was time to share the whole story with him. She told him everything about the adoption and the brave police officer who saved him, even though she feared this revelation would shatter their family.
But Robin didn’t show any resentment or anger. He was nothing but grateful that Daniel and Elizabeth gave him such a wonderful family, though he proposed one interesting idea. Robin wanted to meet the policeman who found him in the alley.
Meanwhile, Michael Buelna served with the Santa Ana police until he stepped down in his 50s. Michael enjoyed his retirement, though his thoughts often turned back to that infant he discovered years ago. One day in 2015, a call came in from a member of his old force.
The officer asked if Michael remembered Adam. Of course, he did. But what the retir-ed officer didn’t see coming was the invitation to meet with Adam — now Robin — for the first time in 25 years. How could he say no?
When the two men first came face-to-face, they didn’t know quite what to say. There was nothing that could be said. They just embraced. Then, Michael dropped a bombshell.
Michael explained why he felt so motivated to ensure that Robin would survive: it turns out that Michael’s own parents left him at a young age! Based on his own hardships, he couldn’t bear to see another child grow up without a family. And as a matter of fact, Robin’s family was about to get a whole lot bigger.
Robin’s reunion with Michael got huge press coverage, which allowed him to track down other people from his past. Soon after, he met his birth father, Marcos Meza, who learned about the story on TV.
Marcos also introduced Robin to his daughters! Within a few weeks, the baby who was once left to die found himself suddenly surrounded by more family than he could ever imagine. All Robin was missing was his mother.
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As it turns out, Robin’s birth mother was out of reach. After Sabrina Diaz spent years in prison for child abandonment, the government deported her to Mexico. Nevertheless, Robin doesn’t see his mother as a villain.
Maybe Robin will be able to connect with his mother someday, but for now, he knows he’s incredibly lucky. What could be better than spending time with the parents who raised him, the family who lost him, and the hero who gave him a chance at life?
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