Katrina Mullen of Indianapolis has been a NICU nurse for 23 years, and she's served a lot of moms and babies during that time. But last year, she met an extra special family ... who would soon become her own family.
Shariya Small was only 14 years old when she gave birth to preemie TRIPLETS at only 26 weeks gestation. During the three babies' long stay in the NICU, the young mom and Mullen formed a sweet relationship.
Mullen had herself been a teen mom, and now was a mom to five, so when she saw Small come in every day to visit her babies, she said,
I immediately thought that I needed to give her a shoulder to lean on.
She told Small that she would be there for her, and after Small's triplets were discharged from the hospital, Mullen continued to call her and make the hour-long drive to visit her and bring whatever she needed for the babies.
Shortly after Small went home, the Indiana Department of Child Services determined that her home was unsuitable for the children and that they, along with Small, would need to be placed in foster care.
Mullen knew that the teen mom and her three children would most likely be separated, so despite having 5 kids of her own at home, she took in the mom and 3 babies.
Mullen told the Indy Star,
Just from being a nurse, I knew there would not be many foster homes that would take a teen mother with three kids… I didn't want them to be separated. I wanted them to stay together.
Now, a year later, Mullen has officially adopted the four of them out of foster care, and Small has been able to continue school while parenting her triplets.
Small, who is now 15 said,
Everybody told me that I wouldn't finish school, that I wouldn't achieve my goals, but now I'm graduating as a junior and was accepted into two colleges with academic scholarships.
Mullen's life has changed dramatically after adopting the family of four, but she said,
It's been great. Stressful? Yes. Sleepless nights? Yes. But worth it? Absolutely.
What an incredible story!