LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WKBW) — If you ask any parent who has lost a child, they'll tell you it's something you never move past. For the Stanton Family from Lockport, the loss of their infant daughter started them on a journey that's changing lives and allowing them to open their hearts after heartbreak.
Adelynn and Nick Stanton welcomed their fourth child into the world earlier this year. Piper Joy was born at 31 weeks. She had Down Syndrome, fluid around her heart, and a form of leukemia. The family says it was a miracle they were able to meet their baby in person.
"They told us there was about a zero percent chance she would make it out of the Operating Room," explained Nick. "When she was born and they got her breathing and we got to look into her eyes and see our girl, we were ecstatic at that point."
"She was so precious," echoed Adelynn. "They whisked her away...when they came back and told us she was alive - I just remember sobbing."
Piper started the fight of her life in a Rochester hospital. Adelynn was by her side, but because of COVID-19, Nick and Piper's siblings, Sloan, Silas and Quinn, weren't able to be there. When Piper started to lose her fight, her dad was finally able to be there.
"I got 16 hours with her. Just holding her, praying for, praying over her, kissing her," said Nick.
Piper died on May second, a week after she was born.
"I carried her almost exactly seven months in my womb, and she lived exactly seven days," said Adelynn. "In the Bible - that's the number of completeness and perfection. I feel like it was a way for God to speak over us that her life was complete."
The Stanton family began the grieving process. Adelynn was heartbroken over the loss of Piper. But as she went through the motions of burying her daughter, the same thought kept coming back to her.
"As I'm moving through my grief and feeling that kind of sorrow, the Lord kept pressing upon me that we needed to adopt," she explained.
Months later, the Stantons decided they would add another child to their family. They decided to adopt a child with special needs, just like Piper.
"Every time I told somebody my baby had Down Syndrome - they were like, 'I'm sorry.' I said, 'I'm not sorry - have you ever met a child with Down Syndrome?' We want to show the world that these babies - they matter. They're worth fighting for. They're a gift," said Nick.
Adelynn reached out to an adoption agency, and made a connection that seemed like fate almost immediately.
"The night before I had called, and specifically requested a child with Down Syndrome, they had had a birth mother call and inquire about making an adoption plan for her child with Down Syndrome," she said.
That mom lives in the New York City area. From the first phone call, Adelynn said it seemed like the baby boy she was carrying was meant to be theirs.
"I just felt this sense of peace come over me - that this may be the baby the Lord had chosen for us," she said with a smile.
That baby is due in January, and the Stantons are going through the process leading up to an adoption, including a home study. They're already looking forward to the day they can bring him home to be with their family.
"It's not Piper, but his life is so intertwined with Piper's. So it will feel complete," said Nick. "Completing this chapter of bringing a baby with Down Syndrome into our family."
The adoption process can be very expensive, so the Stantons have set up a Go Fund Me page to help cover the costs. If you'd like to see it, or to donate, you can click here.