Bringing a new life into the world is a magical moment. Newborns are delicate creatures that most new parents dote and fawn over.
But not every baby is so lucky. Azita Milanian was jogging in the park with her dog on May 16, 1998, when the dog caught the scent of something near a pile of dirt.
Milanian found a newborn baby buried alive in the park.
She was shocked and frightened. The infant still had his umbilical cord attached and couldn’t have been more than a few hours old.
“I was kind of scared,” she said in a 1998 interview with the Los Angeles Times. “I wrapped the baby in a towel and wiped the dirt from his face. I thanked God he was alive. . The [umbilical] cord was hanging from his stomach.”
“I reached for my cellular phone and called 911.”
Milanian cleared the baby’s mouth and nose which were covered in dirt. As she waited with him, all she could do is pray that he would survive.
“I was telling him it would be ok,” she said. “It took more than 30 minutes for help to arrive. I was pretty emotional. I didn’t want this child dying in front of me.”
An ambulance arrived alongside police officers who rushed the newborn to the hospital in critical condition. Milanian lost contact with the baby but always wondered what happened to him.
The hospital staff named the infant Christian and were astounded by his resiliency.
The baby put up a miraculous fight for his life, and once he was well, Child Protective Services helped find him a loving adoptive home. They named him Matthew Christian Whitaker– he’s now a 20-year-old college student.
Whitaker didn’t learn the details of his dramatic rescue until he was 17. Wanting to know more about his biological family, a family friend emailed the Ryan Seacrest show on his behalf, requesting a 23andMe DNA test.
The show’s producer, Patty Rodriguez, heard Whitaker’s story and decided to try and reunite Milanian and Whitaker.
“I said ‘Azita is this you? I’m Patty from the Ryan Seacrest show. Are you the woman who found a boy 20 years ago?'” Rodriguez said to ABC.
Milanian responded immediately. On May 17, they were reunited nearly 20 years to the day of the first time they met.
Milanian always hoped she would be reunited with him one day.
This is going to be a long one, so stay with me. In the 13 years that I have been part of this show, I don't think I have worked on something this incredible. If you do not believe in God or in something bigger than you, believe me this is going to change everything. On May 17 of 1998, Azita was jogging when her two dogs noticed something. They started barking at Azita, but she thought they may have found a dead animal and she did not want to get near it. However, the dogs continued to insist. She, then saw something pushing out underneath the dirt. It was a newborn baby. The baby, still with his umbilical chord atttached, was only a few hours old. She ran for help. She then wrapped the baby in a towel and wiped the dirt off his face. As she waited for the ambulance to arrive she told the baby that everything will be ok. The baby wrapped his hands around her wrist and stopped crying. The baby, dubbed Baby Christian survived. His mother or the cruel human that did this to him was never found. Baby Christian was then adopted by a wonderful family. Azita never saw him again. She spent the last 20 years searching for him. She created a foundation in Baby Christian's honor, a non-profit that helps orphan children. But every single day, she hoped that one day she will see baby Christian again. Fast forward to 2018, we get an email from a woman requesting a 23 and Me DNA kit for her son's friend. In the email she says, that this young man is like a son to her and that he recently found out he was adopted. She continues the email by saying, that she would love for him to know who he is and hopes that he can get some answers BECAUSE this wasn't just an adoption — this young man made national news when he was a baby after being found buried with his umbilical chord attached!! We sent him the 23 and Me DNA kit and get the results back. We are talking to the 23 and Me team and find a news story from 1998 that describes exactly what was described in the email. Could he be the baby that was found May 17 1998?? I continue reading the story. I see Azita's name and I wondered to myself if Azita knew about any of this…. (continued in comments)
The reunion was emotional, and several times while recounting the events of that night, Melanian became overwhelmed and grabbed Whitaker’s hand as she fought back tears.
Whitaker, now a student at the University of Arizona, doesn’t dwell on the past.
“I’m here today. I’ve lived a great life. I was adopted into a great family,” Whitaker said to the LA Times. “I couldn’t ask my parents for any more[sic].”
Their initial meeting had such a profound effect on Milanian, she spent the next 20 years running an organization called Children of One Planet that helps orphans around the world. Reuniting with Whitaker was her dream come true.
“I was hoping that he would find me, the same way we found each other that day,” Milanian said.