What started out as a normal day for this firefighter in 2011 rapidly changed into an emergency that forever changed his life.
To Marc Hadden, a firefighter in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, the day began as most others, just routine work, waiting around for a call out.
“It was a normal slow day in November,” Hadden told TODAY. “We were sitting down to eat, hadn’t had a call all day.”
Then a call came through from a woman experiencing severe stomach pains, but when the crew arrived there, they realized she was well into labor.
“It was a pretty serious call for us,” he said. “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.’ We had no time to prepare. Before we could do anything—we hadn’t even cut her clothes—Gracie came right out. Immediately she was handed to me.”
Hadden later learned that the woman wanted to put up her newborn baby for adoption. He and his wife already had two children but had been praying for a third, and they instantly reached out to adopt this newborn. She became part of their family two days later. They named the baby Rebecca Grace.
Now, Grace is almost 6 years old, and she knows her birth story.
“We have never hidden it from her,” Hadden said. “If you ask her where she was born, she says, ‘My daddy delivered me in the back of an ambulance.’ She knows the whole story. I wanted her to know as soon as she was old enough to understand. I didn’t want it to be this huge surprise. It still breaks my heart to think of one day having to explain it to her more in depth … because she doesn’t really 100% get it.”
“She’s amazing,” Hadden said. “She takes gymnastics, she’s getting ready to start kindergarten next year at the school where my wife teaches. She’s a pretty remarkable kid.”
The Haddens made an instant decision six years ago when little Grace was given away by her mom, and this family is for sure a special one.
“Gracie and I have an amazing bond,” he said. “We’re tighter than thieves.”
“She is part of our family and that is absolutely the way it is,” he added. “We love her.”