After offers poured in to adopt baby born in Syria-Turkey earthquake rubble, a relative came forward

Baby girl born in earthquake now in hospital
AP Photo/Ghaith Alsayed

Residents made a miraculous discovery while sifting through the rubble of a collapsed building in Jenderis, a town (also spelled Jindayris and Jinderis) on the Turkish border in northwest Syria. Amidst the destruction, they found a newborn baby girl, still connected to her deceased mother by her umbilical cord. Her father and all four of her siblings also died in the catastrophic earthquake.

The infant had been born and buried alive amidst the debris from Monday’s devastating earthquake. People heard her crying and rescued her. A neighbor cut the umbilical cord and rushed her to an incubator at a children’s hospital in Afrin, with rescuers throwing a blanket over the baby as they evacuated.

Journalist Pankaj Mishra shared a now-viral Twitter video that captured the miraculous rescue.

“After the earthquake, a pregnant lady gives birth to a baby under the collapse building,” Mishra wrote in the tweet. “People heard the crying sound, it [was] a baby girl. Baby’s placenta was still attached with mother who has passed away. Sadly she was only survivor in family.”

Dr. Hani Maarouf, one of the pediatricians caring for the newborn, estimated she was several hours old when discovered. She was named Aya, Arabic for “a sign from God.” Although Aya’s body temperature had dropped to 95 degrees and she had a big bruise on her back, she is now in stable condition.

Aya remains in a hospital in Afrin, where she is being cared for by hospital manager Dr. Khalid Attiah and his wife. In an act of extraordinary kindness, Attiah’s wife, who also has a four-month-old baby, volunteered to breastfeed the newborn.

Since the news of the baby’s miraculous survival has spread, thousands of offers to adopt her have poured in from around the world. However, as soon as she is released from the hospital, Aya will be taken in by her father’s uncle, Salah al-Badran. Although his own home in Jenderis was destroyed, he and his family were able to escape safely.

“I won’t allow anyone to adopt her now,” Dr. Attiah told the BBC. “Until her distant family return, I’m treating her like one of my own.”

Life, News

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Tricia Goss
Tricia Goss is a Texas-based writer and editor with nearly two decades of experience. She is passionate about helping readers improve their skills, gain knowledge and attain more happiness in life. When she’s not working, Tricia enjoys traveling with her husband and their dog, especially to visit their five grandchildren.

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