Human Interest

Married nurses adopt premature baby they cared for in the NICU

preemie, premature birth, pacemaker, adoption, premature

Registered nurses Drew and Taylor Deras met in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) of the Methodist Women’s Hospital in Omaha, Nebraska in 2017. Over the next three years, their friendship and relationship strengthened and they married in 2020. They continued working in the NICU, and one day in May 2021, they began to care for a special premature patient whom they would one day call their daughter. 

Born at 23 weeks and one day, Baby Ella came into the world weighing just one pound, two ounces. Because of her prematurity, she battled many health issues over her nearly year-long stay in the NICU.

Taylor told Good Morning America, “She was intubated for multiple months at a time. She was just very sick. There [were] times where the doctors would tell us, ‘Watch her. I don’t know if she’ll make it through the night tonight.’”

Taylor shared that she remembers many days when she left work wondering if she’d ever see Ella again because her condition was so fragile. Ella needed multiple blood transfusions soon after birth, underwent a tracheostomy, and had a feeding tube placed.

At first, Ella’s biological mother was present and visited her in the NICU. But as time passed, she began “bouncing” from one job to another and spent more time trying to find a better home for herself — and eventually Ella.

During those initial eight months, Taylor and Drew did everything they could to make sure the little girl knew she was loved.

“In my downtime, I’d go and see her and feed her a bottle, and I’d talk to her a lot,” Drew said. He mentioned later that he wanted Ella to hear a “different kind of voice,” since male voices were sparse in the NICU.

Taylor remembered, “I would read to her and hold her for hours. It was so important to me that she felt loved.”

READ: Adoption, IVF, and surrogacy: What pro-lifers need to know

Eventually, Ella was transferred to another NICU for further care, and then she entered the foster care system as a ward of the state. Drew and Taylor already cared deeply for Ella and jumped at the chance to be her foster parents.

“I reached out to a social worker at Methodist, and I said, ‘I’ve taken care of her, I know her, I love her. Is there a way that we could foster her,’” Taylor said. Her biological mother had also expressed that she trusted Taylor and Drew with Ella’s care and wanted them to take care of her. 

The next two years saw Ella grow into a sweet and learning toddler. Having a stable home seemed to help her thrive. Her biological mother saw how well Ella was doing with the Deras family. “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 explained. “Then she said, ‘I’m willing to sign over my rights to you.’” 

On November 18, 2023, the Derases joyfully adopted Ella into their family. Taylor stated, “I think deep in our hearts, we were… always like, we want her forever.”

Drew shared that as the judge announced through the courtroom, “From this day forward, you will be Ella Marie Deras,” Ella responded with a “yay!” that none of the 40 witnesses will ever forget. 

Both Taylor and Drew can now share these words: “I loved you as a sick patient, and now I’m loving you as my own child.” 

The DOJ put a pro-life grandmother in jail for protesting the killing of preborn children. Please take 30-seconds to TELL CONGRESS: STOP THE DOJ FROM TARGETING PRO-LIFE AMERICANS.

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