Woman adopts baby from pregnant stranger she met on a plane

Temple Phipps and Samantha Snipes' paths crossed by chance on a flight

Airport plane
(Image credit: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty)

A US woman has revealed how she ended up adopting a baby after a chance encounter with a pregnant woman on a plane.

Temple Phipps, from North Carolina, was desperate for a child and looking into fostering when she was placed next to Samantha Snipes on a Delta Airlines flight from Atlanta to Raleigh in September 2016.

Phipps, then 42, had been investigating adoption and fostering to fulfill her dream of having a baby, but was finding that agencies were put off by her single status.

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Her seat neighbour, 24-year-old Snipes, had just fled an abusive relationship and was heavily pregnant.

Even more remarkably, Snipes had missed an earlier flight and only managed to secure a standby seat on the later plane by chance.

The two women struck up a conversation, during which it emerged that the younger woman was considering giving up her baby.

“The position I was in, he wasn't going to have a very good life. He was going to have a struggling life and I didn't want any of that for him,” Snipes told ABC News.

After Phipps revealed her own difficulties in becoming a mother, the pair exchanged phone numbers and decided to keep in touch.

Three days later, Snipes went into early labour and gave birth to a baby boy. Soon after, Phipps received a phone call.

“She said, 'It's Samantha from the plane,'” Phipps told local news channel WRAL-TV. “I said, ‘Is everything OK?’”, and she said, ‘I’m still in Raleigh. I had the baby. Do you want to come see us?’”

“She already looked like she loved him after holding him for an hour,” Snipes said. “The stuff that I wasn't feeling, she was feeling... that's what made me decide this was the right thing to do.”

Phipps and Vaughn (centre) and Snipes (right) with WRAL-TV news reporter Kasey Cunningham (left)

Snipes has remained closely involved with her biological son, whom Phipps named Vaughn. She moved house to live closer to Phipps and Vaughn, now 18 months old. The two women even celebrated his first birthday together.

“I count my blessings every day," Phipps said. "I still can't believe this happened to me. I am in shock and awe.”

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