PEORIA, Illinois -- A Peoria nurse has been caring for the smallest and sickest of babies for 32 years, but she recently decided to care on a whole new level, WHOI reports.
Angela Farnan works in the pediatric intensive care unit, helping kids with congenital heart problems.
During their stay in the PICU, Farnan and her patients become like family; but this time, she actually did.
"I was part of the care team that took care of him after surgery and then continued to care for him as he was in the hospital for the next six and a half months," Farnan said.
Blaze was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a congenital heart defect. His first surgery took place when he was just three days old. His second surgery, just eight months later.
In between, the Farnan family opened their home to Blaze because his biological family couldn't.
"We're excited that he's doing great, however we know it's getting close to us having to give him back to his family," Farnan said.
But, after his second surgery, Blaze's biological mom didn't think she could keep up with the care.
"She made a heartfelt decision to ask us if we'd be willing to keep him on a permanent basis. It was an emotional time, she was in tears. Internally we are ecstatic but sad for this mom who is feeling a loss," Farnan said.
"We just fell in love with him and wanted him and had a chance to get him. It's like 'wow, we get to keep him now.' It wasn't a sit down discussion, do we want to do this," said Rick Farnan, Blaze's father.
The Farnans always wanted to have children but were unable to have any of their own.
"I've always wanted to be a mother, and then you just have to realize and trust in god and believe that he has a greater purpose for you," Angela Farnan said.
On June 8, 2018, a packed courtroom celebrated Blaze's adoption.
Today, the family goes on trips and there's no question that Blaze is an active little boy, who loves life.
"He just has a great little personality and people are drawn to him, besides him being so cute," Rick Farnan said.
Blaze dances to "Baby Shark," rides his bike, and gives kisses to his great grandmother and really anyone he meets.
And who knows, with his love for golfing, maybe he'll be a pro one day.
Blaze will have to undergo a third surgery in a few years; he may need a transplant one day.
His parents said they couldn't do this without the incredible nurses and doctors that have helped them from the beginning.
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Illinois nurse adopts boy she cared for in pediatric ICU
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