‘We’ve been waiting a long time for this moment.’: Foster preemie now healthy toddler adopted into forever family

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From the first moment Moriah Quimby and her husband Luke laid eyes on sweet baby Charlie in the NICU two years ago, they considered him one of their very own. Now, it’s official. Last Friday, the Quimby’s finalized Charlie’s adoption to make him part of their forever family.

“It feels so surreal. We’ve been waiting a long time for this moment. It feels so good. He’s our son forever,” said Moriah.

family in courthouse with judge on adoption day
Courtesy of Moriah Quimby & Embrace Washington

Charlie was born at 30 weeks, weighing just under two pounds. Moriah, a foster parent experienced in preemie care and high needs babies, was actually at the NICU visiting another foster baby about to “graduate” from the hospital’s care when she received the call for Charlie.

“The sweet lady at Homefinder’s told me a baby was born who really needed me,” Moriah tells Love What Matters. “After a couple of questions, I instantly said yes. Hearing about Charlie, the fragile little preemie, melted my heart and I couldn’t wait to meet him.”

Moriah vividly recalls the moment she walked into the NICU and found little Charlie in his isolate, saying, “I was shocked. How could anyone be so small? He was wide awake and taking it all in. I swear he locked eyes with me that first moment.”

“I asked the nurse if he was able to be held and luckily he was just about to need his ‘cares’ done. I was able to take his temperature, change his diaper, and briefly hold him. He was light as a feather. But somehow still so strong. I was in love.”

NICU preemie in foster mother's arms
Courtesy of Moriah Quimby

The NICU is an experience you don’t fully understand unless you’ve been there. The emotional ups and downs and constant worry take a toll on tired parents spending as much time there as they can to be with their little fighter. But it’s familiar territory for Moriah.

“It’s so strange because it’s very quiet until it isn’t,” says Moriah. “One minute all you hear is soft beeping from machines, but in a moment that can change to crying, or worse, panic. Charlie was one of those panics, having coded at three weeks old. It’s absolutely terrifying to think how fragile these babies are. Fragile little fighters.”

NICU preemie in hospital incubator
Courtesy of Moriah Quimby

Charlie spent 10 weeks in the hospital. During that time, Moriah and Luke held him, prayed, and sang their favorite hymns. And then they celebrated when he too was ready to be discharged and taken to their home! Now, he’s a toddler who loves to watch the garbage truck stop at the end of their driveway every week.

“From day one, he’s felt like our son. So, to get a new birth certificate with our names on it, it’s such a special document,” said Moriah.

Moriah and Luke have five kids, including an adopted daughter. While Charlie is still too young to understand the significance of his adoption day, he was all smiles and enjoyed the attention during the court hearing.

adoptive dad holds son on his lap
Courtesy of Moriah Quimby & Embrace Washington

“Charlie is so very loved (and spoiled!) by all of our kids. They absolutely adore him!,” Moriah tells Love What Matters. “They’ll argue over whose turn it is to get him out of his crib to get his morning snuggles. He is everyone’s constant source of entertainment and when the adoption day finally came we were all so thrilled! He was going to be ours forever!”

“The ceremony flew by and we had all of our family and friends there celebrating Charleston Luke, aka Charlie, officially becoming our son. It was the best feeling! And Charlie loved it. He was as quiet as can be. He loved the cameras,” shared Moriah.

Congratulations, Charlie, on navigating the NICU, pulling through, and officially becoming part of your forever family! That smile on your cute face says it all.

foster son smiling on adoption day
Courtesy of Moriah Quimby & Embrace Washington
adoptive family in front of courthouse on adoption day
Courtesy of Moriah Quimby & Embrace Washington

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Moriah Quimby and Embrace Washington. Join the Love What Matters family and subscribe to our newsletter.

Read more foster care stories:

Rocking Chair Generously Donated To Family Caring For Foster Baby With Brain Cancer

‘They chose us. They’re coming in two hours!’: Couple shares unexpected sibling adoption from foster care

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