Tom Connolly from Australia was just your typical 23-year-old athlete studying at the University of the Sunshine Coast.That is right until he received some heartbreaking news about his 17-year-old cousin, Kiarna.
Tom learned that Kiarna homeless and was 32 weeks pregnant. He was truly heartbroken that the girl was in such a desperate situation, especially since she was his favorite cousin growing up when they were younger and he had so many loving memories of their childhood together.
Kiarna was homeless, had no shoes, no phone, and the baby’s father was in jail. Tom made the decision that he would take her in “to make sure she’d keep the baby, stay off the streets and have a better life.”
As they reunited, Kiarna told Tom everything about what her life has been like to her over the past few years.
“Life dealt Kiarna a poor hand, and she’s had to play it best she could,” Tom said. “She’s spent more time on the streets than anywhere else and knows the police better than she knows her own family. She could write a book on traumatic experiences… Nobody deserves the life she’s had.”
Tom knows that he needs to do more so he can be sure that Kiarna could have the best life possible for her and be able to keep her baby beside her. He decided to adopt her and become her legal guardian.
After he became her legal guardian his incredible act of kindness went viral on the internet.
“Everyone likes to tell me this is such a big responsibility,” Tom said in an interview, “but I wasn’t thinking about uni or work or anything, all I was doing was thinking that she needed me.”
“I took her in, to make sure she’d keep the baby, stay off the streets, and have a better life,” he added. “This was her only option.”
Tom got Kiarna set up with a “brand new bed, and brand new life… away from drugs, violence, and drama.” The next week she gave birth to a beautiful baby boy.
At the moment Tom, Kiarna and her baby are living together. Tom thought Kiarna how to drive, got her braces and helped her to once again go to school. He says that his goal is to help her so she could be independent one day.
When asked about why he decided to take on that big of a responsibility, Tom simply answered, “Family comes first.”
“When bad things happen, it’s your family that supports you,” Tom continued. “It means no one gets left behind or forgotten. I’ve had my family pull my head out of the gutter before… It was time to pay it forward.”
“It was family helping family,” he said. “That should always be a standard thing.”