This adopted little girl shares a unique bond with her daddy.

Meghan Overdeep
July 21, 2017

Brian and Molly Pierce always knew they’d adopt, and not just any child. Because Brian was born with a cleft lip and palate, the couple was sure to communicate to their adoption agency that should a child with the same ailment be available for adoption, they were equipped to handle him or her with the necessary care. So when they opened the envelope containing a photo of their baby-to-be in China, Brian tells Tennessean.com that he wasn’t surprised.

The couple felt an instant connection with Hattie. Molly even commented, “She smiles with her eyes,” which is what she told Brian on their second date.

“The first time I looked at Hattie’s picture, I saw myself in her,” Brian wrote in a blog post. “But I was giving myself too much credit. She is tougher than I ever was.”

They brought Hattie home 10 months later, and Hattie received surgery for her cleft lip and palate at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta—the same hospital that operated on Brian 40 years ago. “I knew what was in store for Hattie. I knew that I could help. I couldn’t keep her from having to go through any of it, but I could be there for her,” Brian wrote. “I could say, ‘Daddy went through that, too. And here I am, smiling at you, proof that it all turns out okay in the end.’”

Hattie is now four years old, and Brian told Tennessean.com that she’s doing wonderfully. “Everyone who meets her falls in love with her. All the other kids like to play with her.” Four decades ago, kids teased Brian about his scar. If that day ever comes for Hattie, he’ll know exactly what to say.