Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Flight bin baby 'set for adoption'

George Francis, the baby boy born on a flight from the Middle East to the Philippines and abandoned. (AP)

The baby boy born on a flight from the Middle East to the Philippines and abandoned in a rubbish bag will be put up for adoption if the mother is not found or declared unfit, a government official has said.

The baby, named George Francis after Gulf Air's flight code GF, is doing fine, watched closely by nurses and social workers while authorities searched for his mother.

Officials have identified a person who occupied a bloodstained seat on the plane but are still verifying if she is the boy's mother, Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman said.

"He is well. He takes a lot of milk, but he is being observed because there was a bump found on his head. But as far as the report from his check-up goes, his condition is good," she said.

The six pound, nine ounce boy was discovered on Sunday when a security officer on the tarmac spied something moving in one of the trash bags that were carried from the plane. He opened it, sifted through the rubbish and found the newborn wrapped with tissue paper and covered in blood.

The story evoked pity and outrage around the world. The infant - still attached to the placenta - was taken to an airport clinic, where doctors and nurses cleaned him, gave him a check-up, wrapped him in cloth and mittens and warmed him under a light bulb, airport doctor Maria Teresa Agores said.

Gulf Air spokeswoman Katherine Kaczynska said that no one on the plane reported anything unusual during the flight. The Bahrain-based airline said the baby was discovered in a plane toilet rubbish bin, suggesting the mother gave birth in the bathroom during the flight.

Doctors who attended to the baby said he looked Filipino, fuelling speculation in the local media that the boy's mother could be a domestic worker in the Middle East. About one in 10 Filipinos works abroad, many as maids and labourers in the Middle East, to escape crushing poverty and unemployment at home.

According to the law, it takes at least three months to declare a baby abandoned and start the adoption process. In this case, even if the mother is identified, she will have to be assessed to see if she is a suitable parent, Soliman said. What she did is "an indication of her inability to take care of the child," she said.

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