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Retired Captain Adopts 3-Year-Old Girl after She Was Abused at Home: 'She Is the World to Me'

Ayesha Muhammad
Dec 24, 2021
08:00 A.M.

When a couple was asked by their friend to serve as her daughter's foster parents temporarily, they never thought they'd end up adopting the little girl. The child had endured a lot and finally had a safe and stable environment.

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Children deserve to grow up in a happy, loving, and supportive family. Sometimes, the lack thereof can have detrimental effects on a kid's physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Little Maci Jones experienced something similar in life.

Maci was an adorable and lively child who loved dancing and the beach. But her life took a drastic turn, leaving her in a terrible condition. On September 20, 2017, her mother received a call from her then-boyfriend, Stevie Wallace.

THE SHOCKING PHONE CALL

Maci's mom had started a new job and left her with Wallace in her south Indian River County rental home in Florida. Wallace informed her that his little son and Macy fought, leaving the girl slightly bruised.

Days went by, and Macy's condition continued to worsen. She felt exhausted and even vomited. Eventually, she and Wallace took her to Indian River Medical Center, but what the doctors told her next shattered her completely.

It turned out that Macy's bruises weren't a result of a fight between toddlers. She had severe brain swelling and eye damage. According to physicians, her brain was bleeding so badly that it was declared inoperable.

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SEVERELY BRUISED

Dr. David Walters, a child protection team physician, explained that Maci's injuries reflected an intentional trauma inflicted by an adult. He said they were equivalent to falling three stories onto cement or being thrown unbuckled from a speeding, crashed vehicle.

The couple looked after Maci for the next two months, and miraculously, her condition improved.

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Walters revealed there was a likelihood the little girl's brain cells would continue to die. Maci was taken to Palm Beach Children's Hospital at St. Mary's Medical Center. She was in a critical state and underwent several surgeries.

SURVIVING THE WORST

As per court documents, she had extensive bruising on her body, an injured lung, brain damage, and a cut on her face. Moreover, deputies found multiple inconsistencies in Wallace's statements about his son's fight with Macy.

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Wallace was charged with aggravated child abuse and was held with no bond at the county jail on January 17, 2018. Maci's mom found it challenging to look after her daughter while balancing work, eviction proceedings, and investigation at state child affairs.

Then, she reached out to her friends, the Joneses, asking them to temporarily become her daughter's foster parents. Darin Jones was a 55-year-old retired Indian River County Captain who had served around 30 years in law enforcement.

THE JONESES

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He had started a restaurant in downtown Vero Beach when he and his wife, Lisa Jones, heard from Maci's mom. Initially, the Joneses didn't know the complete story. They saw Maci a month later when she woke up from her coma. Darin shared:

“All you had to do was look in that’s baby’s eyes. She’s laying there, and she’s so helpless. … I cried. How can you do that to a little girl?”

The couple looked after Maci for the next two months, and miraculously, her condition improved. Darin and Lisa decided to adopt Maci after realizing that her unmarried and young parents couldn't care for her properly.

Netizens left comments on TC Palm's Facebook post about Maci's adoption. | Photo: facebook.com/tcpalm

Netizens left comments on TC Palm's Facebook post about Maci's adoption. | Photo: facebook.com/tcpalm

OFFICIALLY ADOPTED

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The Joneses officially adopted Maci on August 15, 2018. Looking after her was a challenge that her adoptive parents happily welcomed. Darin even sold his restaurant to take her to doctors' appointments and therapy. The happy father expressed:

“Out of everything I've ever done, this makes me feel the best."

Maci attended several physical and speech therapy sessions and learned sign language. She struggled to see, speak and walk properly, and her hand and arm movements were hampered.

Netizens left comments on TC Palm's Facebook post about Maci's adoption. | Photo: facebook.com/tcpalm

Netizens left comments on TC Palm's Facebook post about Maci's adoption. | Photo: facebook.com/tcpalm

But with Darin and Lisa, she started thriving and enjoyed vacationing and eating delicious desserts. Little Maci finally had a renewed chance at life thanks to the Joneses. We need more people like them.

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