At 21 years of age, Hannah Mongie had her whole life ahead of her. As well as the whole life of her newborn baby boy, Taggart. However, even though the new mother commemorated her son’s birth by making a heartfelt video for him, he would soon be taken from her.
Like many expectant mothers her age, Hannah hadn’t planned on falling pregnant at 18. She’d been with boyfriend Kaden Whitney for only two months, although they had been pen pals since 2013. He’d been a missionary for the Church of Latter-Day Saints, but when he returned in April 2015 the pair began dating.
When the young Utah couple learned the news of Hannah’s pregnancy, they weren’t sure what to think. They discussed giving up the baby for adoption, but they were also excited by the idea of becoming parents. Kaden even began hoping for a boy, so that he could play baseball and other sports with him.
Eight weeks after becoming pregnant, Hannah went to the doctor’s for a sonogram. She heard her baby’s heartbeat, a pulsing of life that told her she was dealing with something real, something alive, rather than an abstraction. And after the appointment she texted a recording of the heartbeat to a thrilled Kaden. But his joy would prove to be short-lived; shockingly, tragedy lay just around the corner.
Two days after hearing his child’s heart beat for the first time, Kaden’s own heart stopped beating. He passed away suddenly in his sleep, only 20 years old. So Hannah was left to face the arrival of the baby by herself, making an already difficult situation even harder.
Hannah’s initial reaction was to keep the baby, who would be her only physical link to Kaden. She could barely even contemplate giving away her child to an adoptive mother and father. However, upon waking up one morning, she suddenly realized that the baby was “supposed to be with someone else.”
As a result, Hannah decided to give her unborn baby up for adoption, believing that it was vital for the child to a have “a mommy and a daddy.” And using the website adoption.com, she came across another Utah couple, Brad and Emily Marsh. “They were beyond anything I could have asked for,” Hannah says.
Indeed, Hannah needed only two weeks to decide that Brad and Emily were the right adoptive parents for her son. She adored both of them, with her and Emily becoming especially close. Still, the decision to give her child up for adoption wasn’t one Hannah could make easily.
The teenager went into labor a couple of weeks early in March 2016. She was taken to the Utah Valley Hospital in Provo, where she finally brought her son into the world. Touchingly, Hannah named him Taggart Kaden, after the father who couldn’t be with her to share the joyous occasion.
But as joyous as it usually is to welcome a newborn, Hannah knew that Taggart’s birth was different. She had only 48 hours to spend with her son before she had to hand him over to Brad and Emily Marsh. And she wanted to do something by which Taggart would remember his birth mom in the years to come.
So Hannah decided to film a video, with Taggart still in her arms. In the clip Hannah tells him, “I made this video, so you know how much I love you.” She then proceeds to tell the little baby why she made the decision she did, all the while fighting back the tears. Moreover, Hannah’s emotional explanation went on to reach a far wider audience.
Indeed, the video has now received more than two million views on Facebook. It’s here that people have flocked to see how Hannah was forced to put Taggart up for adoption “completely out of love.” In the video, she explains that during “the entire pregnancy, all I was waiting for was these two days I could spend with you.”
Hannah also tells Taggart, “I just want you to know that I really, really love you so much. More than I’ve ever loved any other human in the whole world.” As she says this, she strokes the boy’s chest and lets him grab her index finger with his hand, a moment of bonding before the inevitable separation.
As the video comes to its close, Hannah lets Taggart know that she’s “really excited” for Emily Marsh. “She’s gonna be the best mommy in the whole world,” Hannah says, behind a steady stream of tears. She then finishes the video by telling her son to “love your mommy, Hannah.”
It was only an hour or so after Hannah finished filming the video that Emily and Brad saw Taggart for the first time. And it was only 48 hours after giving birth to him that Hannah was forced to say goodbye to her little boy. However, there is a special twist in this story, since Taggart’s adoption isn’t quite of the usual kind.
That’s because Taggart was given away as part of an open adoption, something which Hannah had in fact already discussed with Kaden before his death. This allows her to continue seeing Taggart, even though the boy’s legal parents and guardians are Brad and Emily Marsh. And it’s thanks to this arrangement that Hannah has effectively become part of the Marsh family.
Moreover, Hannah regularly babysits Taggart, or “Tagg” as he’s affectionately known. In fact, she’s such a regular fixture at the Marsh household that the family celebrate her birthday as well as that of Tagg and their two other young children. “With Hannah’s birthday we try to celebrate, eating out together and spending time together,” Emily told Megyn Kelly Today in January 2018.
And even though this arrangement may seem strange to some, the Marshes find it perfectly healthy. “I think for some people it’s hard to comprehend the idea of us having such a healthy, balanced relationship with one another, where everyone feels safe and protected in their roles,” Emily continued. It turns out that, prior to adopting Taggart, she and Brad were already bringing up another son in an open adoption.
As for Hannah, she’s also happy with the choice of adoption method. “I wanted my adoption to be open so that my son could always know where he came from,” she told Megan Kelly Today. And while she may have been tempted to raise Tagg herself, Hannah and her family believed he needed both a mother and a father.
And even if Hannah isn’t the mom she “always” wanted to be, she does hope to become a fully fledged parent one day. “When I am older and have some more education and work experience behind my belt, I have every intention of being a wife and a mother,” she said. For now, though, she’s just happy being a “tummy mummy.”