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Doorstop Baby

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Ding ding ding! UPS here! Yes, can I get you to sign off on this baby, sir?

"I went out to the back, where my vegetables had just been delivered. There were cabbages, turnips, radishes... only there were no radishes. Just a very hungry baby panda."
Mr. Ping, Kung Fu Panda 2

It's raining, and a mother (sometimes a mother and father) is carrying a baby in a basket. The baby is wrapped up in a blanket, but is obviously a main character. The mother (or parents) may or may not be kept anonymous by a cloak (or cloaks).

So the mother goes up to a doorstep, puts the baby down, may or may not add a letter and/or an Orphan's Plot Trinket, rings the doorbell or knocks on the door and slips quietly into the night. The door is opened by the child's adoptive parents, who are (usually) fully accepting of the baby and their new roles as parents instead of contacting the authorities (and it just so happens that someone is always home and awake to answer the door, thus sparing the baby from dying of exposure). Cut to several years later...

This title is a pun on Doorstep Baby, and is not to be confused using a baby as a doorstop. For that, you're looking for Hilariously Abusive Childhood or Human Doorstop. Also not to be confused with Doorstopper as in a very long book, for that matter.

Also known as a "foundling". Often causes Changeling Fantasy. See also Parental Abandonment, Missing Mom.

Lead-in to Moses in the Bulrushes and Muggle Foster Parents. The pet version is Abandoned Pet in a Box. A dwarf criminal may exploit this trope by pulling a Goo Goo Getup.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Berserk: Guts, the main protagonist, is a rather dark example. A newborn Guts was found under the hung corpse of his mother, umbilical cord still attached. For a moment his discoverers (a band of mercenaries) thought he was a stillbirth... until their leader knocked him out of the arms of his girlfriend who went and picked him up, knocking baby Guts into a puddle and making him cry. It only gets worse for him after that. It's believed that the manner of his birth left him cursed.
  • Happens in one episode of Best Student Council, prompting the girls to go out in search of the baby's mother.
  • Asta and Yuno from Black Clover were both left at the church they would be raised in as babies on the same day.
  • An episode of the Black Jack TV series has a gangster schoolgirl and her friends stealing a locker key from a woman — and finding a baby boy inside of it. The girl takes the baby to Black Jack's house, who treats him but says he's very malnourished and sick already. The rest of the episode has the girl trying to deal with her growing affection towards the boy... This is based on a chapter of the manga (where the baby was a girl), which was in turn Ripped from the Headlines (there was, in fact, an inexplicable rash of babies being abandoned in coin lockers in Japan back in the '70s).
  • The eponymous Candy from Candy♡Candy and her best friend Annie were left on the doorstep of the orphanage "Pony Home" when they were babies.
  • Captain Tsubasa features a couple of examples.
    • Carlos Santana was left by his teenaged single mother in a soccer field, and the caretakers of said sport place took him in. When his adoptive parents died, much misfortune followed. In a subversion, he finds his genuinely remorseful mother when he's an adult, and they get reconciled. Earn Your Happy Ending, indeed.
    • Similarly, Michael as abandoned by the doors of the Monserrat Church, and he was raised by Father Juanito and the local nuns.
  • There is a variety in Carried by the Wind: Tsukikage Ran, where Meow finds a baby in a basket outside of a restaurant. She's at a complete loss at first, but soon gets very attached, leading to her being heartbroken when she has to return the baby to its family.
  • Kazuki Kinukawa from Case Closed was this, after his mother left him in the doorstep of a Catholic church in Tokyo. In a subversion, he was about two years old when this happened, and not to mention she sent him unsigned postcards from Atami, the place where she actually lived... until a few years ago. Then Kazuki, who had become a Child Prodigy actor, hired Kogoro to go call the old woman out... and right on time, as when they arrived to a hot spring place in Atami where three women who fit in the few hints leaked in the cards worked, the three were involved in a murder.
  • In the Cyborg 009 2001 series, a Catholic priest found a dying single mother and her healthy baby boy in the doorsteps of his church. He took the baby in, and he grew up to become Joe Shimamura aka 009.
  • In Daphne in the Brilliant Blue, a baby is left on Yu's doorstep by Gloria's sister so she could have a break. The baby returns home at the end of the episode.
  • Domo TV begins with the eponymous creature's egg being left outside the hole to Mr. Usaji's home before it rolls down there and hatches.
  • Gintama:
    • A short story arc starts with this (see picture). The baby, however, looks very similar to Gintoki, and the note that came with the baby seems to implicate him in an affair, which everyone assumes is the truth despite his protestations.
    • Sadaharu might also count, even though he's a giant dog.
  • In Gun-Ota ga Mahou Sekai ni Tensei Shitara..., the main character, Lute, and his Childhood Friend Romance, Snow, learn as they are growing up that they were left, as infants, on the doorstep of an orphanage. It is not known if their parents are alive in the present.
  • In Hana the Fox Girl, Fu's uncle Gen convinces Hana and Tsugumori that Fu was found abandoned under a bridge. The truth is Fu is the daughter of Gen's sister by her first marriage, who travels for work so Fu stays with him. Before he can tell them this, Hana and Tsugumori rush off to comfort Fu. Gen never bothers to clear up the misunderstanding.
  • Maria was found on the footsteps of a church in Hayate the Combat Butler, hence her name.
  • Honey Honey, of Honey Honey. Actually a variation on this trope, as Honey is left not at someone's door but in a field in the springtime, surrounded by honeybees - which is where she got her name from - and subsequently brought up in a (presumably Catholic) convent. Her cat Lily was also abandoned, and as Honey explains in the first episode, that's why she and her cat are so close.
  • In Ie No Naki Remi, Jérôme found a baby Remy in Paris in front of a building. She actually isn't native to France, and was kidnapped by traders since she's actually from a noble family, but he doesn't know that and tries to sell her off to slave traders.
  • In an episode of Mazinger Z, Sayaka and Kouji find a baby boy in the doorstep of the Institute, plus a note that explains why was he left there. His mother is a widow who not only was hit hard by the death of her husband, but has just found out she's seriously ill and can't take care of him any longer, so she's leaving him there to Give Him a Normal Life. Koji goes to finds her... when she's about to commit suicide.
  • Kaito Doumoto in Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch has his first Heroic BSoD upon discovering a note from his parents explaining that they found him like this and took him in.
  • One episode of Pumpkin Scissors has the eponymous unit searching for the mother of one such baby after everybody except Corporal Oland fails to pacify it.
  • The central plot device in Satoshi Kon's Tokyo Godfathers. The heroes, three homeless bums of Tokyo (a runaway teenage girl, a trans woman and a Jerk with a Heart of Gold drunkard), are rummaging through a trash heap on Christmas Eve when they find a newborn baby in the trash, along with a key to a locker. The trans woman promptly adopts her and names her "Kiyoko" as they set off to find her parents (and give them a severe scolding). It turns out the baby girl was kidnapped from the hospital she was born in by a mentally ill woman who had lost her own baby. The real parents appear afterward to take back their child.
  • The whole premise of UFO Baby. Ruu, an alien baby, shows up at Kanata's house and is left in his and Miyu's care.
  • Flute, from Violinist of Hameln, was left in some villager's doorstep on a snowy day by, supposedly, a dying soldier of her country, Sforzando. Subverted in that the house's owner refused to open the door, and the villagers who passed by the screaming baby in a basket purposefully averted their eyes; it was the Elder of Staccato who finally picked her up and took her home.

    Comic Books 
  • Asterix finds a baby on his doorstep at the beginning of Asterix and Son. It turns out he's Caesarion (full name Ptolemy XV Philopator Philometor Caesar), son of Cleopatra and Caesar.
  • The Silver Age Flash was published for more than a decade before the Flash and his wife Iris discovered that Iris had actually been born in the far future to time-traveling parents who abandoned her as an infant on the doorstep of a 20th-century couple. Iris's 20th-century parents had never told her that she was a foundling, and they never suspected that she was from the future. Eventually, Iris was reunited with her next-millennium parents. This plot development was followed for a while, then dropped, and most readers either forgot about it or assumed that it had been retconned out of existence. When Iris was murdered in the 1980s, no mention was made of her far-future origins. A couple of years later, when the Flash comic book was due to be cancelled, Flash was apparently killed ... but a twist ending revealed that he and Iris were both still alive in the distant future with Iris's parents.
  • In Robyn Hood, Shang deposits the infant Robyn on the doorstep of the Locksleys.
  • Superman is arguably an instance of this trope. Of course, in this case, the doorstep is Kansas, and the note's either missing or undecipherable. In some versions it's more the Moses thing, with Kal-El being shot "to wherever", but, in most versions, Kal-El was deliberately and specifically sent to Earth, which makes it a deliberate placing, just with an added multi-million light-year shot-put effect in between (rather than laid on the doorstep, he was chucked there). There is even at least one incarnation where Jor-El sends Kal-El specifically to Kansas.
  • In Violine, Violine's father leaves her with his governess, Marushka, when she is three, so he can go back to Zongo and search for her mother. Unbeknownst to him, though, Marushka claims Violine as her own child.
  • Wonder Woman (1942): While trying to knock the Huntress off his child-selling tail, the "Earthworm" leaves one of the infants he's selling on the doorstep of the two people who have been campaigning to make costumed heroes' lives miserable since said heroes are not fully legal.

    Comic Strips 
  • Skeezix Wallet, in Frank King's Gasoline Alley, was left on Walt Wallet's doorstep as an infant. More than a decade later, Walt Wallet acquired a girl named Judy in the same manner.
  • Each Home Wanted By A Baby! strip begins with the same baby being found on a doorstep and ends with the baby leaving because he does not like his new home.
  • Popeye: Popeye's son Swee' Pea wasn't left on a doorstep—he was delivered to him in the mail. In fact, due to being in a box when delivered, Popeye thought the sound of his rattle meant there was a snake in the package, and was prepared to shoot the thing until he heard crying. However, some versions of this event have the former occur. Here, Swee' Pea is the son of the King and Queen of Demonia.
  • One Charles Addams cartoon inverts this, with an old man in a large basket being left on the doorstop of a nursing home. He doesn't look too pleased with the situation.

    Fan Works 


  • This (along with various other ways a character may end up taking care of a baby that is not theirs) is very popular in Teen Wolf fic. Within the fandom, it's commonly referred to as Accidental Baby Acquisition.
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fan-art this has happened to poor Shining Armor at least twice... both times with a baby he had with Queen Chrysalis while Brainwashed. Once with a note containing a DNA test, and once with a note claiming that Shining Armor gets to keep one on the advice of Chrysalis's lawyer.
  • A Sonic Underground fan-made reboot adds to this trope by having the King of Mobius join Queen Aleena, him also being in a cloak when he has to separate the triplets. However, rather than Manic go to neither the slums of the thieves, he is given to be raised by Uncle Chuck. In addition, rather than have Sonic go to the two commoners living on the outskirts of Mobotropolis, Sonic is also given to Lady Windermere along with Sonia. However, five years later, the Windermere Estate is burned down by SWAT Bots and the Windermeres are arrested, reuniting all three triplets and having them live with their uncle. A baby Miles "Tails" Prower is then found on Uncle Chuck's doorstep when they get there.

Specific Examples

  • In Angels Egg, All Might finds the titular egg on his office's doorstep. The narration also says that this is very common, the egg is just the first one found by All Might himself.
  • Child of the Storm:
    • The canonical example of Harry is noted, and how it could have been averted, if Dumbledore knew about the other available option of the Grey family - which he did not, and is deeply sorrowful about. As it is, they visited and were fully intent on adopting Harry when he was 7 when it became clear how he was being treated, but there was an intervention from Sinister, who liked having Harry where he had full access to him.
    • Another canonical example in Clark Kent, who it is made very clear, was aimed right at the Kents - and would have gone entirely unnoticed if it wasn't for Jor-El not factoring in the meteor shower that followed.
  • Delving into Science, based on The Muppets, has a newborn baby, believed to be orphaned, left on the doorstep of a daycare. The two children present, five-year-old Rowlf and two-year-old Bunsen, take a liking to this baby, and they end up giving him his name; Beaker.
  • The Dogfather is a Harry Potter What If? fic where the Dursleys find an infant Harry on their doorstep and immediately surrender him to foster services, who soon see him Happily Adopted to a Muggle couple. If Petunia recognizes Harry as her nephew, she doesn't admit it to the police.
  • Foundling: Reimu, the titular "foundling", was abandoned in a forest inhabited by youkai to die (from what's implied) and taken in by Ran.
  • Jimmy Two-Shoes the Movie: Misery Loves Company: Beezy is found by Samy as an infant on the doorstep of Lucius' mansion, left by his Missing Mom Maggie with a note telling Lucius that the baby is his son.
  • My Little Dashie: The story revolves around a baby Rainbow Dash being inexplicably left on the doorstep of the author, who is a fan of the source material. He takes it upon himself to raise her.
  • According to One More Time, One More Chance, Ryuuko was left on the doorstep of the orphanage Satsuki takes her from.
  • In R.E.P. Is Magic, Rolly mentions he was found like this in a donation bin.
  • In the Pokémon fanfic Return of the Hero, Kelly reveals to Nate that she found him on her doorstep when he was a baby, and resolved to raise him as her own son.
  • Thinking In Little Green Boxes: Instead of being left at the Dursleys' house as what happened in canon, Harry Potter is accidentally left at a safehouse Deadpool was staying in at the time. Deadpool decides to adopt Harry (whom he calls Arthur Bea Wilson) and Hilarity Ensues.
  • This is an extremely common practice for cross-tribal births in the Triptych Continuum, and one which Celestia and Princess Luna encourage (such as by writing laws allowing anypony to abandon a foal at the local police station and have it go into the orphanage system, no questions asked), since it's a lot better than the other way tribalists deal with cross-tribe births.
  • In Warriors Rewrite, it's mentioned that some mother cats leave their kits near ThunderClan in hopes that their children will be taken care of better in the Clan. Ravenpaw was one such kit.

    Films — Animation 
  • Arlo the Alligator Boy: Half-alligator boy Arlo Beauregard was forsaken into the sewers of New York by his half-bird father Ansel, in fear he would expose his identity while passing off as a normal human being. He was soon washed out to sea and floats all the way to a Louisiana swamp before ending up at the doorstep of local swamp hermit Edmée, who adopts him and raises him as her own for fifteen years before telling the truth.
  • A major point of Barbie: Princess Charm School; Blair Willows says she was found on the Willows' doorstep as a baby and adopted by them. She later was revealed to be the baby Princess Sophia of Gardania, who survived the car crash of the royal family and ended up on a doorstep herself, as confirmed by the late Queen Isabella looking exactly like Blair when in her youth.
  • At the very beginning of Dinosaur, Aladar's egg is delivered to Lemur Island by a Pterodactyl who apparently found said egg floating in a river just right after an Oviraptor dropped it, who apparently stole the egg while his mother was trying to protect her nest from the film's Big Bad, Carnotaurus.
  • The theme song given for the titular character of The Haunted World of El Superbeasto establishes that he was taken in by his adoptive sister Suzi X's family when he was a baby in a basket left at their doorstep.
  • Something like this happens in Disney's version of Hercules, one of the ways in which it departs from the myth. Traditionally Heracles is raised by Alcmene because she's his mother, Zeus being one of the Greek gods who really got around. But this wasn't family-friendly enough for Disney so they made him the son of Zeus and Hera, and had Alcmene and her husband find him and adopt him after Hades has him kidnapped and magically turned mortal.
  • A version of this is the beginning of Quasimodo's life in Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Frollo kills Quasi's mother on the steps of Notre-Dame cathedral before finding the baby...and is so disgusted by the child's appearance that he is about to drop him down a well until the Archdeacon angrily informs him that killing an innocent child, even a deformed one, will certainly lead to damnation (especially after the whole "killing the child's mother" thing). In the face of that, Frollo has no choice. Interestingly, in the book Frollo was the archdeacon of Notre Dame, as well as being not quite such a bastard. So it's kind of like he got split apart and his better three-eighths popped out of the cathedral to restrain him from infanticide.
  • Kung Fu Panda:
    • In the original Kung Fu Panda, Tai Lung is left on the doorstep of the Jade Palace in perfectly beautiful weather, and we never see or are told who the parents were or why they abandoned him. And far from growing up to discover his secret special heritage or be raised by someone who does not understand his uniqueness, the snow leopard finds his glory and power right there in training to be a kung fu warrior, something his adoptive father Shifu embraces wholeheartedly (and apparently a bit too well) when he discovers the cub's aptitude for it.
    • In the sequel, Po's father tells the story of how he found him in a radish box from the vegetable order delivered to him. He waited for someone to come by, but when no one came, he adopted Po.
    • This is part of Master Tigress's backstory, as revealed in the short Secrets of the Furious Five, being left at an orphanage until she was eventually adopted by Shifu.
    • As it turns out, this is also part of Shifu's backstory, left abandoned there by his father, a thief, where he was taken in by Oogway.
  • The opening scene in Meet the Robinsons shows Lewis's mother leaving him on the doorstep of the 6th Street Orphanage. Twelve years later, Lewis gets swept up in time-travel shenanigans and agrees to help Wilbur only if he'll take him back to that night so that he can meet his mom; Wilbur agrees, though to preserve history he has no intention of doing so. In the end, Wilbur does take him back, even though that risks his own existence, but Lewis chooses not to approach his mom, since his trip to the future reveals that he's about to be Happily Adopted. He is, however, the one who knocks on the door to alert Mildred of his younger self's presence.
  • This happens to Kris in Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town. The Burgermeister's guard is taking him to an orphanage, but he blows away in a snowstorm. He is then left with the Kringle Elves to avert the Winter Warlock.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Buck, the titular character from The Accidental Spy, was dropped on the steps of a Hong Kong orphanage as a baby. He later had dreams which makes him believe he's the long-lost son of a deceased Korean billionaire, which later turns out to be False Memories caused by hallucinogen-inducing drugs spiked in his drink.
  • The protagonist in Annie (as well as in the 1999 adaptation) was left at the orphanage as a one-year-old with only a note and a locket to tie her to her birth parents (see Theatre below). Played with in the 2014 version, in which Annie was actually 4 years old when she was left at an Italian restaurant with her locket and a note written on the receipt by her real parents. The novelization of the 1982 film indicates that at least one of the other orphans, July, was also left at the orphanage in similar fashion (with her unusual name being a product of a likely misspelling in the note left with her; her original name was probably Julie, but the note — clearly written by someone who was barely literate — spelled it as "July", and that's what stuck).
  • Literally in Bachelor Mother, in which Polly is strolling by when she sees someone leave a baby on the doorstop of an orphanage. Polly reaches down to stop the baby from rolling down the steps, when the door opens, and the workers inside mistake her for the baby's mother. A whole movie's worth of comic misunderstandings follow.
  • Batman Returns: Oswald Cobblepot, alias The Penguin. Not so much left on the doorstep as Mosesed to be Raised By Penguins.
  • Bones & All: Maren was raised by her father, and never knew her mother. After her father abandons her (because he is tired of covering up her cannibalistic urges), she goes in search of her mother, only to find out that her mother was a doorstep baby.
  • Border: Tina is a Swedish woman who discovers that she is a troll, and that there is a secretive group of trolls in Finland. The film ends with her finding a large box on her doorstep. In the box is a baby troll, and a postcard of Finland.
  • The kung-fu film The Boxer From The Temple; the protagonist is a doorstop baby dumped on the steps of the Shaolin Temple.
  • In Breakfast on Pluto, Patrick/Kitten is left by his mother on the doorstep of his father — the priest. (He's placed with a foster family.)
  • Broker starts with So-yeong abandoning her baby in front of Sang-hyeon and Dong-soo's church. Detective Soo-jin goes and puts the baby in the baby hatch, so he won't freeze to death.
  • This happens in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, where a baby is born old and ages backwards. The baby's mother died in childbirth, making the father swear that he'll have a place in the world. When the father gets a glimpse of his child, he's horrified and repulsed, and runs out the door with it. He seems to be about to throw the baby into a river when a policeman scares him away, so he leaves him on the doorstep of an old people's home. Unusually for this trope, not only do the people running the place not notice until they nearly step on him, but later the father meets and recognizes his son.
  • Fools' Parade: Johnny Jesus was abandoned in a cardboard box beneath a movie theater seat as an infant.
  • The live-action movie How the Grinch Stole Christmas! makes this trope a part of the Grinch's extended backstory. Couples in the miniature world of the Whos don't get children through pregnancy and birth, but rather a stork-like system in which babies float down from the sky in parachute baskets and the air currents carry each one to the door of its parents. Well, the little green baby Grinch arrived in Whoville by some mistake in front of a random door, and was adopted by two women (possibly sisters) who found him there the next morning. The identity of the Grinch's real parents—that is, the ones who were supposed to get him and presumably looked like him rather than the Whos—remains an mystery.
  • John from Charlie Chaplin's The Kid (1921) is an interesting example. His mother left him in the car of a wealthy family, complete with a letter. When the criminals who stole the car discovered the baby, they dropped it off in an alley next to a trash can, where Charlie finds him.
  • Kolya: Louka enters into a Citizenship Marriage to get paid in order for allowing his Russian bride to emigrate to Czechoslovakia. But then the Russian bride lights out for West Germany...and then her aunt is killed in a car wreck. This chain of events leads to Louka the swinging bachelor very unexpectedly in charge of a five-year-old boy.
  • The live-action movie Little Man has a gangster who is supposed to be able to pass for a baby leave himself at someone's doorstep. Basically, it's a live-action ripoff of the Bugs Bunny cartoon below.
  • Carina from Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales was left at an orphanage's door with just her name and a diary left by her father.
  • Jane in Predestination. After the Barkeeper snatches her as a newborn from the nursery, he travels back in time and delivers her to the doorsteps of the City of Cleveland Orphanage and subsequently calls in to make sure the box is noticed.
  • Junior in Problem Child was left repeatedly at different doorstops by each of the adoptive parents, even as he outgrew the basket.
  • In Samantha, the titular character is left on a doorstep by her parents, a pair of musically talented but emotionally cold people who just didn't want to deal with the hassle of parenthood. The residents of the house are also jerks who don't want to deal with a baby and leave her on the doorstep of another couple. Thankfully, this couple actually wanted to be parents and adopt the baby as their own daughter.
  • Silent Hill: Sharon was left on the doorstep of the orphanage where she was soon adopted by Rose and Chris. It was all part of Alessa's plan to use Sharon as a motivator to get someone to come to Silent Hill and help her get revenge on the cult that ruined her life.
  • In Spaceballs, Lone Starr told Princess Vespa he was placed on a doorstep of a monastery and raised by monks. The only knowledge of his parents is a medallion with an unknown message carried with him.
  • in Stalag 17, one of the POWs receives a letter from his wife saying that she "found" a baby that happens to look a lot like her (her husband had been away fighting for more than a year).
  • Stardust: Tristan's mother leaves him with his father to care for when he's born, since he can give their baby a better life in England.
  • Happened in the Super Mario Bros. (1993) movie, in the opening scene. Daisy's mother leaves her egg at a chapel in Brooklyn, along with a meteorite shard, which Daisy later wears as a necklace.
  • Three Men and a Baby (both the original French movie and American remake) starts with the baby being left on their doorstep (one of the three is the baby's father, but they all end up raising her).
  • In Vivarium, young couple Tom and Gemma are trapped in an artificial suburban neighborhood and are delivered a baby in a cardboard box labeled "Raise the child and be released."
  • In The Wizard of Oz (1925), Aunt Em tells Dorothy that she was left on Aunt Em and Uncle Henry's doorstep 18 years ago, with only a note.


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By Title

  • 20 Years After, the sequel to The Three Musketeers, establishes that Aramis' ex-girlfriend slept with Athos while thinking he was a priest (it makes more sense in context), and left the resulting child on the priest's doorstep. Athos heard about it and adopted his own son, Raoul.
  • In The Aether Cycle Stephen is left on the doorstep of the orphanage he lives in before he's adopted by Bethany.
  • Ascendance of a Bookworm: One of the responsibilities Myne winds up taking on is being the temple orphanage's director. Only so much time passes before someone leaves a baby with the man guarding the temple's gate.
  • Megan Whalen Turner's short story The Baby in the Night Deposit Box has the namesake infant deposited at a bank. Since the child was legally deposited there for safekeeping, and therefore entrusted specifically to the bank, the bank staff raise and educate her in-house, despite the efforts of a shifty CPS worker who turns out to be working for the Big Bad.
  • In the original version of The Bobbsey Twins "The Bobbsey Twins and Baby May" was about the Bobbsey family finding a doorstop baby.
  • The title character of Josephine Tey's novel Brat Farrar was abandoned on the doorstep of an orphanage; as an adult, he is passed off as a child who had vanished at age 10, leaving an ambiguous note.
  • In The Bridge of San Luis Rey, the twin babies later named Esteban and Manuel are found in a basket at the door of the convent. They become the favorites of the Abbess Maria.
  • Bruce Coville's Book of... Monsters: Dum Pling, AKA "Little Dumpling" (or L.D. for short), the titular "little brother" from My Little Brother is a Monster, whom Jason and his mother discover on their doorstep with a (badly written) note which asks them to take care of him. Jason's mother cheerfully takes in the baby, though Jason isn't exactly thrilled about it. Things become more complicated on the night of the full moon, when Dumpling turns back into his true monster form. Turns out Dumpling is actually the prince of a kingdom of monsters who was taken to the human world to protect him from the usurpers of the kingdom. Dumpling's real name is actually "Dum Pling" which is "Prince" in the monster language. By the end of the story, Jason has accepted Dumpling as his brother and is prepared to protect him.
  • Captain Corelli's Mandolin: Pelagia finds a baby girl one day left on the doorstep of her house. She speculates that the mother was a wartime rape victim, and chose that house because a doctor and his daughter lived there and would take care of her baby.
  • The title character of the Cat Royal series was left on the steps of the Theatre Royal as a toddler. She mentions that the theatre owner, Mr Sheridan, probably only took her in because he was a bit drunk at the time.
  • In the book The Children On The Top Floor, a television personality makes a Christmas Eve speech in which he says he envies all the families out there with children... and in the morning he finds four babies left on his doorstep.
  • Daughter of Fortune: A baby is left at the door of the Sommers home in 19th century Chile. She is found wrapped inside a man's sweater and tucked inside a box. Rose Sommers recognizes the sweater as one she knitted for her brother, a sea captain. She realizes it is likely to be her niece and insists in adopting her, despite her oldest brother's misgivings.
  • Milton from The Destiny Of Milton Gomrath was left on the steps of an orphanage as a baby.
  • In the Discworld novel Thief of Time, both Lobsang Ludd and Jeremy Clockson were left on doorsteps as infants (Jeremy at the Clockmaker's Guild, and Lobsang at the Thieves' Guild before he was discovered in his late teens by the History Monks). It turns out they're brothers, in a manner of speaking.
  • Keith Laumer's Doorstep did this, although in his version the baby was a huge insect- or crustacean-looking thing and it took the army with lots of artillery to kill it — and then they decoded the message which read, "Please take good care of my little girl."
  • In Sarah A. Hoyt's Draw One in the Dark, Kyrie's Back Story. She grew up in foster homes.
  • The Jacqueline Wilson novel Dustbin Baby, about a Doorstop Baby (actually found abandoned in a bin, as the title suggests) who sets out to trace her past on the day of her 14th birthday.
  • Twig in The Edge Chronicles was abandoned in a woodtroll village. His parents had no choice; if they hadn't left him they would have had to walk back home through the Deepwoods, where all three would likely have perished.
  • Fairest: Protagonist Aza is a variation, as she was left in a room at an inn rather than on a literal doorstep. Fortunately, the inkeeper and his wife were kind people who raised her as their own alongside their three biological children.
    Aza: The wench who brought me to the inn paid for our chamber in advance and smuggled me in unseen. The next morning she smuggled herself out, leaving me behind.
  • In Christopher Moore's Fool, Pocket is left on the doorstep of an abbey as a baby.
  • Freckles in Gene Stratton-Porter's Freckles.
    Does it seem to you that anyone would take a newborn baby and row over it, until it was bruised black, cut off its hand, and leave it out in a bitter night on the steps of a charity home, to the care of strangers? That's what somebody did to me
  • A baby is found in a capsule in Galaxy of Fear: Army of Terror. No one knows where he's from and the best clue anyone has is that the Big Bad had him there for experiments. The kids who find him immediately want to adopt him, though he turns out to be a Tykebomb, and the Big Bad arranged for them to find him.
  • Goblins in the Castle: William, who was brought to Toad-in-a-Cage Castle in a basket as an infant. Goblins on the Prowl explains how he came to be brought there — as he'd recently been orphaned, the sorceress Sophronia took him there so he'd grow up safely until the time was right for him to break the spell keeping her husband trapped, which only he could do.
  • In The Godsend, this is how the Marlowe family end up with Bonnie, sort of: The Marlowes met Bonnie's mum and took her into their home, she gave birth during the night and left her daughter at the doorstep.
  • Harry Potter:
    • The title character of the books follows this trope, left by Albus Dumbledore (with some help from Rubeus Hagrid, and the reluctant approval of Minerva McGonagall) on his aunt, Petunia Dursley's doorstep, with a letter. The book makes it clear they knew the Dursleys were home when they left him, but unlike many versions of this trope, the Dursleys didn't exactly welcome Baby Harry into their homes with open arms.
    • In one of the many parallels between the mortal enemies Voldemort ended up an orphan as well except in his case he was still in his mother's womb when she ended up asking for help in an orphanage.
  • Hetty Feather, The main thing driving the plot is the fact that Hetty is a foundling, and her struggle to shed that image.
  • Inverted in a short story in Highlights. A man who has recently come into a large amount of money discovers that it has been cursed, and the only way to lift the curse is to give the money away. He leaves the money, wrapped in a cloth, on the doorstep of an orphanage. The orphanage matron, upon seeing the bundle, assumes it to be a baby before she gets a closer look at the contents.
  • This is Otto's backstory in the H.I.V.E. Series, being left outside an orphanage. The narrative mentions the staff are used to dealing with this kind of situation.
  • This trope applies to the novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame, in which Quasimodo is abandoned outside Notre Dame due to his genetic deformities and Frollo takes him in out of kindness and pity since no one else would.
  • InCryptid: Little Fran was left outside the flap of the main tent of the circus she grows up to perform with. Calculated Risks reveals this was because she was half-Kairos, and the Johrlac were hunting down her and her parents.
  • The Locked Tomb: Gideon the Ninth: Gideon was a day old when she arrived in Drearburh, safely enclosed in the bio-container of a dead woman's hazard suit. The acolytes tried to summon the woman's soul back to ask her what the hell was going on, but all she did was yell "Gideon! Gideon! Gideon!" and then disperse, so that's what they named the baby.
  • In Poppy Z. Brite's Lost Souls (1992), Nothing is left on the doorstep of a human couple.
  • In the Mermaids (2001) trilogy, Rani was found as a baby in a clam-shell at the edge of Tingle Reef. She was adopted by a local family of merfolk and brought up in the reef. Her biological parents put her and her twin brother Peri in different shells to protect them during a sea-quake. Her parents were both killed in the quake, and Peri was found by servants of the Mer-King and brought back to his birthplace, but Rani is presumed dead by her surviving family until she grows old enough to go Gene Hunting.
  • The Mermaid's Sister:
    • One October night, Auntie Verity heard a knock at the door. When she opened it, there was nothing there but a giant conch shell on the path. Auntie took it in and set it on the table. When she tipped it, baby Maren fell out.
    • Auntie has told her other adopted daughter, Clara, that she was brought by a Delivery Stork three days after Maren arrived. In fact, she was brought by Scarff, whose middle name means Stork. He found her on the steps of an abandoned orphanage.
    • The sisters' friend O'Neill was found by a priest in a basket under an apple tree in a churchyard. The priest was too old to raise a child and didn't want to send him to the Orphanage of Fear, so he gave him to the traveling merchant Scarff. Scarff took O'Neill to Auntie's cottage, wanting to give the girls a brother, but O'Neill cried whenever he was out of Scarff's sight, so Scarff took him on his travels and raised him as his son.
  • The Moomins: Moominpappa was left on the doorstep of an orphanage. Wrapped in a newspaper.
  • In Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe novel The Mother Hunt, Wolfe's client is the widow of a famous author who answered the doorbell one night to find a baby wrapped in a blanket in her foyer, with a note pinned to the blanket that said "This is Richard's son. A boy should grow up in his father's house." She has no difficulty believing that her late husband was the father, but she wants Wolfe to find out who the mother is.
  • Early on in the old classic Nobodys Boy, both the reader and the title character discover that he was this, and was kept by his "mother" in defiance of the wishes of his "father" after the latter left home to work in a city. When his "father" returns home, he almost immediately sells the young boy to a travelling entertainer who, fortunately for the boy, is a kind and gentle man.
  • In Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey, no family in Catherine's neighborhood raised a boy found on their doorstep. No wonder she had to leave home to have adventures.
  • Annabeth Chase from Percy Jackson is one - to hear her tell it, so are all other children of Athena. Her dad wanted to send him back but Athena insisted she be raised by him (as the mortal parent.)
  • In The Pinballs, Thomas J was abandoned as a two-year old in front of a farmhouse belonging to two octogenerian twin sisters named Thomas and Jefferson (their father named them after his favorite president). The sisters took him in without reporting him to the authorities, and it isn't until they both break their hips and end up in the hospital that Thomas J is discovered and sent to a foster home. He doesn't even know his birth name; the sisters had no way of finding out his name, so they began calling him "Thomas J" as a derivative of their own names.
  • Florida and Dallas from Ruby Holler were abandoned on the steps of an orphanage in a crate containing travel brochures and nothing else, not even anything to tell the orphanage owners their names. They were named after the brochures in the crate.
  • Gaylen from The Search for Delicious was left in a basket at the castle gate. The Prime Minister took him in and raised him as his son.
  • Astronomer Carl Sagan's book Shadows of our Forgotten Ancestors, sets this up as Book Ends, the idea of humanity as a doorstop baby, an orphan raised by the laws of the universe and growing up to wonder about its origins and how it got there. Only fragments of a note remain - the fossil record.
  • The Shadowhunter Chronicles:
    • After their faerie mother, Nerissa, died, Helen and Mark Blackthorn were left on the steps of the Los Angeles Institute by their aunt Nene (Nerissa's sister), to be cared by their human father, Andrew Blackthorn.
    • In the short story "Born to Endless Night", a warlock baby is left on the steps of the academy and found by Simon Lewis and his friends. Warlock babies being abandoned isn't uncommon. Warlocks are the result of a demon and human breeding and sometimes the human parent is not willing to raise a magical, visibly non-human child (that they may not have even wanted in the first place). Coincidentally, warlock Magnus Bane is visiting the academy with his boyfriend Alec Lightwood as a guest lecturer. Magnus and Alec end up adopting the baby warlock, naming him Max.
  • In the world of Team Human, where vampires live openly among humans, people sometimes leave unwanted babies on vampire doorsteps to be quietly disappeared. Kit was one of these babies, but the family adopted him instead.
  • The Thirteenth Tale:
    • Vida left Emmeline's son, later known as Ambrose Proctor, at the door of a house in the village because Adeline would have murdered him before long; in fact in the 2013 adaptation Vida takes him from Angelfield as Adeline prepares to set him on fire.
    • Vida herself was left abandoned by her unknown mother at Angelfield.
  • In Poul Anderson's Three Hearts and Three Lions, the protagonist, Holger Carlsen, was found abandoned in a courtyard as a baby. It turns out that he's not really from around here, though he doesn't know it.
    "Believe it or not," he grinned, "I really vas the baby in the cartoons, you know, the vun left on the doorstep. I must have been only a few days old ven I vas found in a courtyard in Helsingør. That's the very pretty place you call Elsinore, Hamlet's home town. I never learned vere I came from. Such happenings is very rare in Denmark, and the police tried hard to find out, but they never did."
    • Alianora was also found abandoned and raised by dwarves.
  • In Tokis Baby, we're introduced to Rose this way when her aunt, Doki, finds her on Toki's porch. Likewise, we're also introduced to Bunny's younger cousins this way when they're dropped on Toki's porch.
  • In the YA novel Unwind, set in a future where birth control is banned, babies may legally be abandoned on a doorstep — a practice known as "storking". As you may imagine, this is a Deconstruction of sorts of the trope - what if the family doesn't want the baby? The question is answered disturbingly: One of the main characters relates a past experince in which his family recived a "storked" baby, only to drop it off on the neighbour's doorstep at night (the rule is, if no one sees you doing it, it's not your baby). Then the neighbours do the same thing. And their neighbours. And their neighbours. The baby died.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In an episode of 7th Heaven, Simon helps a friend turn her newborn she can't take care of over to a hospital in a didactic script intended to publicize the existence of "safe haven" laws.
    • Grey's Anatomy has had a similar episode. Since that show's set in a hospital, that should've been interesting.
    • While not as Anvilicious, Joan of Arcadia had an episode dealing with an abandoned baby. A "safe haven" law is referenced during a discussion.
  • Stephanie Mills, introduced in season 9 of All in the Family, is a variation of this trope. While not an actual baby (she was about 9 years old when first introduced), she was left on the Bunkers' doorstep by her alcoholic father, who also happened to be Edith's nephew.
  • The Distant Finale of 'Allo 'Allo! featured Rene's son, who was left on the doorstep as a baby, but who looks identical to Rene.
  • Bottom:
    • Eddie claims to have been left on a doorstep by his mother with her old service revolver and a note saying "Please look after my baby... I can't be bothered."
    • In the "Holy" Christmas episode, they find one outside their flat and mistake him for Jesus.
  • A teenage mother leaves her baby on the steps of Nonnatus House (a home for midwives) in Call the Midwife's 2012 Christmas Episode.
  • In Carrusel, the local Tsundere Valeria finds a baby girl named Pelusita.
  • The sisters find one in one episode of Charmed. It turns out that the father's family was being tormented by a demon, and he hoped the child would be safe if given to another family instead.
  • In an episode of Chicago Fire, a little girl named Charlotte comes into Firehouse 51 with her parents on her 12th birthday to take photos with the trucks and the firemen. Lieutenant Hermann decides to make her birthday a little more special by introducing her to Chief Boden. Upon meeting him, Charlotte asks him if he recognizes her. When he admits that he doesn't, she explains; exactly 12 years ago, she was left on the doorstep of Firehouse 51, and Boden was the fireman who found her that day. Boden, on the verge of tears, says that he had always wondered what had happened to her. Charlotte reveals that she was Happily Adopted, lives with her parents in Indiana, and came to the firehouse so she could personally thank him for saving her life.
  • Come Back Mrs. Noah. Garstang says he has no idea how old he is, as he was found wrapped in newspaper with some fish and chips.
    Cunliffe: Well didn't the newspaper have a date on it?
    Garstang: It was the comic page!
  • Neil deGrasse Tyson compares the human race to this in Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey: alone on Earth with no idea where it came from or what its purpose is.
  • Criminal Minds:
    • In "Safe Haven", a woman left her thirteen-year-old son at a hospital (see the Real Life section for how this was possible) because he was severely unhinged and she was afraid of him.
    • In "Soul Mates", the cop of the week asked where they found Reid. Rossi joked that he was left in a basket of the steps of the FBI.
  • Legendarily, each version/remake of telenovela Cristal has the younger heroine being abandoned at a nunnery as a baby, only to grown up and unknowingly become the rival/main obstacle of her own mother.
  • Dinnerladies' Anita left her baby on the fire escape. Everyone thought it was Bren's.
  • The Doctor on the Go episode "When Did You Last See Your Mother?" revolves around a baby being left on Dr. Duncan Waring's doorstep, accompanied by a note reading "Baby Duncan". Waring, who has loved and left many women over the years, assumes he must be the father and tries to track down the mother among his ex-girlfriends. He takes quite a liking to the baby after a while, but eventually the mother shows up - and she is not an ex-girlfriend of his after all.
  • Doctor Who: In "Ascension of the Cybermen", a subplot concerns an Irishman named Brendan, who was found as a baby in a basket on the road by his adoptive father with no note or anything else to identify him. It turns out that he doesn't exist, but is an allegory for the Timeless Child.
    • The new Series 14 companion Ruby Sunday was left outside a church on Christmas Eve as a newborn by a mysterious woman. It's teased that part of the season arc will involve untangling the mystery of her birth.
  • Los Espookys: Andrés was left on the doorstep of an orphanage during a rainstorm. The parents tried to call a nun to the door, but she was too busy watching a telenovela and didn't see who they were. He was later adopted by the owners of a chocolate empire who are, in fact, the same parents who abandoned him, having changed their minds shortly after leaving him at the orphanage.
  • In the Father Ted Christmas episode "A Christmassy Ted" had Ted finding one outside. The mother immediately comes back saying she left it at the wrong house. Ted goes in and lampshades to the others wondering about the shenanigans they would have had looking after it.
  • On General Hospital, Luke blasts his niece Carly for her anger at her birth mother Bobbie, telling her that she wasn't one of these.
  • On The Golden Girls, Rose tells of having been left in a basket at an orphanage... along with some beefsticks, cheeses, and "some kind of cracker that didn't go with anything." She's Minnesotan, for those who find this scenario confusing. It's called a "cracker barrel", generally used for those occasions where full-blown catering would be too much but food is still expected. The crackers never seem to be right for the cheese.
  • In one episode of Law & Order: SVU, a couple is found to have kidnapped two teenage girls and sexually abused them. Because the husband didn't want any other males in the house, if the girls got pregnant and gave birth to boys, the babies would be taken away and then abandoned. This turned out to be the couple's downfall, however, as the cases of the abandoned babies eventually led police back to the couple.
  • The final episode of Lois & Clark ends with the discovery of such a baby (wrapped in a Superman logo blanket) in L&C's living room. How it got there without Clark (who has super-hearing) hearing something is never explained. It was supposed to be the starting point for the fifth season, but the show was cancelled.
  • In one episode of MacGyver, Jack Dalton finds a baby, allegedly his son, in the cockpit of his plane.
  • This trope serves as Bookends of the M*A*S*H episode "Yessir, That's Our Baby". The episode begins with a baby girl fathered by an American G.I. being abandoned by her Korean mother at the 4077th M*A*S*H. As they subsequently learn, she can't be sent to a standard orphanage because she'll face persecution in Korean society for being part-American, and the doctors' subsequent efforts to get her shipped out to the United States are unsucessful. At the end of the episode, the doctors are forced to effectively repeat the process, depositing her at a nearby monastery via a foundling wheel as the isolated monastery is the only place she'll be able to grow up safe.
  • Constable George Crabtree in the Canadian TV series Murdoch Mysteries was left in a carpetbag on a clergyman's doorstep. His later attempt to find his birth mother was, um, more than successful.
  • In an episode of Pee-wee's Playhouse, "Spring", Cowboy Curtis asks if the King and Queen of Cartoons found their baby boy in a basket on the doorstep of their castle. The King says no.
  • In an episode of Perception (2012), Dr. Pierce finds a baby in a basket left at his doorstep. It's actually just one of his hallucinations.
  • Red Dwarf: Lister is an example of this, having been first found in a cardboard box under a pool table in the Aigburth Arms in Liverpool. “Ouroboros” reveals the identity of his parents, which is stranger than one assumes.
  • Rizzoli & Isles: In "Melt My Heart to Stone", Lydia leaves her baby on Maura's doorstep.
    • In another episode a divorced woman was murdered by her ex-husband's fiance who wanted sole custody of their child. The fiance had left the baby on the doorstep of a church with the intent being that the murder would look like a robbery gone wrong and the child would be found by the church staff and returned to them. In the end a homeless lady ended up finding the child and looking after him until the police put everything together and tracked her down.
  • In Smallville, Jor-El sent his son Kal-El to Smallville because the Kent family helped him when he visited Earth and Harmon Kent (Jonathan's father) assured Jor-El that he could always count on the Kents if he needed anything.
  • The pilot episode of The Waltons had a six-year-old deaf-mute girl left on the Waltons' doorstep by her mother after the father - mistakenly believing her to be mentally retarded - threatened to have her institutionalized.

  • Murdoc Niccals of Gorillaz was abandoned on his father's doorstep, presumably by his Missing Mom. Noodle, aged eight, was left on the doorstep of Kong Studios in a FedEx crate, seconds after Murdoc finished placing the ad for a guitarist.
  • The Decemberists' "The Chimbley Sweep":
    I am an orphan, an orphan boy
    I've known no love, I've seen no mother's joy
    A dirty doorstep my cradle laid
    My fortune's made, I'll shake you from your sleep
  • According to a tongue-in-cheek biography on his record label's website, Sufjan Stevens was found on his adoptive parent's doorstep in a milk crate.
  • The protagonist of the David Bowie song "Day-In Day-Out": "She was born in a handbag/Love left on a doorstep..." Unfortunately, life never really gets any better as she grows to adulthood.
  • "This Night Has Opened My Eyes" by The Smiths:
    In a river the colour of lead
    Immerse the baby's head
    Wrap her up in The News of the World
    And dump her on a doorstep, girl.
  • Vernon Dalhart's "The Baby on the Doorstep":
    Baby on the doorstep, lonely little one
    Whose little heart keeps cryin' "Mama, where've you gone?"
    No one there to love you, no one to keep you warm
    Baby on the doorstep, dyin' in the storm
  • Donna Summer's "Born to Die":
    Just a baby
    On a doorstep
    It's how they found me
    Cold and hungry

    Myth & Folklore 
  • The Saga of the Jomsvikings: Jarl Arnfinn, wishing to keep his incestuous affair with his own sister a secret, arranges for his newborn son to be abandoned in a forest where the Danish king Gorm the Childless is hunting. As planned, the boy is found and brought to the king, who has him raised as a royal and eventually names him his successor. Because the boy is left with gold knotted into a cloth hanging from branches above his head, Gorm calls him Knútr ("knot"), and he becomes the founder of the Danish royal house of Knytlings.


  • This was Annie's origin, left on the orphanage steps with a letter and half of a locket.
  • The Importance of Being Earnest. After discovering Jack Worthing proposing to her daughter, the formidable Lady Bracknell interrogates Jack about his suitability. Things seem to be going well until Jack admits he was discovered as a baby inside a handbag (a somewhat large, black leather hand-bag, with handles to it) left in the cloakroom at Victoria Station (on the Brighton line).
    Lady Bracknell: The line is immaterial. Mr. Worthing, I confess I feel somewhat bewildered by what you have just told me. To be born, or at any rate bred, in a hand-bag, whether it had handles or not, seems to me to display a contempt for the ordinary decencies of family life that reminds one of the worst excesses of the French Revolution.
  • In The Lady's Not for Burning, Richard says he was found as a baby in the donation box of the local church.
  • In Scott Joplin's opera Treemonisha, the heroine is a foundling. The couple who find and raise her name her after her foster mother, Monisha—and the tree under which they found her.

    Video Games 
  • Leaving a baby on the doorstep of an orphanage lets you sneak inside the opened door to loot the place in Leather Goddesses of Phobos.
  • Persona 5: Ten years prior to the game's events, a woman came up to the Yakuza office and went on about selling a baby she was carrying. Thinking her to be a drug junkie needing money for a fix, Munehisa Iwai denied her request, but then she left the baby there and ran off. That baby was Iwai's adopted son, Kaoru, and his decision to raise the child was part of why he left the mob.
  • In Potion Permit, Russo was dropped off at the church by his parents when he was a baby, and Sister Socellia immediately took him in. Russo resents them for abandoning him in the first place, but is happy to have Socellia as his guardian.
  • Silent Hill:
    • In the first game, Harry Mason's daughter, Cheryl, was left by the side of the road in a manner like this. Harry and his wife took her in and soon officially adopted her. Seven years later, he probably ends up wondering whether that was a good idea.
    • In Silent Hill 4: The Room, it is revealed that Walter Sullivan, the main antagonist, was abandoned by his parents as a baby in Room 302 of South Ashfield Heights. Although Frank Sunderland took him in, he eventually ended up in an orphanage in Silent Hill, where he was abused horrifically. This twisted Walter's psyche to the point that, since he never knew his parents, he believes Room 302 itself is his mother.

  • Chapter 5 of Alice and the Nightmare reveals that Edith and all of her other siblings were left on the doorstep of the woman they call Mom.
  • In the Webcomic called BlindSpot (now regrettably defunct), Dr. Dorian Mitchell is instructed to destroy the clone EUM061 he'd been raising at the laboratory. Harboring somewhat fatherly feelings toward the Designer Baby, he elects to drug him and smuggle him out of the lab instead; however, while driving down the highway, he panics and ends up leaving the child by the road unconscious.
  • Broken in the Light begins with the protagonist, Kane, being left on the doorstep of an Orphanage of Lovenote , along with some dog tags with his name. It turns out that he's a werewolf and his mother was apparently captured by the villain shortly after leaving him.
  • The Cyantian Chronicles: Silver and other black, white and silver fox cubs. It helps that the parents are protecting them from a killer ruler who ordered the death of all of the black, silver and white foxes to eliminate the previous ruling caste. Thankfully, the fox ruling cast gets better.
  • Dragon Mango: Spoofed; the alchemist Cupcake explains that she doesn't know exactly what race she is, because her adoptive mother and mentor, Chocolate Explosion, found her lying in a box on the doorstep. Her immediate reaction upon seeing the box: "I didn't order this!"
  • No actual doorsteps are involved (the ectobabies are delivered via meteor), but this is essentially what happens to every human in the group of protagonists in Homestuck with one (two?) peripheral exception(s): "Dad" in the pre-Scratch universe is the biological son of Nanna (who does fit this trope), and "Dad" in the post-Scratch universe is the son of Poppop (who, again, does fit this trope), though it's never outright stated whether post-Dad is Poppop's biological or adopted son, and it's possible he was a foundling as well.
  • In Irrelevator this happens. Except the baby is not left on a doorstop, and we don't know where or why it's there.
  • Probably the only time the Doorstop Baby is in on it, in Kevin & Kell, after the clone Dolly found herself regressed to a baby via an accident with a time machine, she conspired with her DNA parent Corrie and Corrie's boyfriend to leave herself (now going by Mary) on the doorstep of Candace Canid. The funny thing? That made the second time she was adopted by Candace.
  • This is the origin of the Lead Nun in Little Nuns, left on the doorstep of the convent as a baby.
  • In PvP, Skull the Troll's diminutive cousin Sheky passes himself off as an abandoned infant (with a note to Skull to take care of him) so he can pickpocket the entire crew. He is found out and admits his real story.
  • In Sinfest, it's the new year, on Slick's doorsteps.

    Web Animation 
  • Chadam: Viceroy was left on the doorstep of an orphanage, in the rain, by his mother.
  • Gridiron Heights: In the Season 3 finale, a baby Kyler Murray (It Makes Sense in Context) is dropped on Eli Manning's/the Giants' doorstep by "Baseball". note 

    Web Video 
  • commodoreHUSTLE: A baby is found in their trash filled basement, with no one sure where she came from. They decide to keep her as a prop. The baby in question is Kathleen and Graham's real life daughter, and is later seen as a toddler, standing in a box labelled "Prop Baby".
  • This is Francis' origin in Friendship is Witchcraft according to one of Twilight's songs. He wasn't a newborn though, in fact he seems older than Twilight.
    I always wanted my own brother.
    But then he showed up at our door.
    I didn't question where he came from.
    I wasn't lonely anymore.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time: In the season 6 opener, The Lich gets turned into a giant baby. Finn and Jake leave him outside the home of the recently married Mr. Pig and Tree Trunks. Crosses over with Babies Make Everything Better since Tree Trunks may have been in the process of asking for a divorce just beforehand, but immediately changed her tune when the baby showed up.
  • In All Hail King Julien, it's revealed Maurice was found by Julien's family when the two were babies. However, Maurice was left by his kind to die as a sacrifice to their gods, and not meant to be found and adopted.
  • In the 1980s series Alvin and the Chipmunks, it's established that Alvin, Simon, and Theodore were left at the door of David Seville's cabin near the woods, where he was a struggling songwriter. All he saw was a cloaked figure running back into the woods. In A Chipmunk Reunion, their mother explains that it had been a particularly brutal winter, and she hadn't had the resources to feed them. Although she'd always intended to go back and get them in the spring, their immediate success as musical artists under Dave's tutelage made her think they'd be better off without her.
  • Bounty Hamster. Marion was left to be Raised by Wolves, though their initial reaction to a hamster being left at their doorstep is to ask if someone ordered takeout.
  • A Bugs Bunny cartoon, Baby Buggy Bunny (1954), features a midget gangster nicknamed Baby Face Finster who "leaves" himself at the mouth of Bugs's rabbit-hole, in order to recover a valise full of stolen money he had accidentally dropped down there. Hilarity genuinely ensues.
  • On one episode of Camp Lazlo, Chip and Skip did this to themselves to get Jane, the scoutmistress of the girls' camp, to adopt them. Jane assumed Lumpus did it to get out of taking care of them, and was less than pleased with him.
  • A nearly identical variation of the Bugs Bunny example provided the main plot of the Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers episode "Dirty Rotten Diapers" in which, much like Baby Face Finster, a midget gangster pulls the same stunt in order to check the loot that his two henchwomen would actually steal. Although, in this case, his plan is almost ruined, as the couple at first think to take the wiser option and call child services; they relent a little and bring him inside due to his crying.
  • Classic Disney Shorts:
    • Mickey Mouse winds up with a kid this way in the cartoon Mickey Plays Papa (a cartoon which notably featured Mickey dressing as his muse The Tramp to entertain the child). The cloaked anonymous mother in the beginning is actually quite sinister looking.
    • In the short Officer Duck, Donald Duck disguises himself as a Doorstop Baby to infiltrate the hideout of criminal Tiny Tom (Pete). Donald spends much of the cartoon bibbed and diapered, making for some amusing antics.
    • At the end of "Bearly Asleep", Humphrey the Bear disguises himself as a doorstop baby to get into his cave after Donald kicks him out of his cabin. He gets this idea after seeing a baby bonnet on a teddy bear that Donald tosses out, and uses said bonnet as part of his disguise. This plan works, as the other bears all find him adorable.
  • Every Child features a baby who keeps getting passed from doorstop to doorstop, as the middle-class residents of the neighborhood the baby was dumped in each find reasons not to keep it.
  • Quagmire found a baby girl on his doorstep on Family Guy. In this case, it was actually his own daughter from a one-night stand. He ultimately gives her up for adoption.
  • Bamm-Bamm in The Flintstones, who is found on the Rubbles' doorstep the morning after Barney and Betty wish for a baby on a falling star.
  • Leela in Futurama was one of these and, as an adult, she still has the basket. However, she was left with Cookieville, a minimum security "orphanarium", instead of adoptive parents. (The caretaker casually throws her basket onto a pile of others.) She eventually meets her mutant parents and finds out why they left her there.
  • In Growing Up Creepie, Creepie is an orphan left on doorstep of the Dweezwold Mansion, which is home to a family of various insects.
  • The Johnny Bravo episode 'Damien's Day Out" has a woman leave her demonic baby in a basket at Johnny's doorstep, resulting in Johnny having to look after Damien before his mom eventually comes back to reclaim him.
  • The title character of Little Elvis Jones and the Truckstoppers was left on the doorstop of a truckstop in a guitar case, by a mysterious Cadillac that vanished into the night. His parents, Elvis fanatics, are convinced that he's really the son of the King. The kid himself does not believe this, and while he's Happily Adopted, at times he grows quite irritated with their obsession... which, among other things, include venerating a snotty handkerchief used by Elvis at a concert his adoptive mother attended, and forcing him to grow his (red) hair into an Elvis-like coif.
    • Lil Elvis has doubts about the situation, and Once an Episode he speculates over who might have left him there, usually related to the current episode.
  • This trope shows up in a lot of Looney Tunes - the attached note often says things like "Please take care of my Little Schnookums. Signed, Big Schnookums".
  • The Looney Tunes Show: Bugs does this to a de-aged Daffy at the end of "Casa de Calma".
  • The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo pretty much follows the book's version of Quasimodo's abandonment, except that Frollo didn't raise him.
  • The Mighty Mouse short "A Cat's Tale" reveals in a flashback that Mighty Mouse was found in a basket on an old couple's doorstep and adopted by said old couple when he was a baby.
  • Downplayed in The Owl House where the Bat Queen leaves her children at the Owl House with a note for Eda to babysit them. It's not really explained at the time why the wealthiest demon on the Boiling Isles would decide to entrust her offspringe to public enemy #1 without even bothering to check if she was home, but given later reveals in the series (namely the fact that Eda's father has been helping to replant the Bat Queen's forests following his retirement along with the implication of her having a high opinion of their family due to their history as palismen carvers) it makes a lot more sense in hindsight.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "Gone Maggie Gone", Homer leaves Maggie at a church doorstep for a second, only for her to get taken in and Homer can't get her back, setting off the plot for the rest of the episode.
    • Show Within a Show example; in the The Itchy & Scratchy Show episode, "Foster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!", Itchy passes himself off as one at Scratchy's house so Scratchy will adopt him. Scratchy takes an immediate liking to Itchy, only for Itchy to break his baby bottle so he can stab him to death with it and then steal his television set. The episode ends with Scratchy saying, "Why? Why? My only son!" before dying.
  • This happened to all three protagonists of Sonic Underground; one was raised by two commoners and his uncle, one by an aristocratic family, and the last by a skilled thief. Although, the aforementioned third hedgehog baby, Manic, is a minor subversion of the "there's always someone there to answer the door" part of this trope, he was actually (and sadly) stolen at the doorstep of where he was intended to be left, but was raised by the very thief who stole him.
  • Jonathan Kent lampshades this trope in Superman: The Animated Series when trying to explain to Clark where he came from. Clark (initially) thinks it's a joke.
    "Do you know how some babies are found in baskets? (Reveals a rocket) This is how we found you."
  • Tiny Toon Adventures: A bandaged cat does this to Li'l Sneezer at the beginning of the cartoon, Awful Orphan. The place where he drops him off is Elmyra Duff's house.
  • Nibbles, Jerry's adopted nephew on Tom and Jerry, is introduced as this, complete with the letter.
  • Yugo of Wakfu, though technically left in his cradle conspicuously nearby to his foster father and not on his doorstep.
  • Wildfire: Princess Sara was left at the doorstep of her foster father, who actually was her real father.

    Real Life 
  • Many states in the USA have laws, called "safe haven" laws, which allow a newborn child to be dropped off at a hospital emergency room or other spot (fire stations are popular) anonymously, no questions asked. There are some restrictions, in that the child must be under a certain age and can't just be left out in the cold (that is, someone working there must be aware there is a baby that needs care). In fact, these laws were written specifically to keep babies from being left out in the cold.
    • One state, Nebraska, created a safe haven law in 2008 that originally lacked age restrictions. After people started dropping off teenagers, they realized they wrote the law more sweepingly than they intended and readjusted it to infants only.
      • It was a bad few months. Parents were driving hundreds of miles from out-of-state to drop off their older children. One woman drove all the way from California and dropped her teenage son off at the first hospital past the state line mere hours before the age restrictions took effect.
      • One man in Omaha surrendered nine of his ten children after his wife died and admitted he could not care for all of them.
      • Tragically, some people did this with much older children as the only way they could get the children adequate mental health care.
    • Of course the problem with 'safe haven' laws is that present day social conditions mean that nobody has to abandon a baby rather than giving it up properly for adoption meaning that people who want to skip the paper work take advantage of the law while people mentally ill enough to actually abandon a baby continue to do so in dumpsters etc.
    • On the other hand, there are still people who don't have good access to those proper procedures or have reason to be afraid of doing so; undocumented immigrants, teenagers who concealed their pregnancies and are afraid of how their parents would react, women in abusive relationships afraid of how their partner would react, people who are in trouble with the law, etc. For instance, a woman in an abusive relationship might run into roadblocks if she tried to give up a child through the proper procedures since many of these processes would require the father (the abuser) to sign off as well, while a mother who has a warrant out for her arrest might not want her name going into any kind of government record.
  • Further Truth in Television: At one point, Italian hospitals were reintroducing foundling wheels to deal with these sorts of cases.
    • Some German hospitals have them too.
    • Also in Malaysia, in the form of baby hatches, which are rather like the modern version of foundling wheels.
    • So did the Philippines as shown in this video which was the Hospicio de San Jose where the device is called a "turning cradle".
  • A more nightmarish version happened in an episode of Rescue 911, which actually happened. A couple loggers discovered something by the side of the road and wondered what it was. One of then looked and found it was a bunch of blankets - and inside was a baby. One could only imagine what would have happened if they didn't find them when they did.
  • In 1989, two teenagers out for a walk in Fairfax, Virginia discovered a blood-smeared baby girl crying on a doorstep. Nobody seemed to be home at the house, so, panicking, they took the girl home with them and called the police. The infant was taken to a hospital, which pronounced her healthy and not more than twelve hours old. She was adopted soon afterwards, leaving the two teenagers to wonder what had become of her... until about twenty years later, when they received a message on Facebook from a young college student: "Are you the same Chris and Emily who found a baby girl on a doorstep in 1989? If so, I just wanted to say thanks for saving my life."
  • Common in China due to its One Child Policy, which heavily fined parents (outside of rural districts that need the manpower and ethnic minorities) who had more than one child. With a strong cultural preference towards boys (male children are expected to take care of their parents when they grow too old to work), if a firstborn child is a girl, it's been common to just drop them off in a public area, usually near a police station or marketplace, where they'll be easily found. Fortunately, China also had a streamlined paperwork system for foreign adoptions which allowed for many abandoned girls to be Happily Adopted by parents in other countries. This would actually come back to bite China in the ass many years later as the outflow of infant girls resulted in a gender imbalance in China meaning that there were many more men then women available for them to marry. In some extreme cases, women were actually being kidnapped to be forced to be married to other men just so the men could continue their family line. The gender imbalance became a contributing factor to China eventually switching to a Two Child Policy, and they are now even thinking about abolishing child number restrictions altogether...
  • A pastor in Seoul, South Korea has created a “baby box” for people so that people who would otherwise abandon or kill their newborns can leave them somewhere safe instead.
  • This doesn't just happen with human babies: Tragically workers at pet stores regularly discover lots of unwanted kittens, puppies, or less-common pets left at the entrances of their workplaces.
  • A Loony Fan once abandoned a baby on Dolly Parton's doorstep with a note saying "My name is Jolene, my momma has left me here and she wants you to have me." ("Jolene" is one of her most famous songs.) Dolly contacted the local Department of Health and Human Services, who took the infant into their care. She doesn't know what happened to the baby after that.


    Films — Live Action 
  • Parodied in Kung Pow! Enter the Fist: The infant protagonist after being flung out a window during a fight scene, rolls down a hill before coming to rest in front of an old woman. The elderly woman picks up the softly crying infant, rocks him in her arms, says "oh, so cute" and gently rolls him off the other side of the road down the hill again.
  • Norbit was a drive-by doorstop baby.
  • This was already an established film trope in 1921, when D.W. Griffith subverts it in Orphans of the Storm. Just before the French Revolution, a starving peasant couple in Paris decide to leave their baby at the church, since they can't feed her. The father takes the baby, but when he arrives at the church, there is already a baby there. Seeing the other baby not only makes him rethink abandoning his own, but he ends up going home with both of them. They grow up to be played by Lillian and Dorothy Gish.
  • In Problem Child, the baby gets left on approximately eleven successive doorsteps, even as he grows into a toddler, before he's dropped off an an orphanage and a family finally keeps him, much to their future detriment.
  • The Three Stooges took a baby off someone else's doorstep when they thought nobody was home to find it... The mom was only gone for five minutes, and Hilarity Ensues.

  • When The Bobbsey Twins series was revised to keep up with the times, the baby that the Bobbsey family took care of in "The Bobbsey Twins and Baby May" became a baby elephant.
  • Parodied in the children's book Bunnicula, about a vampire rabbit that sucks the juice out of vegetables. The family finds him in a shoebox under a seat in a movie theater where they're watching a Dracula film, along with a note in an obscure Überwald dialect which the family dog translates as "Take good care of my baby."
  • One of the stories in Natalie Babbitt's The Devil's Storybook features a priest finds a baby thus on the doorstep of the church. Only it turns out to be an imp, a baby demon — there's a sulfurous smell and red skin and horns and everything. And a sooty spot that won't rub off the spot where the kid was left on the steps. The priest is all for caring for the kid, thinking it's God's will, but the townsfolk get so upset that a mob ends up setting fire to the church, telling the priest to leave the imp there and come out. Only the priest refuses to abandon a baby, and stands there ready to burn. The church burns down around him, and he remains utterly unharmed — the imp now gone. Afterwards, he wonders which power it was that saved him.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In one sketch from the Australian comedy series The D-Generation, a woman leaves her baby in a blanket on a suburban doorstep with a note. The homeowner peers out of the window and calls the bomb squad, who evacuate the area and safely detonate the 'suspicious package'.
  • The Father Ted Christmas Special begins with the priests finding a baby on their doorstep. As they prepare to take it in, the mother appears to announce she's made a mistake and takes the baby back. Ted muses about how they would have gotten into all kinds of hilarious situations while trying to take care of the baby. Dougal points out that it actually wouldn't have been all that funny, and Ted concurs.
  • In Hot in Cleveland, the women find a baby left on their doorstep. It is revealed that Joy's son Owen had come to visit and the baby is her new grandson, who had been left in fromt of the house while Owen went back to his car to get some things.
  • Discussed in the first episode of Raising Hope. When Jimmy first brings Hope home, Jimmy's mother tries to convince him to leave Hope down at the fire station, because she doesn't think Jimmy is in any way capable of raising a child. Jimmy eventually decides to keep Hope.

    Video Games 

    Web Animation 
  • In the Father Tucker episode "Judgment Day", a flashback shows Father Tucker finding a baby in a basket at his door and taking the child inside with the intent of molesting the infant.

  • Horribly subverted in this Cyanide and Happiness strip, where the baby ends up dying before anyone can find the poor thing.

    Western Animation 
  • Carmen Sandiego: At the end of Season 1, Shadowsan explains to Carmen that he found her abandoned by the roadside in Argentina and took her back to V.I.L.E. headquarters to be raised by the faculty. The subversion is that he's lying. While she is an orphan, she wasn't a foundling at all; the true story is more complicated.
  • The Cuphead Show!: The episode "Baby Bottle" has Cuphead and Mugman finding the titular baby at the door with a note to take care of it. Though as the boys and later Elder Kettle find out, Baby Bottle is an Ax-Crazy Enfant Terrible that deliberately destroys possessions, nearly kill the boys with a chandelie, and rips of Elder Kettle's mustache then beats him up when he scolds him. The episode ends with the family placing Baby Bottle in a basket and dropping it at another family, implying that their own event was part of a Vicious Cycle where it get sent and torments a new household each time.
  • Futurama: In one episode Leela answers the door at the Planet Express building and finds a basket on the doorstep with baby sounds coming from inside. She's about to pick it up when Bender, who thinks it's actually garbage, starts stomping on it. Turns out it's not a baby, it's an invitation to a reunion at the "orphanarium" Leela grew up in.
  • In the Hey Arnold! episode "Stoop Kid", a subversion of the trope is the basis of the episode's titular character. As dictated by Gerald, the legend of Stoop Kid states that he was left on his stoop as a baby, but instead of being taken in and adopted by whoever lived in the house, Stoop Kid was left alone and somehow grew up all by himself with nobody to take care of him.
  • In the Steven Universe Show Within a Show Li'l Butler, an orphan boy is dropped off on a rich family's doorstep. However, instead of being raised as part of the family, he's almost immediately made into the family's butler.
  • Tom and Jerry: Tom's rival, Butch, dresses up in a diaper and baby bonnet and pretends to be a foundling so he can steal food out of the refrigerator, particularly a ham, in the episode "Baby Butch".

    Real Life 
  • A more Nightmare Fuel-inducing subversion in the case of Josef Fritzl, who claimed his daughter had ran away to join a cult, only returning in the dead of night to drop her kids off for her parents to raise and making the neighbors think she was an irresponsible slut. In actuality, Fritzl was holding his daughter captive in the basement of their home and had fathered the children with her, and was leaving the children on the doorstep himself to make it look like this trope. To lend further credence to this story, Fritzl had his daughter actually write letters claiming to be in the imaginary cult and asking her parents to raise the kids.



Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Foundling, Doorstep Baby


Baby Arlo

The first we see of Arlo the Alligator Boy is him as a newborn infant abandoned in the sewers of New York on the night of his birth, who then floats overseas all the way to the Louisiana swamp where he is taken in by Edmee.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

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