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Two nurses step up to adopt and care for a NICU baby as her biological mother was struggling

As they saw the child struggling in hospital while her biological mother was trying to make ends meet, they decided to step in.

Two nurses step up to adopt and care for a NICU baby as her biological mother was struggling
Representative Cover Image Source: Pexels | Danik Prihodko; TODAY | Taylor Deras

Medical personnel come across many patients daily. It takes a good heart to care for a patient so much that they end up taking them to their home. That's what Taylor and Drew Deras did for a newborn, Ella. Their story is a testament to how bonds turn into actual relationships for a lifetime, as they believe that God chose it for them, per TODAY. Taylor and Drew Deras' journey began in 2017, working the overnight shift in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Methodist Women's Hospital in Omaha, Nebraska. Both registered nurses, their initial friendship blossomed into a profound love story. United in marriage by 2020, they embraced a new chapter by adopting Ella, an adorable baby girl from the very hospital that witnessed their love's growth.



 

In May 2021, Ella was admitted into the NICU when she was 23 weeks old and weighed only one pound and two ounces. "She was very, very sick," Taylor said and shared that Ella was immediately intubated and required multiple blood transfusions. According to her, there were "good days" and days when she left work and sitting in the car, she would think she would not get to meet her again. However, the child stayed at the NICU at Methodist Women's Hospital for eight months, reports ABC News.

By the summer of 2021, Ella began to show signs of strength and recovery. Amidst this hope, Taylor's concern grew about Ella's future once she was ready to leave the NICU. That was also because her biological mother had stopped visiting the child. "She was looking for housing and bouncing around from job to job," Taylor said. However, during this time, Taylor grew very attached to the infant. She shared that it was important for her that Ella felt loved. On the other hand, Drew also felt a special bond with the child.



 

Meanwhile, he would also go and feed her a bottle and talk to her a lot. In December 2021, when the courts ordered that Ella would be a ward of the state, the couple stepped in and asked the social workers if they could foster Ella. By then, they had not only fallen in love with her, but they were also worried about what would happen to a medically fragile child. Reportedly, she has a tracheostomy, which is a surgically made hole in her windpipe that gives an alternative airway for breathing. She also ate through a feeding tube.

When Ella's biological mother learned that the couple was interested in fostering, she wanted Ella to be with them. Soon, they got the approval to be his foster parents and in April 2022, they brought the child home. According to Drew, it was then Ella started to "interact better with adults" and "do better with bottles." Within the same year, Ella's biological mother acknowledged that Taylor and Drew provided the best possible home for her daughter. "She looked at us and she said, 'You guys are the best thing for her. She knows you as Mom and Dad and I can't handle all these medical things she needs now and maybe forever,'" Taylor recalled. "Then she said, 'I'm willing to sign over my rights to you.'"



 

Taylor was already in love with Ella. "As she became a ward of the state, I actually turned to Drew and I was like, 'I really do care for her and I want to bring her home and care for her as our child.' So, it was, I loved her as my patient and then once we became foster parents, I loved her as my own child." However, she thinks that it was "mature and selfless" of the mother to do that. The adoption was finalized on November 18, 2023. More than 40 family members and hospital staff were there to witness this beautiful moment. "It had been two and half years of not knowing where Ella would go or if she would be safe," said Taylor. Finally, the two were relieved as Ella was their daughter.

Taylor shared that they were the same judge from the beginning till the end and she saw Ella go from a sick little girl to a child who could walk. "She commented on mine and Drew's parents about how they should be so proud of what we accomplished," said the nurse. Ella Marie Deras is now two years old and doesn't shy away from any challenge. Moreover, the doctors have told them that the tracheotomy will be removed in the next few months. "She could easily be like, 'I don't want to breathe on my own, I don't want to eat on my own,' but she wants to do them. She wants to go to all the therapy appointments and Drew and I are just so proud of her," Taylor said.

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