Place: California/New York City (could possibly involve both)
I have no idea where to even start looking...
This situation needs to end with R, at around four years old, living in New York City with C.
It starts with the earthquake of 1989 in California. The rescue workers on Interstate 880 find a crushed car with a woman and a toddler in it. The woman is dead; the toddler is alive. The woman has no ID on her, isn't in the system for her fingerprints, and is otherwise unidentifiable. The car is unregistered and basically off the grid. The toddler is also unidentifiable, and speaks only Spanish. It's assumed that the woman is an undocumented worker.
C. is a doctor. In my original plan, he lived in NYC and then went to California to volunteer his services in the disaster, but if that makes things too complicated, he can live in the bay area in California and be either one of the doctors on the scene (would there have been doctors, or just paramedics?) or working in the emergency room at the time. In any case, he and R. become attached very quickly, and he decides that he can't abandon her to the system.
At this point, would he be able to become her foster parent? No one comes forward to identify her mother. He's a young doctor, single, but with a stable income, no criminal record or history of mental illness, and the ability to care for R. He's not above pulling some sort of trick (claiming she'd been abandoned at the hospital amidst all the confusion, say) if it would help, although he'd really prefer it if he didn't have to.
At what point could he adopt her? At what point after that would he be able to move to NYC?
If there's anything I've missed here, I would appreciate a heads up. Thanks, all.