"I’ve taken her to the back of the ambulance where she was born, so she knows."
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on February 18, 2022. It has since been updated.
While working as a firefighter in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Marc Hadden has risked his life several times to save lives. But, on November 14, 2011, Hadden received a 911 call from a woman complaining of abdominal pain. That was the first time he delivered a baby.
“She struggled from the minute she was put in my hands,” recalls Hadden, who just seconds after her birth, administered emergency oxygen to help get the 6-lb. 2-oz. infant breathing on her own, according to PEOPLE. “It was amazing to hear her cry.”
Little did he know that the child would become a part of his life forever as his daughter just 48 hours later.
Hadden and his wife, Beth, despite being parents to two wonderful boys, always wanted a third child. However, due to past complications in pregnancy, Hadden and Beth had decided to go the adoption route.
Firefighter and EMT, Marc Hadden received a call for a pregnant woman one evening five years ago. Little did he know he’d end up delivering a beautiful baby girl just minutes later, & that she’d become his baby girl just after signing some papers. https://t.co/jky55LOIxH pic.twitter.com/LPUOFZ9cXA— Kim Komando (@kimkomando) February 5, 2018
So, when the birth mother expressed she wouldn't be able to care for the newborn, Hadden was the first one to volunteer and take her in. Beth says she remembers getting a phone call from Marc that day where he told her, “I delivered a baby.” Jokingly she replied, “Can we keep her?” He responded, “I think she might be going up for adoption.”
WATCH: It’s been 5 years since firefighter Marc Hadden delivered a baby girl on an emergency call – and then adopted her pic.twitter.com/dm7t0duyGV— TODAY (@TODAYshow) February 7, 2017
When Beth found that the birth mother was a single mom already struggling to raise her teenage son, she went to meet her at the hospital and gifted her a little prayer book. Hearing the doctor—who had walked as the two talked—say that they were ready to go ahead with the adoption, she said to Beth, "I can’t give my baby to someone I’ve never met."
“Suddenly the opportunity was there for me to say that Marc and I had been praying about adoption for years,” she recalls. “And she looked over at me and said, ‘I want you to adopt my baby.’ She had the nurse bring her in and I was able to hold Gracie for the first time. I called Marc and said, ‘I think we just had a baby.'”
By the end of that day, the couple had signed temporary-custody papers, and just 48 hours after her birth, they brought her home. “She is what we prayed for,” says Beth. “It felt like winning the lottery.” They named her Rebecca Grace, and lovingly called her Gracie.
While Gracie is very much a part of the Hadden family, the couple have made it a point to remind her where she comes from. “We told her pretty much from day one,” says Marc. “I’ve taken her to the back of the ambulance where she was born, so she knows — no doubt about it.” She even tells people how “my daddy delivered me in the back of an ambulance [and] helped me take my first breath."
Though it has been over a decade since they got Gracie home, Hadden and Beth still can't believe how lucky they are. “I’ve always wanted a daughter, and this is just amazing,” says Hadden. Adds Beth: “Sometimes the best things in life happen in the blink of an eye — and you can’t let them pass you by.”
Cover Image Source: YouTube | Inside Edition (Firefighter Shows His 5-Year-Old Adopted Daughter Ambulance Where She Was Born)