The neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU, is the scene of the first few moments of the purest and most precious lives. It is a place that holds many stories of triumph, trauma, and boundless love, changing the trajectory of families. Over 10 years ago, in 2010, it was also the place Derrick Massie first encountered a child of the Baby Moses Law—a law that allows a mother to drop off their newborn at a designated Safe Haven if they’re unable to care for them. In the hospital where he worked and cared for so many babies before, he held this little abandoned infant and wondered, “What would happen to him?” From that moment, Derrick and his wife, Nicole Massie, began to explore the journey of becoming an adoptive family.
“I remember that night I called my wife and asked, ‘If I came home with a baby, would you be mad?’” Derrick said.
Derrick and Nicole were only married for two years when Derrick had this pivotal encounter. As young newlyweds, they were open to ways they could be a family and provide a safe place for children in need. After learning they simply could not take in the infant, they talked to their good friend Jailynn, our Director of Community Engagement, to find out how one can provide support for children without a home. From there, they became verified CK Family Services foster and adoptive parents and allowed God to take them on a journey.
“We went into this saying ‘we will provide a safe space for a child however long is needed,’” Nicole said.
Fostering was a challenge for the pair as they were met with the reality that uncertainty was part of the norm. After a sudden reunification of a child in their home, they coped with the chance of letting go without saying goodbye again. After mourning the loss, they decided they were still in it for the long haul. “We’re in this foster thing. Whether it’s for 15 minutes or 15 years,” Derrick said.
As luck would have it, their next placement would eventually become their son, Nicholas. After 13 months of road trips, preparation, training, learning, and going back and forth, they officially adopted him at just 21 months old. Nicholas is “very bright, funny, quirky, and a giver,” as his mother Nicole describes him. Their initial process of coming together was nothing short of God’s orchestration because they weren’t originally matched to be together. Nonetheless, Nicholas became a Massie. After months of patient nurturing, on the day his adoption was consummated, he called Nicole “mama” for the first time.
Despite their confluence at his young age, there was still a season where Nicholas had to learn how to trust and accept his new family. Nicole calls this season “the process of Nicholas falling in love with us.” It took a consistent pursuit to build a relationship. However, the simplest moments were the biggest wins. “I distinctly remember one day we were in bed, and he crawled on my leg and played,” Nicole said. “I remember it because it was the first time he initiated touch with me.”
Now, many hugs and years down the line, Derrick and Nicole continue to learn how to manage love, discipline, and advocacy as they go through the lifelong journey of raising their son. Armed with their trainings and support from CK Family Services, they get through each day and each season with prayer and faith. Not only do they support each other, but they also advocate for foster and adoptive parents in our community. All in all, adoption has transformed their home, hearts, and lives for the better. “We recognize the Lord was teaching all of us that we are stronger than what we could ever imagine,” Derrick said.
This Adoption Awareness Month, learn more about becoming an adoptive family by visiting www.becomeackfamily.org.