1. Devoted Husband, Father, and Firefighter
Marc Hadden derived much joy from dedicating his life to saving other lives as a firefighter in Myrtle Beach, North Carolina. Every day on the job brought with it another challenge, but there was nothing that would stand in Hadden’s way to fulfill his duty. When Hadden wasn’t saving lives, he was fulfilling his other duty as a devoted husband to his wife Beth and a loving father to his sons Will and Parker. However, nothing could have prepared him for the emergency call he’d receive on November 14, 2011.
2. Just Another Day
3. Call of Duty
When the emergency call came in, the woman on the line complained of severe pain in her abdomen. With no time to waste, Hadden bolted to the emergency scene to see what he could do for the woman. Emergency personnel are trained to help whoever is in need no matter the circumstances, so Hadden knew that when duty calls, there is absolutely no time to make calculations or transfer the call to another emergency service. Besides, fire departments are usually called to the scene of most medical emergencies along with ambulances.
4. No Time to Waste
5. Think Quick
“It was a pretty serious call for us,” Hadden told People. He related the stressful scene exclaiming, “We got her on some oxygen, started some IVs and literally as we were getting ready to leave the parking lot in the ambulance, my partner said, ‘We’re about to deliver a baby right here.’” It was clear that there wasn’t enough time to get the woman to the hospital, which meant one thing and one thing only: Hadden and his partners were going to have to deliver the baby themselves.
6. The Moment of Truth
7. It’s a Girl
Hadden went from caring for one patient to two when the baby girl was born and immediately handed to him, and this was when it all hit him. “She struggled from the minute she was put in my hands,” Hadden told People. He administered the 6-pound, 2-oz. (2.8 kg) baby oxygen to help her breathe on her own. Just at the moment Hadden thought something had gone wrong, the baby let out her first cry. “It was amazing to hear her cry,” he reminisced to People.
8. What Now?
9. Fatherly Instincts
Already a father of two, it broke Hadden’s heart to even imagine this child having to go through the adoption system which might not find her a loving home. He jokingly told the doctors that he would be her father. Jokes aside, Hadden knew deep down that he wasn’t actually bluffing and decided to call Beth. As crazy as it sounded, the Haddens really wanted another child so badly, and this innocent baby girl seemed like the answer to their prayers.
10. “Can We Keep Her?”
11. Unexpected Timing
After Beth heard the news, she knew she had to jump at the opportunity. The Haddens dreamed of adopting a little girl for years. “Ever since we had the boys, we knew that we wanted more children, but I was preterm with them so we knew that it wasn’t possible to have any more babies,” Beth lamented to People. Who would’ve thought that this emergency could possibly turn into the biggest miracle for the Haddens? “I will never forget that day. It was a day when a lot of things came full circle,” Hadden told CNN. Everything seemed like it was meant to be, but would the couple actually be able to adopt this baby girl?
12. A Special Visit
13. A Heart to Heart
Just as the doctor told the woman her daughter could be given up for adoption, something switched in the woman’s face. It seemed as if she had finally realized what this all meant for her and the future of her child. As soon as she heard the doctor announce the news, she turned to Beth and looked straight at her in the eyes. “I want you to adopt my baby. I can’t give my baby to someone I’ve never met,” the woman exclaimed. Then she asked the nurse to bring in the baby for Beth to meet.
14. Love at First Sight
15. Rebecca Grace Hadden
Soon after Beth visited the hospital, the Haddens signed temporary custody papers and brought their new baby girl home. They named her Rebecca Grace, but she goes by her middle name and the nickname Gracie for short. The first thing Beth said to Marc when they took Gracie home was, “Oh my gosh, we have to pay for a wedding.” She told People that it was her first thought because after having two boys, it felt different finally having a girl in the family.
16. A True Blessing
17. Paying It Forward
Hadden told CNN what it was like when they brought Gracie home saying, “To see my wife’s face light up when we brought Gracie home. I can’t even begin to tell you.” Well, it turns out Gracie also lit up of the faces of people in the community with this beautiful story. The family’s heartfelt story touched the hearts of everyone in the community so much that the entire neighborhood decided to pay it forward and reached out to help the Haddens with their beautiful new addition to the family.
18. The Butterfly Effect
19. Father of the Year
Following Gracie’s birth, the Myrtle Beach Fire Department also awarded Hadden a Firefighter of the Year accolade for his courage at the scene of the emergency, and for giving Gracie another chance at life by adopting her. All these awards meant more than the world to Hadden, but he felt like his biggest reward was having the baby girl he and Beth always wanted. Gracie immediately became such a central figure of the Hadden household that Beth and Marc have recorded the beautiful moments of her growth and her connection with Will and Parker.
20. Broaching the Subject
21. Gracie’s Take on Things
At just six years old, Gracie actually knows the whole story about her unusual birth and entrance into the world. If anyone asks her how she was born she says, “My daddy delivered me in the back of an ambulance and helped me take my first breath.” The Haddens never want Gracie to forget where she came from, so they make a point of discussing the whole story. They’ll just have to reinforce it at a later stage. This in no way changes the incredible bond Gracie shares with her parents.
22. A Daddy’s Girl
23. A Full Time Dad
Hadden retired from firefighting and decided to work on a volunteer basis, but his days are even fuller now that Gracie is in his life. “Every day I look forward to waking her up, getting her ready for school, then picking her up later on,” Hadden told CNN while beaming with pride. He emphasized that with Gracie in the family, he is living the best days of his life and that the entire family feel that way too. “She has contributed to all of our lives,” Hadden proclaimed. “She is part of our family and that is absolutely the way it is,” he told CNN. “We love her.”
24. A Day in the Life of Gracie
25. Sibling Love
Will and Parker fell in love with Gracie from day one. Will, now 15 and Parker, 13, naturally took on the role as Gracie’s protective older brothers, which will definitely come in handy when she gets even older. When Gracie had only just joined the family, her brother Will told CNN, “I just love her to pieces.” There was no denying just how cute she was, and Gracie instantly fell in love with her brothers as well.
26. Family Vacation
27. Holiday Time
Christmas time is a very special time for the Haddens because it’s when Marc and Beth can reflect over just how blessed they are to have three beautiful and healthy children. They could never have envisaged raising their own daughter, but here they are six years later. Marc and Beth love spending as much time as possible with their children. To them, there is nothing more rewarding as parents than witnessing the bond their three children share. They also can’t wait to see what the future has in store when the kids grow older.
28. Like Mother, Like Daughter
29. A Message to the World
Adoption isn’t always easy for families, but the Haddens knew they made the right decision. Beth and Marc are always amazed at what a special person Gracie is and believe that she knows just how special she really is. Beth’s views on adoption are very clear and she expressed them to ABC News when said, “If even one child is placed in a family that is as loving and supportive as ours is, then that’s our message!”