Lifestyle & Human Interest

Firefighters Watch Baby for Mom in Abusive Relationship Who Has No Place To Take Him


In a healthy family, each child is precious to its parents. The very thought of having to leave one behind, no matter the circumstances, hurts like a blow to the stomach.

Indeed, storytellers have plumbed the depths of that subject in numerous tales. Films such as “The Blind Side,” “Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens” and “Sophie’s Choice” all feature it.

But abandonment is far more than a dramatic convention. It’s real, and a story out of Houston reminds us of the emotional devastation such a decision can have on all involved parties.

According to KTRK-TV, Corterra Payton is the mother of an adorable, 11-month-old son. Little Duran is her light and joy.

However, other parts of her life were less sunny. She hadn’t managed to find work, despite looking for it.

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“It’s very hard, especially if you don’t have an income at the moment,” she said. Then she had to face her boyfriend, a man with a violent temper and a tendency toward abuse.

When an argument erupted between them, Payton decided the only safe option involved fleeing her apartment with Duran. But she soon ran into another issue.

Without money, she couldn’t get a hotel room for the night. Family in Cleveland, Texas, couldn’t get to her in Houston.

Because the altercation happened after midnight, a shelter wouldn’t take her in, telling her to come back the next day. And Payton didn’t want to spend the evening in her car.

“We are going to be sleeping in the car, somebody going to come up with a gun, kill us, rob us,” she explained. “Either that or they will see me sleeping.

“A woman, guy, somebody will come by the car and say, ‘Oh, she sleeping in the car with her baby. We fixing to call the police.'”

That was why Payton decided to take advantage of Texas’ Safe Haven law (aka Baby Moses law). KVUE reported that the law safeguards mothers, allowing “parents who are unable to care for their child a safe and legal choice to leave their infant with an employee at a designated safe place.”

These designated places include hospitals, emergency medical services stations, and fire stations.

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So Payton made the difficult choice to leave her child at Fire Station 68 — but only briefly. The desperate mother warmly recalled how the firefighters aided her in her moment of need.

“Thank you, God!” she exclaimed. “Because I know they have the law with firefighters the baby can’t be over 60 days, and they still took him, so I am thankful for that.”

KRIV reported that it was the department captain who stepped up and offered the baby a shoulder to nap on. Captain John Nanninga, himself a dad, knew Payton would be back.

“She had no income,” he said. “She had nowhere to stay. She had nowhere to go. She had no way to feed him. She was out of diapers. She had no food for him, nothing.”

“She couldn’t take care of him anymore and thought, I need put him somewhere that can,” he continued. “She was going to be back for the kid, because she obviously cared for the child.”

Thankfully, the story had a happy ending. Payton only had to leave little Duran with the firefighters for an hour.

When she returned, police were on the scene and made sure the pair were safe. Then they took them both to a Child Protective Services facility where they could sleep away the rest of the night.

Payton has worked out a plan with her family, who will be caring for Duran until she gets her first payment at her new job and can get a little more financial stability — but it’s nice to know there are people out there willing to help with such situations during all hours of the night or day.

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A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine.
A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine. Most days find him crafting copy for corporate and small-business clients, but he also occasionally indulges in creative writing. His short fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines. Loren currently lives in south Florida with his wife and three children.
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