Student abandoned as newborn thanks pair who found her

Twenty years ago, two teenagers found an abandoned baby on a doorstep in Fairfax County. Earlier this month, they received a message on Facebook from a college student Mia Fleming, looking to say thanks.
By Michael E. Ruane
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, December 28, 2009

Mia Fleming walked down the curving staircase to the foyer of her father's house in Northern Virginia. She stood nervously for a few moments by the front door, and then, to the jingling of the holiday bells on the doorknob, greeted the two people who had once saved her life.

Chris Astle, 35, entered first and gave her a hug, something he said he's been wanting to do ever since he found her as an infant, wrapped in orange towels and left on a doorstep in Fairfax County 20 years ago.

Behind him was Emily Yanich-Fithian, 35, who had been with Chris that Wednesday in 1989 and who had cradled Mia and managed to quiet her crying. Emily, carrying her purse and camera, was overcome as they embraced. "Sorry," she said, waving away her tears.

At last, all three noted, their story had come full circle.

Mia, now a 20-year-old college junior, was the abandoned newborn, left on the landing of a townhouse. Emily and Chris were the two teenagers who happened to be passing by and heard a crying baby.

The story of how the teens had found Mia that day in 1989, and how using Facebook 20 years later she found them, struck a chord with those who heard it.

At 5 p.m. Sunday, as the sun set on the waning days of the decades that bracketed the story, their emotional reunion took place in the elegant home of Mia's parents.

The three couldn't seem to get over one another.

"So how are you?" Emily asked.

"I'm good," Mia said. "Thanks."

Emily and Chris gave Mia a framed poem that Emily wrote a week or so ago, titled "Angel." Chris read it as they sat together in the family den.

"May you never forget the piece you have of our hearts," the poem concludes.

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