credit Katrina Mullen – Instagram

Sometimes there are no limits to what a person will do for their family, and in the case of a NICU nurse that was true, seemingly, for one of her patients as well.

Nurse Katrina Mullen cared for a 14-year-old teen mom of premature triplets, named Shariya Small, and feared that the three babies would all be sent into foster care based on Small’s economic and familial situation.

“I am very familiar with how scary it is to be pregnant at a young age like that,” Mullen told Small, per the Washington Post’s report on the story. “If you need anything, if you need to talk, I’m here.”

Indeed, Mullen was herself a teenage mom and received her first pregnancy at age 16. Today, she is a single mom of 5 children. Small’s three infants stayed at the Community Hospital North in Indianapolis for a total of five months before being discharged, during which time Small and Mullen formed a close bond.

This continued after they left, as Small continued to call Mullen in moments of child-rearing stress after she went to stay with her aunt—the only person she had whose door was open. A trip to her house showed Mullen the economic side of the stress, as the kids all had one playpen and a single bassinet to share between them.

Then the call that Mullen feared would come arrived—Child Protective Services notifying that Small and her kids would be separated and put into foster care. So Mullen acted fast.

MORE ADOPTION STORIES: Couple Adopts 5 Siblings on Nat’l Adoption Day so They Won’t Be Separated

“I didn’t even think it through,” Mullen said. “Everybody in my life thought I was insane, and I probably was at that point, but I could not let her be separated from them.”

What she didn’t think through was the choice to foster, and then even to adopt, Small and all three of her kids.

Well wishes have poured into the new immense family of 9, and a GoFundMe set up by Mullen to raise money for a “financial cushion” accumulated over $80,000

“We are overwhelmed and overjoyed at all the love, kind words, and encouragement being showered on our family,” Mullen wrote in an update. “My mama ❤️ explodes every day.”

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