Mia's story is good holiday fare. That must have been what the Washington Post editors were thinking when they put her smiling face on the front page. Whether they considered the deeper implications is not so clear, as we shall see.
Mia Fleming is a 20-year-old college student who was adopted as an infant. This year, she set out to find not her birthparents, but the two teenagers who found her on a Fairfax, Va., townhouse's front steps.
Emily Yanich and Chris Astle were both 15 in 1989. They acknowledge that on the afternoon in question, they "may" have walked to the 7-Eleven to buy cigarettes. When they returned to their neighborhood, they heard a baby crying. "I looked around and noticed that there weren't any moms out there pushing their kids around in a stroller," Astle recalled. The two teens followed the cries and found a bundle on the landing of a townhouse "where it didn't seem anyone was at home." They found the dark-eyed baby girl wrapped in orange towels, her umbilical cord still attached.
After frantically knocking on the townhouse door without result, Astle and Yanich, holding the crying infant, tried to decide on the best course. The Post recounted their thinking: "Had someone forgotten the baby? Was she hungry? Should they go back to the 7-Eleven and get some food? Should they take her? Would they get in trouble?"
Shocked and uncertain, they took the baby to Yanich's stepfather, who called the police. In short order the emergency vehicles arrived and the baby (who was estimated to be 12 hours old) was whisked off to the hospital. Later that day, a nurse called to tell them that the child was healthy and was going to be just fine.
And she was. A couple who already had one adopted child eagerly embraced the opportunity to adopt her. This month, 20 years later, Mia Fleming managed to contact her two guardian angels through Facebook. Her message was tentative: "Hi. I'm sorry to bother you, but if you are the Chris Astle I was looking for then I just want to thank you. You and Ms. Yanich found me on someone's doorstep when I was an infant. I don't really know what else to say, but thank you."
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