My shift on the 14th November 2011 started much like any other day, except I was told that I wouldn't be at my normal duty station and instead working at the medic unit. I love to help people who are at their worst, but being on the medic unit meant I would get no sleep for the next 24 hours, so I wasn't overly happy with the change.
The shift was mostly quiet until it was time to sit down for dinner, of course. As soon as we sat down the tones went off and we were off to the next emergency call - a call that would change my life forever.
The call was to a woman who was experiencing severe abdominal pain, but when we arrived it turned out to be so much more. The patient was pregnant and was going to give birth imminently.
We managed to get the woman back to the medic unit and quickly went from one patient to two as a little girl graced us with her presence. We called for back-up help and made a rapid exit to the local hospital. Once at the hospital we dropped off the patients, returned to our station and went back to work.
We returned to the hospital a few hours later to complete our paperwork. I overheard the attending physician say that the baby we delivered was being put up for adoption immediately. Joking I told the doctor that I would like to throw my name in the hat to be considered for the adoption. My wife and I have two boys, and always wanted to have more children but couldn't. We had talked about adoption but could not afford to go through with it.
The doctors told me that the baby was already going to a good home but said I should talk to the birth mom and tell her of our interest in adopting the newborn. I did just that - I told her about my family, how we wanted more children and how much we would love and care for the baby girl. I then left, hopeful, and returned to work.
I called my wife and sent her a picture of the baby we had just delivered. She also jokingly asked if we could adopt the baby. I told her I was working on it. The next day my wife met with the birth mother and after some conversation she told my wife that she wanted us to have her baby.
My wife called me and told me it was possibly going to happen. I immediately left work and went to meet my wife at the hospital. Long story short - we brought our little girl home 48 hours later.
One of the biggest things we have learnt through all of this is that there is a huge need for families to adopt in the US and more assistance is desperately needed for families that want to. Yes, there should be a stringent process for adoption, but once families are identified there needs to be more assistance financially. Families should not have to start this new family process in debt. I know that our adoption cost us a bunch of money and five years later we are still paying for it.
I never imagined having a little girl, but she has changed all of our lives forever. Gracie is the biggest blessing and fits in perfectly with our family. We don't think of her being adopted.
It's hard to believe how fast she is growing up. It seems like yesterday that she was just introduced into our family. Gracie is five now and totally in love with her daddy. Gracie loves to go on daddy daughter dates and when asked where she wants to go she always chooses Chic-fa-la, a local restaurant, which is great until it's time to get her out of the play area!
Approximately one year ago I left the fire service to spend more time with my family. In my 20 plus years in the police and fire service Gracie is the first and only baby I have delivered. Gracie is on the Pink gymnastics team, plays soccer and I couldn't be prouder.
Life Less Ordinary is a weekly blog series from The Huffington Post UK that showcases weird and wonderful life experiences. If you've got something extraordinary to share please email firstname.lastname@example.org with LLO in the subject line.