Abandoned Twins Home for Christmas

From Associated Press

Only hours old, they were stuffed into a duffel bag and abandoned in a cold public restroom where they might have died from exposure.

Now the newborn twins, who have been named Mary and Joseph, are in a warm foster home for the holidays.

"They've got clothes, blankets, rattles and washcloths. Everything they've got is Christmas," the children's foster mother said earlier this week. "I've got their stockings hung."

So named because they were found so close to Christmas, the twins somebody didn't want now seem to be wanted by everybody.

Since news broke of their discovery, more than 650 people from as far away as Canada have offered to take care of the babies.

But the couple finally selected by state social services officials was not among them. They have been foster parents for six years and often care for infants. They also have two grown children and three grandchildren of their own.

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"I was elated," said the foster mother, who asked not to be identified. "We don't have any small ones right now. Christmas without children is just not any fun. . . . Usually in our family, we just hang out at the house and eat cookies and sing Christmas carols."

The couple brought Mary and Joseph to their two-bedroom home in the Panama City suburbs Saturday.

"We were up with Mary from 1:30 to 5 a.m. She's a little fussy. The night before last we were up with Joey. They take turns, I guess," the foster mother said. "They're already smiling. You can talk to them and they just smile."

Before adoption is considered for the twins, police are trying to find their parents or whoever left them in the duffel bag in a boat-ramp restroom at the Lake Powell Recreation Area, about 20 miles west of Panama City.

Used in summer by fishermen and as a lovers' lane, the park is largely deserted at this time of year, said Panama City Police Lt. Jerry Girvin.

Girvin called it a "Christmas miracle" that Debby Brewer and boyfriend Scott Price stopped to use the restroom Dec. 12 and found the day-and-a-half-old twins. The officer said they probably would have died of exposure if left overnight in the 50-degree temperatures.

Now, said the foster mother, "They're doing real good. Mary has a little sniffle. Joey is doing fine. They're beginning to eat better."

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Police fear that whoever abandoned the twins may have been just passing through the area and may not be found.

Florida counts about 1,600 abandoned children a year of more than 14,000 nationally, said Mike Haney, who investigates such cases for the Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services.

Regardless of whether Mary and Joseph eventually are adopted, they will be the center of their foster parents' Christmas this year.

"We're going to take real good care of those babies," the foster mother said.

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