Azita Milanian believes it was God who led her to "Baby Christian" and then to her mission in life.
“Thank you for coming into my life; you’ve changed my life. The day I found you, my faith grew stronger. God sent us here for a purpose,” Azita bursts into tears at the sight of the man.
It was May 1998. Azita Milanian turned down a friend who invited her for a salsa class. She did not know why, but that evening she wanted to go for a jog with her Labradors in the nearby mountains. In addition, she had parked her car one block closer than she had in the past 8 years. And she was wearing a T-shirt about helping orphans. All of this continues to assure her that there are no coincidences in life.
Two little feet and a sob
For many years Milanian had been praying that God would tell her what she could do for abandoned children, whose lives had always moved her. She was involved in charity work, raising money for children’s homes, but felt she could do more. Today she says: “Be careful what you pray for, because God really answers our prayers.”
That evening in the mountains something caught her dogs’ attention. Distracted, they stopped in the bushes and didn’t react to her calling them. Milanian locked them in the car and returned to that spot. Suddenly she saw two small feet sticking out of the ground and heard barely audible cries.
It was a baby boy who had been born just hours before. He was wrapped in a blue towel, laid in a hollow in the ground and covered with dirt. An umbilical cord was still attached to his belly. Milanian immediately cleared his mouth and nose and called 991, though she got disconnected a few times. She rushed to the road and stopped a passing car. She asked the driver to notify the paramedics.
Waiting for the ambulance, Milanian tried to calm the baby. She hugged him and repeated: “Don’t die, please, don’t die. I will never leave you. I love you.” A few days later, in an interview with LA Times, she recalls: “He grabbed my wrist and stopped crying. This was so emotional. What sick person could possibly do such a thing? He still had his umbilical cord attached to his belly.”
The child was rushed to the hospital and quickly recovered, which the then-director of the neonatology department of Huntington Memorial Hospital calls a miracle. Media outlets, following the hospital staff, call the newborn “Baby Christian,” and people moved by the story start donating toys, clothes, and money.
Milanian wanted very much to take care of him, but she knew this could be dangerous. Anyone who read a newspaper or watched a TV news program about the story would know how to find her — and him.
Within a few months, adoptive parents were found for the little boy, and Milanian lost touch with him. At first, she tried to fight for being able to know his whereabouts, but she was turned down and eventually gave up. She was convinced that one day she’d find him.
The situation inspired Milanian to establish a charity to help orphans around the world called Children on One Planet.
Azita and baby Christian – 20 years later
Matthew Christian Whitaker learned in 2017 about what happened to him right after he was born. As he recalls, “I was in a car with my godmother when she asked me: ‘Did anyone ever tell you the true story of how you were found?’ I said, no; it was always a secret to me. Then she told me everything.” He adds, “I have no hard feelings to the person who abandoned me. It was your best idea, to leave me there, so I thank you for that.”
On May 18, 2018, Azita Milanian and Matthew were invited to be guests on the show On Air with Ryan Seacrest. Hugging Matthew, with tears streaking down her cheeks, 58-year-old Milanian says:
This day is the fulfilment of my dreams. I’ve been waiting for it for 20 years. You are exactly the way I imagined. I guessed your size, everything. Thank you for coming to my life; you changed my life.
Watch the emotional reunion here:
Sources for the original story: latimes.com, boredpanda.com, people.com, YouTube