Updated 10/24/11 – 4:37 p.m.
SCHAUMBURG, Ill. (CBS) — Members at a northwest suburban church got quite a shock on Sunday when they opened up a shopping bag that had been left on a car and found a newborn baby inside.
CBS 2’s Mai Martinez reports that authorities don’t know who left the baby girl at Gospel Presbyterian Church in Schaumburg. All they know is the baby appears to be a few days old, and they believe she is Asian.
A church elder said the canvas shopping bag was left on a car in the church parking lot sometime Sunday afternoon.
A church member found it and brought it inside the church to be put in the lost and found, never knowing there was a newborn inside. It was sometime later, when other church members heard faint cries coming from the bag, that they discovered the baby.
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“She opened her eyes and looked straight at me, and I was just … the face was just so adorable,” church elder Bob Song said.
The baby was hidden under a teddy bear and wrapped in a red bath towel. The bag she was in sat on a table inside the church, unnoticed for at least half an hour.
“I’m assuming the baby was sleeping inside the bag,” Song said. “Only after 30 minutes to an hour later, the baby started to cry and who were people coming in and out of the lobby heard the faint baby cry.”
Song said some women peeked in the bag, but were frightened when they saw what they thought was a limb, so they summoned him and he walked over and looked inside the bag.
“That’s exactly what I did. I had to take the baby out, make sure the baby was okay, and then I called 911,” Song said.
Song said that, as they waited for help, church members did their best to comfort the baby.
“The lady who was cuddling her, though, she was in tears most of the time,” Song said.
A sign on the church door now encourages the mother of the child to come forward. Schaumburg police were also asking for the mother or anyone whom might know her to contact them.
“We believe mom had her heart in the right place – that she went to a church and knew people would be there,” said Schaumburg Police Sgt. John Nebl. “But we would really prefer that, if people have to make a tough decision like this, that they come to a Safe Haven facility.”
State law allows parents to bring unharmed newborn babies – up to the age of 30 days – to hospitals, police stations or staffed fire stations, or other emergency care facilities, no questions asked.
Schaumburg police said there is one of those safe havens – a fire station – just three blocks from the church.
The baby was at Alexian Brothers Medical Center in Elk Grove Village, and authorities said she is doing very well.
She appeared to have been carried to full term, but is not believed to have been born in a hospital due to the length of the umbilical cord.
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has also been notified and will take custody of the girl once she is released, police said.
Anyone with information about the baby or her mother is asked to call Schaumburg police at (847) 882-3534.