Maybe we need to accept that it’s never going to happen,” Michaela Robbins said sadly to her husband, Dave. The Pittsburgh couple had been trying to adopt for four years, but they still didn’t have a child to call their own.
Longing to share their love, in August of 2019, Michaela and Dave decided to volunteer at a local facility that helped infants and children transition from hospital care to home. They were planning on cuddling babies. But the first day they went, Dave and Michaela were told there weren’t any babies available.
But there was a little boy who needed some attention: Noah, a lively redheaded spitfire, who was four years old at the time. He had been born with arthrogryposis, a disorder that, along with growth, feeding and breathing issues, caused a contracture of his joints. Noah’s legs were permanently bent, making walking extremely difficult if not impossible.
As they entered Noah’s room, Dave introduced himself. Noah eyed him, then quipped, “You’re not Dave. I think you’re more of a Dav-it.” What a cute, funny little fellow, Dave thought.
Michaela was just as taken with young Noah, who quickly challenged the pair to a game of Go Fish and kept them laughing all afternoon.
The couple so enjoyed their time with Noah that they decided to visit him again — neither aware of how all of their lives were about to change.
Soon, Michaela and Dave were visiting Noah regularly. Then one day, a staff member offhandedly told them: “Did you know that Noah is in foster care, looking for a family to take him in?”
Michaela and Dave had no idea. But learning his situation, both felt an instant pull on their hearts. Could this be the child we’ve been praying for? Michaela wondered. “This kid is great. This feels so right,” Dave agreed, and in December 2019, they brought Noah home.
Noah was overjoyed. He was especially excited when he discovered that Michaela and Dave also fostered dogs. Soon after his arrival, they took in another pup: Lucky, a shih tzu who had only three paws.
Noah and Lucky instantly became best friends. Michaela calls them the dynamic duo. “It’s like they just get each other,” she and Dave marveled.
With Michaela and Dave’s love and care — and Lucky’s too! — Noah blossomed. Seeing him happy and thriving, Michaela and Dave knew they wanted to make Noah a permanent member of the family.
“I’m going to be a Robbins!” Noah exclaimed. “Dude, you already are,” Dave told him.
As the big day approached, Noah began asking Michaela and Dave if they could adopt Lucky too. “Best friends get adopted together,” he insisted. And on December 11, 2020, in a virtual adoption ceremony, that’s exactly what happened.
Today, Noah, 6, just completed kindergarten in a regular school. And after his latest leg-straightening operation, Dave and Michaela have high hopes that he will defy doctors’ predictions and be walking very soon — Lucky tailing him no doubt.
“Noah wasn’t what we were expecting when we set out on our adoption journey, but life is full of wonderful surprises,” Dave says with a warm smile.
Adds Michaela, “I believe that our family is exactly as it was meant to be. Noah and Lucky prove that love heals all hearts.”
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.