Dad with cleft lip adopts baby just like him

ATLANTA – “She’s magnetic,” says Brian Pierce of his adopted daughter, Hattie.

When Brian and Molly Pierce were on their honeymoon, they met a family with a 12-year-old daughter adopted from China. The Pierces had always known they would adopt someday, and spending time with the family confirmed it was something they wanted.

Brian and Molly communicated through their adoption agency that Brian had a cleft lip and palate as a child, and that it was something they were well-equipped to handle. When they opened the envelope containing a photo of their baby-to-be, Hattie, smiling back at them, Brian wasn’t surprised to see that she had been born with a cleft lip and palate, just like him.

He felt an instant connection with Hattie. Molly said, “She smiles with her eyes,” the same thing she had said to Brian on their second date.

Ten months later, the couple brought her home to meet her new big sister and dog. Hattie received surgery for her cleft lip and palate at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, the same place Brian had gotten his own surgery nearly 40 years earlier.

Although Brian was often teased as a child for his scar, he says 4-year-old Hattie is doing wonderfully. “Everyone who meets her falls in love with her. All the other kids like to play with her.”

The social butterfly is best friends of all with her 5-year-old big sister. The girls play soccer together, although their coaches discovered they can’t be on the field at the same time. “They’ll just hold hands and ignore the soccer ball,” laughs Brian.

When asked if the family has Father’s Day plans, Brain says, “You’ll have to ask my wife.” Their daughters usually surprise him with something. “Last year, it was breakfast in bed, which was a scoop of ice cream at 6:30 in the morning.”

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