By Jimmie Ferguson
Killeen Daily Herald
BELL COUNTY Four and a half years ago, she was known only as Baby Girl Doe.
When she returned to Bell County last week, the little girls adoptive parents, Angelo and Jeri, proudly introduced their daughter as Victoria Vicky Marie Nicole.
Vicky said she likes to color, sleep, swim, play with dogs. Her pediatrician said she is 4 going on 40, Jeri said.
Officials guessed that Baby Girl Doe was about five hours old when she was found Dec. 2, 1999, abandoned in the back of a pickup truck south of Harker Heights. The truck was located at the residence of Kristyn and Brad Greene at the intersection of Pinewood and Wildwood drives.
Baby Girl Doe, the name given to the infant by officials at Scott & White Memorial Hospital in Temple, was discovered at 6:20 a.m. by then 23-year-old Kristyn Greene when she was putting her dog out for the morning. Brad Greene, a Fort Hood soldier, was in the bathroom shaving in preparation for work.
Angelo and Jeri wanted so badly to meet the Greenes and show off the bundle of love they brought into their lives. The Greenes have since moved.
Lt. Loretta Fox of the Harker Heights Police Department was in charge of the Crimes Investigation Unit at the time of the incident.
Shes gorgeous, Fox said, looking at Vickys photograph. Thats nice. I am glad she has a nice family, and I cant believe its been nearly five years. I kind of thought she was Hispanic, but I wasnt sure.
Fox said she was anxious to see the photograph. I was hoping I could see the mother of the child in the babys face, but I cant, Fox said. I suspected somebody of being the mother, but I could not prove it, and she (Vicky) doesnt look anything like her, so I was wrong.
Shes pretty and shes happy, that is what important, Fox said. Everything turned out nicely for this girl. This must have been meant to be.
While the ordeal was a tragedy for the child, Angelo and Jeri look at it as a blessing, an answer to their prayers.
At the time Baby Girl Doe was found, Angelo and Jeri were certified foster parents and the parents of two biological sons. They wanted a girl, but Jeri couldnt have any more children. The infant was turned over to them four days after she was found.
On Dec. 3, a Friday, Angelo said he anxiously notified their caseworker with Childrens Protective Services in Belton of their desire to adopt the abandoned girl.
That Monday, they said they received a call that a baby was on the way, said Angelo, noting CPS did not indicate who or the source of the baby.
We have always wanted a little girl, and since Vicky, it has been unbelievable, Angelo said. Its unbelievable because in my head while we were doing this, I always thought I could never love a kid that wasnt biologically mine, the way I love my own. Now, she is my little girl.
Jeri said the hardest part of the whole ordeal was the first six months.
When they brought her to our house that day and put her in my arms, I knew right then she was my baby, Jeri said.
Angelo said up until the adoption date, they were afraid that a grandmother or a distant relative was going to step forward and take the child.
Because if they wanted her, they could have gotten her, Angelo said.
Thank God they didnt, but it could have happened, Jeri said.
Six months and a day later June 1, 2000 became the most rewarding day of Angelos and Jeris life Baby Girl Doe became Victoria Marie Nicole, the daughter they always wanted.
Angelo and Jeri said they are still very cautious of Vicky and dont let her out of their sight.
Angelo said he always hated the name Baby Girl Doe.
For the first six months, we were foster parents, and she was a ward of the state and thats all you could refer to her as, Angelo said.
The day after the baby was turned over to them, Angelo said they had to take her back to Scott & White for her first doctors appointment.
We tried to keep it as low key as possible when we went in there, Angelo said. The nurse asked whats the babys name, and I told her, Baby Girl Doe, and keep it quiet, because we did not want everybody to know.
And the nurse said, Baby Girl Doe, and everybodys head in the clinic just snapped around, Angelo said. By the time we got out of the doctors office, there were television news crews outside of the hospital.
To protect their identities, Angelo and Jeri said they sneaked out of the back door of the hospital
After then, Jeri said, we would be in the mall, and people would say, thats that baby. And I would say, what baby? and they would say, Baby Girl Doe.
After court the day Vicky was adopted, Jeri said she and her husband and their friends, Renate and Kevin Davis, stopped to have breakfast at a local restaurant.
The waitress kept looking at Vicky. She looked at Renate (a white woman), at Kevin (a black man), at Angelo and back at me, Jeri said. Then, she said, she is so beautiful, where did you get her? And Renate replied, J.C. Penney they had a sale.
After Angelo retired from the military at Fort Hood, the family moved to Atlanta, Ga., where he said they still periodically get a stare or two. But the area is fairly diverse.
It was rough leaving Central Texas, having lived here for seven years, Angelo said. I really love it here, but theres a very lucrative job market in Atlanta.
Angelo and Jeri said they have already told Vicky that she is adopted, and because she is, she is a special child.
We have talked about it, and she knows she is adopted, said Jeri, pointing out that she feels all adopted children are special.
Her biological mother was never found, Jeri said. So, if she ever does want to look up her biological mother when she gets older, we have nothing to give her except what we have saved for her that was in the newspapers or on the TV since she was born.
To the lady who gave birth to her, all we can do is thank her, Jeri said. Though she is a stranger to us and we will never know who she is, she is a gift to us, because she brought us Victoria.
Contact Jimmie Ferguson at firstname.lastname@example.org