Merced couple wants to adopt baby they rescued from dumpster

MERCED, CA -- A baby girl found in a Merced dumpster is now in the care of a temporary foster family, but many people have offered to give her a permanent home, including the couple who rushed to her rescue.

Merced police say they're still investigating the circumstances surrounding the infant's 13-year-old mother and whether she is also a victim. But now a couple who already feels bonded to the baby is hoping to give her a fresh start.

Jimmy and Annette Alvarez couldn't help themselves from buying a gift bag full of tiny baby clothes for a little girl who instantly touched their hearts.

"All weekend we've been trying to figure out how we're going to go about adopting her," Annette said.

The couple was home early Thursday morning when a recycler spotted the infant in a dumpster and called for help.

"I go, 'Oh my God, a baby, hon it's a baby!'" Annette said.

Jimmy took off his shirt and used it to scoop up the newborn, and then Annette started rubbing her little body.

"She just like gasped and started crying, and we all cried, and I go, 'She's OK, she's OK,'" Annette said.

The baby was taken to Mercy Medical Center and is now in temporary foster care, but the Alvarezes say they'll do everything they can to adopt her. They attended an orientation meeting at First 5 of Merced County on Monday to learn more about the process. Their home is already filled with photos of children and grandchildren they've raised, but Jimmy says they're ready for one more.

"I still have that picture of her little face in my mind," Jimmy said.

The Alvarezes have since learned the baby's 13-year-old mother lives in the same apartment complex. Police say she has confessed to putting her daughter in the dumpster, but it's not clear yet if she'll face charges.

"We don't know if the mother at this point in time could have been a victim of child molestation, so we have to determine whether that's the case or not yet, so we have to look at all the factors," said Capt. Tom Trindad of the Merced Police Department.

The teenage mother is in the care of Child Protective Services. County officials say they can't comment on whether any family members are trying to get custody of the baby, but in general, anyone interested in becoming a foster parent or adopting must go through a long and thorough application process.

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