One of the most emotional things a family can do is welcome a new member into their fold. It takes a lot of love, an open heart, and a willingness to change your entire life to adopt a child into your family. These couples and families opened their homes to new members of all ages, and — get your tissues ready — their stories will move you to tears.
An incredible journey to meet their son
Dennis and Carita Chen tried to conceive for nine years with no success. They realized that they had fertility issues and decided to go the adoption route. They had planned on a foreign adoption until a friend connected them with an adoption attorney whose client was looking for an Asian couple to adopt her baby.
Unfortunately for the Chens, the birth mother later decided she wanted someone from her own family to adopt her baby. But then, right after the baby was born, her other option fell through. The hospital social worker called the Chens and asked them to travel to California to take custody of the baby boy. Cautiously, the Chens made the trip from Texas, knowing that the adoption could still fall through.
“The whole trip has been closing the distance between us and our son,” Dennis said in the video, as he drove to the hospital. Carita mentioned that hundreds of people were praying for them to meet their son that night. The couple counted down the seconds until they could meet their new son, and cried when they finally saw him in the hospital.
Dennis leaned over his son, tears dripping from his eyes, and said, “It took so long to meet you. Hi Jacob. I’m your dad. You have no idea how many people have prayed for you.”
Love and fate brought them together
When Walt Manis was a kid, he had a vision of himself swinging a little girl around in his parents’ backyard, and of God telling him it would be his daughter and that her name would be Chloe. Annie, his future wife, grew up in his neighborhood and always wanted to meet someone just like him. They reconnected when Annie went to university, and she told Walt she had a name picked out for her future daughter. They were both shocked when she told him the name — Chloe.
After marrying, the couple tried for four years to have a child, without success. They became impatient and frustrated. “It was really hard,” Annie said. “I struggled with questioning God’s goodness, because I felt that it was such a mean thing to do.” Walt recounted, “Every time we would hear about someone getting pregnant, we would just be devastated. Because we were thinking this isn’t going to happen for us. We’re fools who want kids, and it’s never going to happen.”
Finally, after intense deliberation, they decided to adopt. They were elated when they got the email from the adoption agency that a birth mother chose them. When they met the birth mother, she told them that she had been thinking of a particular name throughout her pregnancy…Chloe.
Walt and Annie both burst into tears, knowing this was the baby God meant for them to have.
From abandoned in a trash bag to loving family
Rachel and Jim Van Eerden went on a trip to Ecuador with their two eldest kids and took a tour of an orphanage for children with special needs. While they were on the tour, Rachel saw a baby with Down Syndrome and fell in love at first sight. The baby, whom the family named Eddie, had been found by a carpenter who saw a trash bag moving next to the dumpster outside his workshop.
Even though the Van Eerdens already had ten children, they knew they were meant to adopt Eddie. The adoption took five years, but the Van Eerdens persevered. After three trips to Ecuador for court hearings, the couple finally brought him home. “We have a lot of children. And our hands are full,” Rachel said. “Why would we want to take in a child with special needs? Of course there are sacrifices, but what Eddie pours into each of us far outweighs any sacrifice.”
Rachel told the Greensboro News & Record, “He’s truly blessed our lives. He’s taught us more of what our lives are about — reaching out and loving people.”
A very open adoption
Callie Mitchell got pregnant in her early twenties and recorded the story of her pregnancy in her journal. At first, she was excited to be pregnant. She had a loving boyfriend, and both of their families were onboard. But two months into her pregnancy, she and her boyfriend broke up, and she realized she wouldn’t be able to give her baby the life she wanted for him. It was then, that she reached out to an adoption agency, Graceful Adoptions.
Meanwhile, Kristen and Brian Doud, a couple in their early 30s, were looking to adopt a baby because they couldn’t have biological children. The Douds were willing to have an open adoption to increase their chances of getting picked. “We were open to anything,” Brian said, “Because we wanted a child.”
None of them realized how open their relationship would be. Kristen was the first person to hold baby Leo, when he was born. But Mitchell communicates with Leo every day and went to visit him for a weekend soon after he was born. Mitchell’s son is getting the opportunities she wanted him to have in life, and she still gets to be a part of his childhood.
“There’s no regrets or second thoughts,” Mitchell said. “Every part of me knows that I did the right thing.”
She asked the man who raised her to adopt her
Some of the most moving adoption stories happen when teenagers honor the people who raised them by asking to be adopted. Misty Nicole Knight asked a family member to record her, before giving Ryan Farrell a gift. She told him to read the attached note out loud.
Farrell sat down and began reading the note from Knight. “I just want you to know that you’re the most amazing man I’ve ever met. You’ve raised me my whole life, from putting my hair into tight Princess Leia buns, to forging my signature like in fifth grade, and jamming out to alternative music.” He read, “I cannot imagine not having you in my life. I’m so grateful to be able to call you Dad. You are probably wondering what this letter is for. Well, open the present already. It’s okay to cry.”
Farrell tore the paper off and opened the box, where he found a Batman versus Superman onesie in his size. He got so excited about it, he almost missed the adoption papers underneath. When he finally got to the papers, he stood up and said, “Wow, it’s a petition for adoption.” He wiped away tears as he hugged his daughter.
“God, I’ve been wanting to do that forever,” he said.
A couple adopts a 19 year old after mentoring her
Meredith, a 19-year-old whose mother died when she was six years old, went to live with Anna and Zach Dennis soon after she graduated from high school. Anna had taught and mentored Meredith in high school, and knew that she needed support. The couple originally only planned to have her live with them for six months.
Then Zach brought the three together, telling Meredith, “I want you to know that you’re one of the most gifted and talented people I have ever seen. You’re brilliant, and you’re athletic, and you play instruments, and you speak other languages. I want you to know that you are so valuable.” He wiped the tears from his eyes before saying, “I just want you to know that we love you so much. We want this to be permanent and we want to adopt you into our family.” Meredith immediately sank into Anna’s lap, sobbing.
They hugged as Zach said, “You haven’t been loved and protected and taken care of as you should be. We are going to take care of you forever and protect you and love you. We’re always going to be here for you. We’re here to stay.”
She asked to be adopted at her graduation party
Joe Losco had been Lauren Hernandez’s unofficial dad for 17 years when she decided to make it official. Hernandez invited her family and friends to her high school graduation party in Plainfield, Illinois. At the party, she gave Losco a wrapped box, which he opened to find a picture frame with a poem inside.
He read the poem to himself, and then leaned over and hugged Hernandez. Her mom yelled, “You did it, baby!” Then he took something else out of the box — a stack of adoption papers. He immediately sank down to the ground, where he wept with emotion. Hernandez leaned down and put her arms around him.
Hernandez told CBS2, “I never doubted that he was my dad. The fact that it’s going to be official makes me happy.” Losco said, “I’ve wanted nothing more than to be her dad from day one. Growing up, I came from a separated family. I always had it in my mind that I would never want other kids to go through that.”
They adopted four kids in 24 hours
Kaley and Jeremy Carling went to school together from elementary school through high school and began dating in their junior year. After they married, they decided they wanted a family, but learned that they wouldn’t be able to conceive naturally. They then went through two failed adoptions.
Then, one day in August of 2015, they received a phone call about two foster sisters who needed a home. That same day, they also learned of a woman who was pregnant with twin girls who had chosen the Carlings to be their adopted parents.
A little over a year later, in October of 2016, both of the adoptions were finalized within 24 hours of each other. Kaley wrote on Reddit, “Our journey to get to this point has been anything but easy; health issues, infertility, failed adoptions, death. Heartbreak. We are here to give hope to those in a similar situation to persevere, to push through. When you feel like giving up, don’t. It will all be worth it in the end.”
Families come in all shapes and sizes
All of these adoption stories are different. Some couples find that they can’t conceive and long for their adopted babies. Others already have large families and welcome needy children into their homes. Still other stories show teens recognizing the loving adults who raised them as their true parents. Even though these families come in all different shapes and sizes, one thing remains constant — their huge hearts, and their palpable love for each other, knows no bounds. These kids aren’t “lost causes” and neither are they “damaged”. They’re kids without a home, without a family and all they ask is to belong to someone; to be loved.
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