On October 24, 2015 in the middle of the night, I was wide awake and literally compelled to go into our empty nursery and pray. That night, I sat in our third bedroom and prayed over our adoption. I prayed for our child and the birth family, and the story that God was writing. I stayed in that room for over 3 hours and filled 11 pages in my journal. This never happened again, and I didn’t think much of it until nine months later.

Nine months later, a brave woman gave birth to our baby girl. And as we pieced together our stories, I learned that Ellery was conceived on October 24th, 2015. The night I was called up to pray, was the night that all of our lives were greatly changed by one sweet baby, even if none of us knew it yet. The final chapter of our adoption journey, really started to unfold last spring.

In March, we were matched with a birth mom who was having a little boy. On April 4th, we received a phone call saying that the adoption had fallen through. And just like that, we were back at square one.

The next morning, on April 5th, our adoption agency met with a birth mom named Emilie. At this meeting, she was shown our profile book. And the very next day, she chose to meet us. Had our adoption fallen through even one day later, Emilie would not have been shown our book.  Seventeen days later, we walked into our adoption agency to meet Emilie.

My heart was pounding as we walked into the little conference room. I remember seeing Emilie, and her mom and her sister for the first time. Emilie was was standing, and we hugged right away. Within minutes, I loved her and her family.

Throughout the meeting we cried, Emilie cried, and her family cried. Tears of heartache, mixed with tears of joy and relief. We talked about Emilie’s story, her dreams, her love for this baby. We talked about our life; our dreams, and our love for adoption. The hour and a half flew by.

As we sat across from Emilie, Kenny and I would look over at each other; and I could tell we were both thinking the same thing. This is the reason. This is the reason for all the confusing paths and closed doors and hard choices that we had to make: Emilie and her baby were going to be a part of our lives forever.

On Saturday morning, we got the official phone call. Emilie had chosen us to be her baby’s adoptive family. We were so grateful, and really happy.

Emilie Kimberly and KennyWe spent the next three months getting to know Emilie. We hung out several times and we texted quite a bit. We met her whole family. They all met Parker. We shared meals together; and it seemed like we had known each other so much longer.

Over the months, Emilie has become more than our child’s birth mom. She is our friend and an extension of our family. And because this is her story too; we wanted you to hear her own words.

Before you hear those words, please know this: Adoption is laden with layers of joy, and grief and beauty. And sometimes all at once.

When Emilie hand wrote us a card, to share that her baby was a girl, we were so excited. But there was also an ache in my heart. Em was going to sacrifice this sweet bond that a mom and her baby girl share; and she was gifting that to me.

As I held onto Emilie in the hospital while she labored and as we all saw Ellery for the first time, there was joy and awe for this beautiful little life, but there was also heaviness because we knew what was coming.

As Emilie held Ellery inthe hospital, kissed her head, and handed her to me one last time, I could hardly breathe. This moment was sacred and we all knew it. As I looked around the room, tears flowed down the cheeks of Kenny, Emilie, her parents, her sister, and her brother. Ellery is deeply loved. And that is what I will always know, Emilie loves Ellery, so much. Her chosen loss, her entrusting Ellery to Kenny and me, is drenched in brave, genuine love.

Every day when I look at Ellery, this sweet, amazing gift, I am reminded of Emilie. Ellery’s life is beautiful. She is a picture of God’s faithfulness and perfect work. I still can’t believe that we were chosen to be her parents.

Read about Emilie our Birth Mother’s Story here