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The Epoch Times
The Epoch Times
11 Feb 2023

NextImg:Police officer and his wife adopt abandonded newborn just months after adopting their first daughter

An Indiana police officer and his wife, who struggled for years to conceive, adopted their second daughter: a newborn baby girl who was anonymously surrendered to a local hospital. The devout couple thanks God for gifting them the family of their dreams in his perfect timing.

Nurse Shelby Marie Faltynski, 35, and her husband, police lieutenant Bruce Wayne Faltynski, 40, were both born and raised in their current hometown of Mishawaka, Indiana. After a long and complex fertility journey, they became foster (and eventually adoptive) parents to Kaia, now 9, in March last year. And then on Nov. 18, 2022, National Adoption Day, they officially adopted another baby, whom their daughter Kaia named Myah Joy.

“Our prayer is that after hearing our story, a mother would choose life and make the courageous choice to lovingly surrender her baby,” Shelby told The Epoch Times. “Perhaps even Myah’s birth mother would somehow hear this story, and be comforted knowing she made the right choice, that her precious baby girl is healthy, safe, and dearly loved.”

Shelby and Bruce. (Courtesy of Shelby Faltynski)

Baby Myah’s adoption ceremony at the Juvenile Justice Center in South Bend, Indiana. (Courtesy of Shelby Faltynski)

Baby Myah with her sister Kaia. (Courtesy of Shelby Faltynski)

Myah had been left in a Safe Haven Baby Box at an emergency room in Hammond, Indiana, on April 2 last year and was never reclaimed by her birth mother. Named after the Indiana Safe Haven Law, these boxes allow a person to surrender an infant under 45 days old without fear of prosecution.

“We learned Myah was on medication for suspected seizures, and would likely have medical problems as a ‘spot’ was detected on her brain scan. As a nurse, I felt uniquely equipped to care for a child with special needs,” Shelby said. “Just a few hours after our interview on April 13, the Lake County Department of Child Services (DCS) called to tell us they had chosen our family to adopt.”

Shelby and Bruce hadn’t realized they were still on their county’s “foster to adopt” list after adopting Kaia in March 2022. But upon receiving an invitation to interview as adoptive parents, they felt the chance to bring a newborn into their home and hearts was a “divine opportunity.”

“We had prayed for a newborn for years,” Shelby explained. “We proceeded with the interview, believing in faith that God would make a way if it was his plan for us.

“Bruce and I were initially concerned about how Kaia would react. Kaia had just officially become ours … but God, in his sovereignty, prepared Kaia’s heart. When I told Kaia that a baby girl had been left in a Safe Haven Baby Box and needed a family, she replied without hesitation, ‘Mom, we should adopt her!'”

Myah joined the family days later. Bruce said, “Most people have nine months to prepare for a baby. We had nine days!”

Bruce and Shelby with Kaia. (Courtesy of Shelby Faltynski)

The road to parenthood was hard for Shelby and Bruce. Married in the summer of 2009, they dreamed of fulfilling their career ambitions and growing their family. They started trying for a baby in March 2015 but saw a doctor when Shelby still couldn’t conceive.

“All of our diagnostic testing was normal,” Shelby said. “I was then prescribed medication to assist with ovulation. After another year without becoming pregnant, I had an exploratory laparoscopy, and was surprised to be diagnosed with endometriosis.”

After surgery in 2017, Shelby’s doctor advised she begin intrauterine inseminations (IUIs). When that failed, a reproductive endocrinologist suggested in vitro fertilization (IVF), and the couple despaired; the expensive procedure was not covered by medical insurance. That’s when Shelby’s best friend, Hope Zeller, insisted Shelby let her start a fundraiser to allow friends and family to help make their dreams of a baby come true.

Shelby said: “In the fall of 2019, we had an egg retrieval and embryo transfer. The transfer was unsuccessful. This was devastating to me, and at this point Bruce insisted we take a break so I could become mentally, emotionally, and physically healthy. I could not trust my emotions and relied on Bruce’s steadfast wisdom to guide us each step of the way. He never wavered.”

(Courtesy of Shelby Faltynski)

As a nurse specializing in women’s health, Shelby rejoiced every time a friend or patient conceived. Yet, she felt “broken and hopeless” inside. She was boosted by a message from a conference on infertility where the speaker guided the attendees to surrender their plans and let God write their story.

Despite Shelby’s reservation that her heart could not handle loving and losing a foster child, the couple decided to broaden their options. They became licensed therapeutic foster parents with SAFY of Indiana in 2018 and waited a year before getting their first placement. It was 5-year-old Kaia, whose initial goal was reunification with her birth family.

“Honestly, we never planned to adopt,” Shelby said. “But God had different plans! Had the Lord blessed us with the pregnancy we prayed for, we would have missed out on the privilege of being Kaia’s parents.”

When Myah came into the Faltynskis’ lives, Kaia was excited to become a big sister. She even chose the baby’s name.

“Bruce and I both liked the name Lilah Joy more, but Kaia kept insisting her name would be Myah,” said Shelby. “Our family read a devotion together. Over and over again we read aloud, ‘My joy.’ Bruce and I looked at each other, and we both knew … her name would be Myah Joy. Kaia still smiles the biggest smile when she tells people she named her sister!”

Myah’s temporary foster family, the Fagens, invited Shelby and Bruce to their home in St. John where the mom taught Shelby how to care for a newborn. The Fagens had four kids of their own but had still made time to spend 12-hour shifts in the NICU, practicing skin-to-skin contact with Myah to give her the best possible start in life.

(Courtesy of Shelby Faltynski)

Myah was “beautiful and perfect in our eyes,” Shelby said, and despite concern for Myah’s neurological state, her first foster mom had not noticed any red flags. Shelby and Bruce waited with bated breath through their first 30 days with Myah in case her birth mom should come forward, but she never did.

To this day, Shelby and Bruce are grateful that Myah’s mom chose life for her baby.

The morning after Myah’s official adoption, close friends and family threw a party with cupcakes and coffee, inviting Myah’s first foster family from St. John, and Monica Kelsey, the founder and CEO of the Safe Haven Baby Boxes.

“Kaia sang Myah’s lullaby, and then our friends and family prayed over the four of us. It was such a beautiful gift,” Shelby said. “Afterward, our friends gifted us a book bound with photos, letters, and prayers from the party for our sweet Myah Joy.”

Indiana state sponsored Kaia’s adoption fees and medical insurance, but since Myah was younger, she did not qualify. However, the financial concerns paled in comparison to the Faltynskis’ joy at completing their family. Shelby’s best friend, Hope, organized a baby registry to get them started.

Shelby said: “We didn’t have to buy formula or diapers for the first couple months … if it hadn’t been for Hope, I am sure I would not have made time to prepare the adorable pink floral nursery for our sweet angel baby!”

(Courtesy of Shelby Faltynski)

Shelby believes that God used her family’s journey to strengthen her faith and change her perspective on motherhood. She now insists her daughters do not belong to their birth families and they do not even belong to her. “They are first his children, and they are entrusted to us for a season,” she said.

“Experiencing the gift of being a mommy to a baby has made me grieve the loss of those little years that we didn’t get to experience with our daughter, Kaia,” she said. “It has helped me realize the importance of delighting in my 9-year-old in the same way that I delight in those gummy baby smiles.”

Myah is now 8 months old. She has been successfully weaned off of her seizure medication and has been meeting all of her developmental milestones. An MRI confirmed that Myah did have a neonatal stroke, but her neurologist is hopeful she may not have any neurological deficits if her brain can compensate for the area affected.

(Courtesy of Shelby Faltynski)

(Courtesy of Shelby Faltynski)

“She is truly our little miracle, and we consider her a precious gift from above,” Shelby said, sharing that Myah loves to smile and babble, can say “Dada” and Baba,” loves playing peek-a-boo, and is exploring her world by crawling.

While Myah “still prefers to chew on her books” instead of listening to her mother read them, she is loving trying new foods with her two sharp bottom teeth and is an adorable attention-seeker with a contagious laugh.

“Just like her big sister, Myah Joy was undeniably created by God to be in our family,” Shelby said. “We hope that God would use our family as a picture of the truth of His word, and to demonstrate His loving plan of redemption for all people,” she said.

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