Austin Anthony (Western Kentucky University)
Domestic Picture Story
William Brown, 19, and Stephanie Foster, 23, met in June of 2013 in Bowling Green, Ky., and quickly fell in love. They moved in together within a week of dating, and a month later Stephanie was pregnant.
They decided to name the baby Serenity, after the Serenity Prayer.
Stephanie had had two previous children that she gave up voluntarily to the state after her relationship with the second child's father ended badly. Serenity would be William's first child. Stephanie was excited because she had never been treated as well as William treated her.
"(He's) been the best man I've ever been with," she said. "He's never once put his hands on me and that's the kind of guy I've been looking for. Now that I've found him I can't let him go."
Serenity was born on April 6th, a week and a half early. Serenity was born with meconium in her airway and had difficulty breathing due to having a bowel movement during the delivery. She was immediately taken to the NICU. "I felt hopeless I'm supposed to be her mom I'm supposed to help her and take care of her and I didn't know what happened," Stephanie said.
Serenity recovered the next day, but a social worker had already stopped by Stephanie's room after learning Serenity had gone to the NICU.
A day later they were told to arrive in court on April 9th for a temporary custody hearing. Reasons cited in the hospital documents included "Parents are inappropriate when visiting infant", that they treated her like "a baby doll", and "both parents seem to be either very immature or perhaps mentally challenged."
William said he was nervous to hold Serenity after she was born because of her IV and breathing apparatus, and Stephanie believes it had to do with the fact that they put Serenity in a dress while she was in the NICU.
After the court hearing William broke up with Stephanie because he believed that disassoc
William Brown, 19, kisses Stephanie Foster, 23, who is 6-months pregnant with their first child together, in their apartment in Bowling Green, Ky.
William touches Stephanie's stomach, hoping to feel a kick. "We found out and he got so excited. I've never seen that boy smile so huge," Stephanie said.
The day after Serenity was born Stephanie called friends to let them know that the baby was now healthy, but that a social worker had already come by their room.
William cries outside of the hospital as he tells Stephanie that if it comes down to a choice between staying with her or getting to keep Serenity that he will choose to keep his daughter.
William breaks up with Stephanie because he believes it will better his chances of getting to keep Serenity. Stephanie pleads with him to let her stay because she has no where else to go.
"I was really looking forward to marrying you," Stephanie said as William held her face. "You're the only man that's ever treated me right.""I don't want anybody else," William replied. "But I have to do this."He then left the house for a few hours, and when he returned decided that he couldn't leave her.
Stephanie and William sleep on the floor of the living room together, the warmest room of the apartment. They plan to stay together regardless of if they get custody of Serenity.
Serenity's bedroom remains the same as the day before she was born. She has never been in Stephanie and William's apartment.