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Nurse Spots Teen Mom Of Triplets In The NICU, Knows What She Has To Do Next.

Shariya Small was only 14 years old whens she gave birth to triplets at 26 weeks gestation.

With no family to support her, the teenage mother sat forlornly next to her premature babies’ sides for days on end. No one came to sit with her or hold her hand. No one brought her anything to eat or drink. The only person who seemed to notice Shariya at all was NICU nurse Katrina Mullen.

Katrina, a mom-of-five, personally related to Shariya because she put a child up for adoption when she was 16 years old. In time, she shared this detail of her life with Shariya.

“Something shifted after I told her that I was a teen mom,” Katrina recalled. “That’s when we really developed trust.”

For over 5 months they chatted and got to know one another as Shariya learned how to take care of her newborns in the NICU of Community Hospital North in Indianapolis, Indiana. Though Katrina kept things light on the outside, she quietly worried about the eighth-grader’s home life and future. Just before the triplets were discharged, Katrina slipped Shariya her phone number.

“I said, ‘If you need anything, you just call me,'” Katrina recalled. “‘If you need to talk, or you have a question, I’m here.'”

Shariya and Katrina began texting and FaceTiming. The young mom relied on her older mentor to help her take care of her babies, and Katrina got a closer look at Shariya’s home situation. One day, the nurse drove over an hour to Shariya’s house to pay her a visit. She was shocked to find that things at home were worse than she feared.

Neither Shariya nor her three babies had their own beds, and one of the babies was sick. Department of Social Services got involved, and soon Katrina received a call asking if she would take Shariya and her babies in. Even with three of her kids still living at home, Katrina knew she couldn’t say no.

“I knew it would be impossible to find a foster home that would take all four of them,” she explained. “No one was going to take a teen mom and her preemie triplets. I just kept thinking, ‘I have to do this.’ I knew Shariya was intelligent and resilient and she just needed a safe place to put her roots. I knew it would be hard, but we’d figure it out.”

Katrina went through the process to become a certified foster parent and welcomed all four of her new family members to her house with open arms. She helped Shariya learn to parent her infants, but now she says she takes a backseat because the teen mom has come so far. Shariya, now 17, even graduated from high school with an A- average and plans to study social work in college.

After 668 days of fostering, Shariya officially became Katrina’s mother at an adoption ceremony in October 2022. Her kids now have a real grandmother, who they call “Lala.”

“I’m so proud to be Shariya’s mom,” said Katrina. “She just amazes me every day. When she’s frustrated with the babies, she never raises her voice. She’s just blossoming into this incredible woman.”

We are continually amazed at how life puts us exactly where we need to be! Katrina was meant to be Shariya’s mom, and it took a lot of strength and courage to be the parent she needed. We’re so happy it worked out so well for this sweet family.

Share this story to wish Shariya well as she heads off to college!

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