An Arizona police officer has given a little girl a forever home after meeting her while on duty.
This summer, Brian Zach, lieutenant of the Kingman Police Department and his wife Cierra, officially became parents to 4-year-old Kaila.
In March 2018, Zach was working as a patrol sergeant when he and his officers got a call to check Kaila's residence. Kaila is a survivor of abuse and Zach spent that night bonding with her, he told "Good Morning America."
"We colored, we snacked ... she held my hand and she was just this cute little thing," Zach said. "Once detectives came, they picked her up and took her to the hospital."
Zach, who is a father to two other children, went home after spending hours with Kaila and told his wife that he wanted the child to come live with them.
During this time, Kaila was being treated for multiple injuries as a result of physical abuse. Zach said criminal charges were filed against Kaila's caretakers.
Zach said when child protective services couldn't find immediate placement for Kaila, he and Cierra stepped in.
"She came with a sippy cup, a bag of clothes that didn't fit her and that was it," Zach said.
"Within the second day she was calling my wife 'mom' or 'mommy,'" he added. "I was 'guy' for a week or two and then when she started preschool she learned who dad was."
On Aug. 18, 30 months after she came into their care, the Zachs officially adopted Kaila at Mohave County Superior Court in Lake Havasu City.
"We lived each week not knowing if she was going to go back to her biological parents, or how long we were going to keep her," Zach said "Our goal was to love and care for this little girl for as long as it happened."
Kingman Police Department's chief of police Rusty Cooper told "GMA," "Lt. Brian Zach’s commitment to public safety is exemplified in his commitment and love for Kaila. Both Brian and his wife Cierra are amazing parents."
"They are committed to the service of others and a cause that is greater than themselves," Copper added. "We are proud of Brian and thankful that he and his family are part of the Kingman Police Department."
Zach said Kaila enjoys preschool, animals, dancing and make-believe play when going on "cruises vacations" in her cardboard box.
"She is so comical, she is so witty," he added. "She's just a character."
Zach's message to families who are considering adoption is to not be afraid of the process because it's "well worth it."
Editor's note: This was originally published on Dec. 2, 2020.