June 15, 2008 12:30 PM

In 2006, Dallas Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware and wife Taniqua suffered the unthinkable when their first child, Omar, was stillborn.  During an ultrasound the couple learned that their baby stood no chance of survival, for he had no kidneys; Arrangements were made soon thereafter for Taniqua to deliver, something she calls "the low point."  "To go to the hospital and give birth and coming home with nothing," Taniqua said, left her feeling unsure of "how to react.  You’re angry, hurt, upset."

Sadly, it would not be the couple’s only brush with loss: Two other pregnancies ended in miscarriage, one before Omar’s stillbirth and one after.  DeMarcus — in an interview in today’s New York Times — said that he carries the memory of each pregnancy and each child with him to this day, both on and off the football field.

I feel Omar out there with me, watching over me and protecting me. Sometimes, when I’m tired on the field, and I feel like I can’t go anymore, I just think, what if he had one more breath? What if all three did?

But this Father’s Day, the couple finally has reason to celebrate, for their dreams of parenthood were recently realized through adoption.  Their 3 ½-month-old daughter Marley — named after DeMarcus’ favorite reggae singer, Bob Marley — was born on leap day, Feb. 29.  After making a last-minute flight to meet their newborn daughter in the hospital, DeMarcus told Taniqua "you a momma now," to which Taniqua replied "and you a daddy."  Marley, DeMarcus said, is "our little angel."

DeMarcus, 25, and Taniqua, 26, were married in March 2005. To see photos of Marley, click here.

Source:  New York Times; Photo by Jason Merritt/WireImage.

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