By Dave Andrusko
Do I have a book for you, or what? “Fire Station Baby” is the title. What, you ask, could that possibly be about?
Glad you asked. Twelve years ago, then-engineer Tom O’Neill answered a knock on the door of a Westminster fire station which is located in Denver. It was February 15, 2003, early in the morning.
“Out on this side of the door there was just a couple there and they handed me a baby,” O’Neill told veteran CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh. Paramedic Duane Linkus was the first one he called.
“I look at the child,” Linkus told Walsh. “Child looks fine and Tom’s giving me the look in his eyes that something’s going on. And that’s when it hits me, that she’s here to drop this baby off.”
“And then that was it and she left,” said Linkus.
The mother was taking advantage of Colorado’s “2000 Safe Haven law” which allows a mother to surrender her baby for up to 3 days old at a fire station or hospital with no questions asked.
That brings us to…. Halle Burke, the beautiful baby with the gorgeous brown eyes who was adopted by Julie and John Burke.
“Over the years the Burke’s adopted two more children,” Walsh wrote. “And Julie wrote the book ‘Fire Station Baby’ hoping Halle’s birth mom will read it and contact Halle.”
Hallie talked both about her “really good life” with her adoptive parents and her hope of finding her birth mother. Hallie recently had her first reunion with the fire crew, thanking them, giving them copies of the book, and hugging them.
As if any additional poignancy is needed, Walsh tells us that the Burkes had tried everything to have their own child and had just had an adoption overturned. A friend called John Burke to tell him, “Oh my gosh, there’s a baby left at a fire station. Can you guys get that one?”
Walsh explains that the Burkes named her Hallie for a special reason.
“After doing fertility treatments for however long we did them, we were
like ‘Hallelujah,’ now we have a baby,” said Julie.
Hallie has known the circumstances of her adoption for years. So why does Hallie want to meet her birth mom?
“When I hear that story, I always think of hope,” she told Walsh. “I always think that I am going to find my tummy mommy before it’s too late.”
Does her “tummy mommy” look like her? Hallie also “wants to ask her about her life and thank her.”
Because there’s a lot of women, people, who are afraid to have babies and when they do they make bad choices about it, but my tummy mommy made a really, really good choice.