Baby Ditched at SF State in 1984 Just Graduated From There

Jillian Sobol, now 31, was found in a box
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 31, 2016 1:38 PM CDT
Baby Ditched at SF State in 1984 Just Graduated From There
Amazing.   (Shutterstock)

A newborn abandoned in a box in a San Francisco State University dorm in 1984 just came full circle—by graduating from the same school. The San Francisco Chronicle relays the story of Jillian Sobol, now 31, whose biological mom, a student at SFSU, gave birth and left the infant in a box in the dorm's laundry room. A student named Patrick Coughlan spotted the baby and asked another student, Esther Wannenmacher: "Did you know there's a baby in a box in here?" Wannenmacher, who happened to be a nursing student, cleared the baby's airways and cuddled her to keep her body temperature up while Coughlan called 911. The baby's parents were discovered (they waived parental rights), and "Baby Jane Doe" was put up for adoption. Helene and Sam Sobol swept in to take the little girl they'd name Jillian home. (A post on Jillian's Facebook wall shows her the day she was adopted.)

But Sobol tells the Washington Post that even with her new loving family, her journey was "a bumpy road." She had to cope with dyslexia and depression, and she mistakenly thought a note to her biological mom had been spurned. But she continued with her studies and earned her bachelor's, telling the Post that the hospitality and tourism management program at SF State is why she went there, not her history. "I believe it to be a story of hope, joy, optimism, family, and San Francisco State University," she says. Sobol has since reconnected with her biological father. As for her biological mom, Sobol recently found a two-year-old Facebook message that she hadn't seen, which said: "I'm very proud of you. And thank you for being you." Sobol says she wants to wait awhile before responding. (A woman found out an abandoned baby she reported was her grandson.)

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