In his first five months of life, Parker Terence Lachmore has already spent more than one week in the NICU, flown from Arizona to Florida with his adoptive parents and been formally adopted over Zoom during a global pandemic.
Parker was born on New Year's Eve in Arizona. Just a few hours after his birth, his soon-to-be dads, Anthony Lach and Chris More, thousands of miles away in Florida, got the call that a baby ready to be adopted had been born.
Lach, 31, and More, 29, dropped everything and flew from their home in Orlando to Arizona to meet Parker, who was in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
"We found out he had a traumatic birth and had an inflamed lung, which was giving him respiratory issues so he was on CPAP [continuous positive airway pressure] and had a feeding tube," Lach told "Good Morning America." "We hadn't signed any [adoption] papers yet so [the nurses] weren't allowed to tell us anything that was going on with him."
"They just kept telling us that he was going to be in the NICU a while because he was very sick," he said. "It was scaring us but every time we looked at him we just knew that he was our child and we figured no matter what it could possibly be, that we'd stay with him and we'd get through it."
Lach and More signed the adoption papers for Parker and then spent the next week with Parker in the NICU. The newborn defied the odds and was kept in the NICU for only nine days total, instead of the weeks or months that nurses initially predicted.
"The NICU nurses told us that once we started to hold and carry him and feed him, that he was getting himself better," said More. "He decided that he was ready to come home with us."
More, Lach and Parker flew home to Florida as a family of three on Jan. 13. Sitting next to them on the flight, by chance, was a NICU nurse, according to Lach.
The couple had not expected to be called for a potential adoption for several months, or even longer, so their home was not prepared for a newborn. Friends organized a registry and when Lach and More arrived home in Orlando, their kitchen was full of gifts and every item they needed at the time for Parker.
"All these things kept falling together in place," said Lach. "It was overwhelming."
The couple was preparing for Parker's official adoption on April 15th when the coronavirus pandemic struck and the courthouse temporarily stopped all adoptions.
"Chris's mom was going to fly in from England and my whole family was coming and we were all going to get together at the courthouse for this huge event in our lives," said Lach. "We were just thankful to be with Parker, but we really wanted to get it finalized."
In early May, Lach and More learned the court had begun holding adoptions virtually.
Parker Terence Lachmore was formally adopted on May 14 during a Zoom call with his dads and about 25 of their family members and closest friends.
After the virtual ceremony, Parker's adoption was celebrated with a car parade featuring nearly four dozen cars.
"We live in such a dark time, but there was so much light on that day, it was just amazing," said Lach. "For me, being a dad is something I've dreamed of since I was very little. My mom raised me in a single-family household and I always vowed that I was going to be a dad and be the best dad possible."
"It was such an overwhelming emotion," added More. "There was something about it that was just right."
Parker's middle name is Terrence, the first name of More's father, who passed away in England just before Parker was born.
Parker is now a healthy and happy baby with none of the medical complications that plagued him as a newborn, according to his dads.
Shortly after bringing Parker home to Florida, More and Lach learned that Parker has a half-sister who was also adopted. The family who adopted the 3-year-old girl lives less than 30 miles from More and Lach.
"We've been in touch and it's as if we've known them forever," Lach said of the toddler's adopted family. "It's really great to know that Parker is able to grow up with his half-sibling."