After spending the weekend celebrating their nephew’s birthday at a waterpark, Juliannys and Angel Aviles arrived back at their Springfield home to find something had been left on their doorstep.
It was dark, so it wasn’t clear what it was, and Juliannys teased her husband that he had forgotten something when they were loading the car.
But as they came closer, they realized it was a car seat, turned upside down. Then they heard a baby’s cries.
It was a newborn boy, who had been abandoned on their front stoop sometime between 9 p.m. Friday and 12:40 a.m. Saturday, police would tell the stunned couple, who arrived home Sunday night around 8 or 9.
As authorities continued to search for the child’s mother, Juliannys Aviles said she and her husband plan to fill out an application to foster the child after discussing it Monday night.
“I’m taking it as a blessing right now, there’s nothing else I can think of,” Aviles said in a phone interview. “There are many houses around, and I feel like she chose mine for a reason.”
Aviles, 28, who works as a patient care technician at Baystate Medical Center, said she had no idea who dropped the infant off or why they chose her house on Entrybrook Drive. But she believes it happened for a reason.
“This baby was left there for us,” she said. “I don’t even know how old this baby is, but he’s meant to be in our family.”
The couple found the child still strapped into the car seat, which had likely toppled over in the wind. Aviles said she called 911 immediately and police and EMS arrived in less than 20 minutes.
Aviles said the baby, now being treated for hypothermia at the hospital where she works, cried each time she tried to unwrap the blanket swaddling him.
“His feet were swollen, they were red, his whole body was cracked from the cold,” she said. ”I feel like a couple more hours and we would not have found this baby, unfortunately, alive.”
Beside the car seat was a bag with diapers, pacifiers, bottles, formula, and a note begging for the person who found the child to take care of him, Aviles said. A police department spokesman confirmed a note was left in the bag but said authorities are “not revealing the contents of the note at this time.”
A representative from the Department of Children and Families, the state’s child protection agency, arrived at their home after midnight, she said. He told the couple that the child would likely need a foster family after being discharged from the hospital, according to Aviles.
A DCF spokesperson said the agency “received a report and took emergency custody of the child” but did not provide specific details on the boy’s status. Police said they are looking to “identify and speak with the mother, who herself may be in need of medical attention.”
The couple has two children, 9 and 4. Angel Aviles, 28, owns Angel Shine Bright, a window-washing company.
As the sound of children playing echoed in the background, Juliannys Aviles said her older son had been asking about the baby since he was taken to the hospital, wondering how someone could leave him alone without knowing whether the family would take him in. She said she has not told him their plans in case the foster application falls through.
Aviles said she has always wanted to be a foster mother but wanted to make sure her husband was on the same page.
“It’s a stranger,” she said. “I’m dealing with a baby that’s a stranger.”
Massachusetts has a Baby Safe Haven statute that allows a parent to surrender their infant within seven days of their birth to first responders or a hospital without facing criminal prosecution, police said.
Police asked residents of the neighborhood to check their surveillance cameras for any activity late Friday night into early Saturday morning. Residents who see something on the footage are encouraged to call Springfield police detectives at 413-787-6355.
John R. Ellement can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe. Daniel Kool can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @dekool01.