Image: Facebook/Karen Faherty / Facebook/ABC 7 News – WJLA / Facebook/ABC 7 News – WJLA

Maryland parents-to-be Michael and Karen Faherty are awaiting an inspection from the agency that is dealing with their adoption. Suddenly, a commotion brings them to the front door of the couple’s home. It seems a gang of firefighters – as many as 30 – are gathering in the yard, and as an ambulance pulls up, Michael and Karen are wondering whether something has gone wrong with the adoption process.

Image: Facebook/Michael Faherty

Michael and Karen first met when they were students at the University of Scranton. Both members of the Reserve Officer Training Corps, they went on to join the military, making Baltimore their home. But their dreams of making their family bigger had fallen foul of infertility, and after four years of struggling with it, they plumped for adopting a child.

Image: Facebook/Karen Faherty

From the decision to adopt to actually welcoming a child into their home would take the couple a year, and now they were, they hoped, nearing the end of that process. The agency, Adoption Makes Family, had let them know that today they would be having a visit to check that the accommodation that they could offer would be suitable for a family.

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Image: Valerie Loiseleux/Getty Images

But noise from outside brought Karen and Michael to the front door, where a surprising sight awaited them. A host of firefighters was gathering on their front lawn. Michael, a firefighter himself, recognized the song that they were singing: “Little Red Wagon”, a tune that he’d learned the previous year at the academy. Alarmingly, an ambulance had also pulled up next to the firefighters’ truck.

Image: Facebook/ABC 7 News – WJLA

Then the firefighters began to form up into what looked like a guard of honor, and the door of the ambulance swung open. Out of it strode adoption agency boss Dean Kirschner, and he had something nestled in his arms. It was Karen and Michael’s adopted son, Michael Terrance Faherty III. The shocked new parents couldn’t believe their eyes – but far from responding to a disaster, the firefighters had gathered to say “welcome to your forever home” to baby Michael.

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