When Faith Rose Roberts was born, no one could predict that she’d ever make it to her wedding day. Faith and her twin Rose Aimee, were born conjoined, face-to-face, and they could not survive that way. Baby Rose, Faith explained to PEOPLE magazine, was a “parasitic” twin: without proper organs of her own, “She was using my blood and my heart to pump through her body, kind of like I was her backup generator. And it was working for a little bit — like 24 hours. And then they realized it was killing me because I couldn’t keep both of us alive. So they decided to try to save one.”
When the twins were three days old, they were separated, and Rose Aimee passed away soon after. Faith was given the middle name Rose in honor of her twin. And beyond all odds, Faith survived.
Janin Pierce, a nurse, was there when Faith took her first breaths, and held her hand just after birth. Twenty-two years later, she also held Faith’s hand as she officiated the wedding of the bride to her sweetheart, marine Tyler Roberts. It was only fitting that Pierce was there for this big day: she’d been there for literally every other milestone in Faith’s life. She connected with Faith’s family at her birth and through Faith’s many other hospitalizations and surgeries. She became part of the family, celebrating birthdays and holidays with them.
“She took care of me once, and we never let her go,” Faith says.
Over the years, Faith had over a dozen surgeries and hundreds of doctor’s appointments to try and help her grow up healthy and normally despite being born with the many physical challenges that come with being a conjoined twin. Through the loving care of the medical staff, she found a second home there. Seeing Pierce just added to the comfort.
“The doctors and the nurses — especially Aunt Janin — they would make me feel like I wasn’t alone,” she says. “A lot of kids get scared when they got to the hospital. But for me, seeing Aunt Janin, that was going home. That was the place where people got me. That was the place where I was understood and I felt safe.”
When Faith and Tyler Roberts were planning their wedding, she knew there was no one else she’d rather have officiate. Pierce, also a youth pastor, was hesitant at first, but Faith would not have it any other way.