A tightly bonded cluster of nurses swooped in to help Angela Farnan when they learned that their coworker would be a medical foster mom to the baby she later adopted, Farnan tells PEOPLE.
“They threw me a shower right here at the hospital,” says Farnan, a charge nurse at the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital of Illinois in Peoria. “They gave me everything I needed.”
Farnan, 53, and her husband Rick, 57, previously opened up to PEOPLE about adopting little Blaze, who has a rare heart defect. Blaze’s birth family asked the Farnans to keep Blaze following his March 20, 2018 second surgery for hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a life-threatening condition that leaves one side of the heart too small.
Blaze, who was born on May 30, 2017, spent the first six months of his life recuperating from the first surgery he had when he was just three days old. His birth parents lived far from the hospital and were raising their other young children. Since they were not able to be there consistently, the doctors, nurses and hospital staff became Blaze’s family.
“We all tried to give him some normalcy in his life despite the fact that he was stuck in the hospital,” Farnan says.
In December 2017, Blaze was ready to go home, but he required intensive care that his family couldn’t provide. The Farnans agreed to be temporary medical foster parents until Blaze had his second surgery, in March 2018.
That’s where the cluster of nurses came in.
“When I found out Blaze was coming home with me, I wasn’t prepared, because we didn’t think it would happen,” Farnan says.
She went up to the PICU and told the other nurses she would take Blaze that day for his first-ever night away from the hospital.
“I worked my 12-hour shift before I took him home,” Farnan says. “That night, a crib and a car seat were delivered.”
The nurses didn’t stop there. They showered Angela with everything they could think of that she and Rick might need.
“They gave me a Pack ‘n Play, diapers, everything,” Farnan says.
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Jim Carlson, OSF HealthCare
They also confirmed their commitments to watch Blaze at home when Angela and Rick couldn’t be there.
During the vetting process before the Farnans became foster parents to Blaze, an official had come out to interview the couple at home.
“He asked us who was going to watch Blaze when we couldn’t,” says Rick, who runs a waste oil furnace business. “I told him, they’re all PICU/NICU nurses. He’s never without anyone who isn’t ultra-qualified to watch him. You’d never in a million years find that situation.”
Jim Carlson, OSF HealthCare
The foster arrangement came to a surprising and joyful end last year.
In the hospital following the surgery, Blaze’s mother made an unexpected, heartfelt request. In Blaze’s best interest, she asked, would the Farnans please keep him?
Without hesitation, the tearfully overjoyed couple agreed. The adoption was finalized last June.
Life with Blaze has been “amazing,” the Farnans say — in part, thanks to the band of coworker nurses.
“It is one big happy family up here,” Angela says. “They have played a huge role in my ability to take Blaze home.”
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