They were born facing the most incredible obstacles, but triplets Madeline, Macey and Mackenzie have achieved more in the past 10 years than most people do in a lifetime.
Their parents had drug problems and didn't see a doctor during the pregnancy. Macey and Mackenzie were born conjoined, attached at the pelvis with a shared, third leg and entwined intestines. Unable to care for their daughters, all three were placed in foster care. And, as their case worker Linda Kontis confesses: "Nobody wanted these babies."
Until Darla and Jeff Garrison came along.
The couple were already parents to three sons, but had always wanted daughters. So when they got the call from Linda in December 2002 asking if they would consider fostering the girls, they put aside their fears and said yes.
Their decision lead to many difficult years as the family coped with babies suffering severe medical problems. The twins had a colostomy bag that needed frequent changing, they cried in pain from the tissue expanders implanted in their backs and abdomens in preparation for planned separation surgery and suffered from speech and learning delays.
Even dressing the babies was tricky. Darla's mother would sew two onesies together and make a hole for the third leg. "There were times I had my hand on the phone, thinking, 'I'm not cut out to do this,'" Darla admits.