Updated: Jan 4, 2022
[By Kerri Nettles]
We don’t know much about the child now lovingly called Precious Baby Phillips. Only that he, or she, died shortly after birth or was stillborn. Baby Phillips was born in Rogers, AR at St. Mary’s Hospital, possibly on November 23, 2001. At least that’s the date on the box that contains the few items left behind as a cherished memory. Inside the box–a blue knitted cap, a rubber duck, a soft white teddy bear and some scriptures reminiscent of a weekly bulletin from a quaint rural church. Does the tiny blue cap mean Baby Phillips was a boy? Maybe.
Just as Precious Baby Phillips was lost nearly 20 years ago, for those who loved him, those memories have now also slipped from their grasp. In mid-January, the box was found among donations at the Goodwill store in Bella Vista, AR. Was it donated on purpose? We’re pretty sure it wasn’t. Does the family know it’s gone? It’s possible they don’t.
Who ARE Baby Phillips’ parents? Countless internet searches reveal little. St. Mary’s Hospital was sold to Mercy Health System several years after Baby Phillips was born. Mercy, though, is trying to help any way they can. In 2001, Arkansas law didn’t allow for birth certificates to be issued to stillborn babies, another hurdle.
While hearts break for the loss of Precious Baby Phillips and his tiny little memories, you can’t help but imagine him or her as a force to be reckoned with, a person with such character and wisdom that you can’t help but be in awe.
Why is that? It’s because of the way Precious Baby Phillips has brought nearly two million of us together in love and support; a tiny baby watching over us from heaven did what few can. Nearly two million people, that’s the number of people who have been following Baby Phillips story on Facebook alone. Those millions of people have posted comment after comment expressing love, sympathy, sadness and reflection. Some shared their own stories of child loss and insight into the special meaning of Baby Phillips’ box. For some, Baby Phillips has helped them heal, staying up all night doing research on the internet, having a feeling that they are bringing peace to both Precious Baby Phillips and his or her parents. Others, just there to offer support and virtual hugs.
You know what hasn’t been expressed in the hundreds of comments and tens of thousands of shares? Hate. Condemnation. Intolerance. Disdain. Ugliness. The negativity that seems to sometimes plague us from every angle.
Precious Baby Phillips, he did this. A tiny little soul has touched the world and made it a better place, even though at best, he only got to experience it for a very short time.