Nurse Adopts Baby with Rare Heart Condition She Cared for in ICU: 'I Fell in Love with Him'

An Illinois nurse has adopted a baby boy she cared for in a pediatric intensive care unit after the infant was born with a severe heart condition.

Angela Farnan was one of the nurses who cared for Blaze, who turns 2 in May, in the ICU at OSF Children’s Hospital of Illinois as he suffered from hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a rare congenital defect in which a part of the infant’s heart is underdeveloped or not there at all, hospital officials said.

“I work in the PICU and I can tell you many stories about the many children I’ve cared for over the years,” Farnan said in the hospital statement. “There’s an attachment to these children and their families. You become very invested in them.”

That’s what happened with Blaze. The little boy was born on May 30, 2017 and underwent heart surgery at just 3 days old and endured another a few months later. As he remained in the ICU, Blaze’s biological family did not live near the Peoria hospital and did not have the resources to care for Blaze at home.

So, Farnan agreed to have short-term guardianship as Blaze remained hospitalized.

“I really feel that he has blessed our lives,” Farnan told Good Morning America. “He’s full of joy. His smile lights up the room.”

As the months passed, Blaze was preparing to head home with his parents and Farnan was sad to see the little boy go.

“It was quite an emotional day because my husband and I fell in love with him and it was getting close and closer to when we had to give him back,” Farnan told GMA.

Then, in March 2018, Blaze’s biological parents asked if Farnan and her husband, Rick Farnan, would adopt Blaze.

“We didn’t even look at each other. Rick and I didn’t need to have a discussion. We said, ‘absolutely,’ ” Farnan said in the hospital statement. “I think our response came our of our mouths at the same time. We were ecstatic.”

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Farnan added to GMA: “[Blaze’s mother] was crying and said, ‘I just don’t want anyone to feel like I’m a bad mom.’ I said she just made the decision as a mom and there was no question that she loves Blaze.”

The Farnans filed adoption papers in April of last year. The adoption was finalized on June 8. And Farnan says life with Blaze is a dream come true.

“I honestly haven’t put it into words before,” Farnan said in the hospital statement.

“I go to bed every night and thank God for the opportunity to be a parent. I pray over him every night. He is truly a blessing. As a little girl, you think about your wedding, having children, raising them and instilling in them good morals. It still takes my breath away. There are times I wake up and I’m overwhelmed that he’s mine.”

Although Blaze is home with his parents, his health journey is not over yet. He will have to undergo a third heart surgery and may need a heart transplant one day. But Farnan says she’s up for the challenge, noting that Blaze makes her work as a nurse even more enjoyable.

“I used to come home and would need like a half hour to decompress,” Angela said. “Now, I come home and he’s so excited to see me — it lifts me. I don’t need that half hour anymore. I just need that face and that smile. I can have the worst day and all I want to do is get home and see him. It just makes it all better.”

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