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Hospital staff keep place in life of 'gift' baby

Linda Ruggio, the charge nurse on duty the night Gabriel Cepeda came to Chino Valley Medical Center, is reunited with him in the lobby of the hospital.

Five years after being known as "the baby everybody wanted", one little boy is proving that his birth mother's gifts keeps on giving.

On Nov. 7, 2003, the 5-pound, 10-ounce baby boy, who still had about six inches of umblical cord attached, was found by the admitting clerk at Chino Valley Medical Center wrapped in a blanket in a large wicker purse in a quiet corner of the hospital. Tucked inside the blanket was a note, which indicated that the baby bad been born at 8:45 a.m. that day, and that the mother couldn't attend to his needs. "I love, God bless," the note read. "Please take care of my baby boy". The note was written in a "young hand".

The baby, dubbed "Adam" by the nurses who cared for him, was the first baby boy to be left with the hospital as part of the Safe Arms for Newborns law, passed in January 2001. The law allows mothers the option of surrendering babies upto to 72 hours old at a public or private hospital with no questions asked and no risk of prosecution. Since the law's inception, four babies have entered the program at CVMC.

Linda Ruggio, the charge nurse on duty at the time, was the first person to care for the baby. When the tiny bundle was placed into her arms, she felt a rush of emotion

"There were probably 100 people wanting to come in and love that baby, wanting to take him home - we couldn't keep people's hands off of him", Ms. Ruggio said.

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