'Miraculous Mary' A High School Grad

Ashley Wyrick may be one of the most unlikely members of this year's high school graduating class.

"I was 2- to 4-hours old," she tells The Early Show national correspondent Hattie Kauffman. "I was found abandoned in a paper bag, umbilical cord still attached, in a towel that was bloody and gross. I was left behind a rock at 6 o'clock at night in the dead of winter" at an intersection in Redwood City, Calif., on Dec. 30, 1987.

But a police officer happened to be passing by, and spotted the bag.

"He heard crying," Wyrick says, "and, not knowing if it was a kitten or a kid — he didn't know — it was coming from a bag, and he opened the bag and found me. He took me to a hospital and, miraculously, I was alive."

Wyrick, her legal guardian, Serene Herrmann, and Police Officer Steve Gibbons, who found Wyrick in the paper bag, appeared on The Early Show Monday. To watch the segment, click here.

Nurses called her "Miraculous Mary," Kauffman says.

Her temperature on that cold night had dropped to 90 degrees.

"It's kind of weird," Wyrick says, "that (the police officer) randomly stumbled across me at that moment, to the point where I could have died a minute later if he wasn't there."

What Wyrick went through is less likely to happen today, Kauffman observes. In many cities, there are now safe surrender laws that allow parents of unwanted babies to drop them off, outside hospitals or fire stations, in many cases.

"Instead of leaving your child to die," Wyrick says, "leaving them somewhere where no one will find them, I think it's smart that people are actually giving a helping hand in a way of just letting them know that they have somewhere to go if they can't make a decision themselves."

Wyrick's adoptive family has set-up a college fund in her name. If you'd like to know more about it and donate to it, write to:

Ashley Wyrick
C/O John Herrmann
P.O Box 13
San Carlos, CA 94070

Even growing up, Wyrick's life has been difficult, Kauffman adds. Her adoptive parents divorced and then her adoptive father, who had custody, died of cancer when she was 9. She was raised by his adult daughter, who also battled cancer.

"She became my guardian," Wyrick says, smiling. "Now, she's my mom!"

Today, Kauffman notes, Wyrick is a confident young woman graduating high school, and ready to head off to college.

One of her teachers, Ron Gordon, says, "She is certainly academically very, very strong and as a person, she's just happy, bubbly, outgoing, effervescent, just the kind of kid that everybody would want his or her kid to be like.

"I mean, she came out of this brown bag, and look who she is. It's amazing."

Though she's never met her, Wyrick says she's forgiven the birth mom who abandoned her by a roadside: "I think she was just young and scared and didn't know who to turn to, 'cause it'd be really scary to have a kid and not have anyone to lean to, so I think she was just confused."