A newborn baby who was found alive after being abandoned by his mother behind a trash dumpster has been reunited with the police officer who rescued him.
On Nov. 21, 1989, Santa Ana, California police officer Michael Buelna was investigating an unrelated crime when he heard a newborn’s cry from a place no newborn should ever be.
Officer Michael Buelna was a young cop on duty in Santa Ana The night was unusually chilly for California weather. Buelna was investigating a stabbing that had taken place in the area a few days prior. As he rounded the next corner, he was flagged down by a few neighbors in the area. They’d heard a baby crying.
A Baby’s Coo
Buelna went around to investigate the reports of a crying baby. When he approached the dumpster he heard what sound like a very low meow, like the sound of a cat softly mewling. He moved some of the trash out of the way and found the tiny baby, moaning hoarsely amongst the garbage. The baby was alive but very weak…
Not Looking Good
The officer noticed that the baby’s umbilical cord was still attached. Not only that, but he was covered in a thin, slimy substance, almost like mucous. Bits of trash and gravel were sticking to his pale skin. He gently picked up the child and cradled him in his arms. His breathing was faint so Buelna tried to give him a little bit of breath.
The cold, filthy infant reacted to the officer’s breath. He was alive and well, but he needed medical attention badly. Upon seeing how malnourished and frail the infant was, Buelna rushed him to a nearby hospital. Paramedics were able to work on the baby and save his life. On the way to the hospital, Buelna decided to give the foundling a name: Adam, seemed appropriate…
There was no doubt that Officer Buelna was attached to the little boy from the moment he saw him. Before long, little Adam was weighed and documented in the Orange County Register. The four pound infant was soon healthy and ready to be found a new home. After all, his parents had clearly not wanted the poor baby.
To Adopt or Not Adopt
Buelna himself initially wanted to adopt the boy. But before he could get a chance to organize the paperwork and to begin the adoption process, little Adam was picked up by another set of parents who just wanted a child of their own: Elizabeth Barton and Daniel Fernandez of Orange County. They decided to name him Robin…
The Barton/Fernandez family gave little Robin Barton, as he was now called, a wonderful home. He was raised just like any other child, healthy, happy, and never knowing the terrible circumstances that led him to be discovered by his loving parents. That is, until he was finally old enough to learn the shocking truth.
Revealing the Truth
It wasn’t until Robin was about 24 years old that his parents decided to tell him what really happened. He was shocked to hear his infamous origin, that he had been left to die in a dumpster only to be rescued and resuscitated by a brave member of the Orange County Police Dept. Robin decided then and there, he wanted to meet his rescuer…
In the years that little “Adam” was growing up with his adoptive parents, officer Michael Buelna continued to work on the force, helping as many other people as he could. He retired sometime in his late 50’s and went to live the easy life at his Orange County home. Yet he had always wondered what might have happened to the poor, abandoned infant he had saved so many years before.
Meeting His Hero
Meanwhile, the now 25 years old Robin Barton had tracked down officer Buelna and was gearing up towards what would undoubtedly be a tearful reunion. He and his adoptive parents made their way to Buelna’s home and met him in person. The two embraced and talked for a long while about life and their experiences. As it turned out, the two shared a most uncommon bond: Buelna too had been abandoned as a child…
Thanks for the Save
The retired officer and his four siblings had also been abandoned by their mother at a very young age and had been forced to enter the system. Robin was glad to meet his savior and to have the opportunity to shake his hand, look him in the eye, and say, “Thank you for saving his life”. Weeping, Buelna assured him that it was his pleasure and that he is so glad things worked out for the baby.
Tears of Gratitude
The meeting was the first time Buelna has seen Robin since he was abandoned. Even Robin’s parents were very glad to meet the officer, as they had never been able to properly thank the man who saved the boy’s life or gave them the opportunity to have a child of their own. Though Robin did have a few more things to ask Buelna…
Robin Barton has said multiple times that despite his unfortunate and obviously unplanned infancy, he’s been blessed with a great family. He even forgives his mother for what she did because he has no doubt that she was likely a poor young woman in a very compromising position and has been trying to find her himself for 20 years.
After their meeting, Officer Buelna even offered to help Robin in his search for his birth parents. As a former police officer, he had far more resources to tap in order to hunt down Robin’s real mother and father. Then, after only a few months of searching, the two newfound friends got a lead on Robin’s mother, Sabrina Diaz…
Robin’s biological mother, Serena Diaz had apparently had a run of bad luck even after she abandoned the baby. It seems that she even served several years in prison for child endangerment and attempted murder. Despite everything she had done, Robin was still ready to forgive her the moment he found her.
Unfortunately, once police found the formerly 19-year-old Sabrina Fabiola Diaz, she had already served her three years in prison and was later deported to Mexico. That didn’t stop Robin, who reached out to her and was able to speak with her on the phone. This game him great closure.
Father He Never Knew
After ABC7 ran the initial story about Robin and the Buelna’s reunion, Barton’s biological father contacted the station telling them that he had been searching for his son for years. It seemed that Marcos Meza had an affair with Sabrina Diaz when she was 19 and only found out about his abandoned son after police questioned him. When he found out that his son was alive, he wanted to meet him as well.
Meeting the Family
On Sunday, father and son finally met, along with two of Robin’s five sisters. The reunion was a thrilling, emotional affair. Robin himself was thrilled to take pictures with both of his fathers as well. The jubilant 25-year-old was thankful to have had the opportunity to find his family and life such an amazing life. As for the officer who saved a crying baby…
Robin and oOficer Buelna are still very close and talk often. The officer has said that he’s simply happy that he got to see the baby boy he saved grow up into a fine young man. He also hopes that the two will be able to see him again someday as well.
Still a Problem
Robin’s situation is not an unfamiliar one. Every year, thousands of unwanted or unplanned children are left out in the cold and most of them do not survive. If you have any information regarding one of these children or have encountered one please contact your local police department or child services bureau for assistance.