A firefighter with the Anne Arundel Fire Department and nurse with the University of Maryland Medical Center got a surprise delivery Saturday when their soon-to-be adopted son was delivered to their doorstep. The video capturing the moment already has more than 216,000 views online.
Michael and Karen Faherty met in Reserve Officer Training Corps while students at the University of Scranton. The two served in the Army and settled down in Baltimore. After four years of marriage and dealing with infertility, they decided to adopt to start their family.
The adoption process took a year and they waited to hear from the agency Adoption Makes Family if birth parents had chosen them.
On Saturday, Michael saw a group of people gathering in front of his house.
“And then I hear them start to sing and then I start to home in on some of the faces and I look and think, ‘Wait, I know these people,’” he said.
Michael and Karen were expecting a visit from the adoption agency for a last-minute home inspection to make sure they would provide suitable housing if a family chose them to become the adoptive parents. The couple was initially skeptical with a secondary visit from agency founder Dean Kirschner but did not want to get their hopes up that they might be receiving a child.
“We had convinced ourselves almost a little too well which is partially why we were so shocked when we opened the door and saw the fire truck and the ambulance and 30 firefighters,” Karen said.
As the men and women walked up to the home, they sang the cadence “Little Red Wagon” they learned at the fire academy they graduated from last year.
“They might think they know they’re getting a baby but they never know how,” Kirschner said.
Kirschner tries to make every “Gotcha Day” special for new parents. That’s the day many adoptive families celebrate as the anniversary of when an adoption was finalized. When he found out Michael is a firefighter, he decided to coordinate with his department to make the delivery memorable.
“I’m always looking for an exciting way for a baby to go home to his or her forever family,” he said.
“Before you know it, Dean is walking down this aisle of some of my best friends with our son,” said Michael as he described the moment he saw Kirschner carrying his baby up to his door.
“It’s the best feeling in the world. It was such a gift that the birth parents gave to us that we dreamt about this time for so long and without them, this dream would never come true,” Karen said.
Their child, who they named Michael Terrance Faherty III, wasn’t the only surprise. The firefighters filled the back of Michael’s ambulance with diapers and other gifts.
“We’re very lucky,” Michael said. “Very, very lucky.”
In the video of the delivery, Kirschner said many people have commented that he should have given the baby to Karen earlier. He said he was putting the safety of the infant first.
“I did not hand that baby to that mother while she was on the steps, stunned, shocked, filled with adrenaline,” he said. “I waited until she was inside. Then, when the two of them were sitting together, I placed the baby in their arms.”