20. The Path to Adoption
When it comes to parenthood, it truly is a moment that will change your life and perspective forever. For one couple, when attempts to have a child failed, they turned to adoption as an alternative. The choice would radically change their lives and bring them together in ways they never thought possible.
19. A Day They’ll Never Forget
On the day of their son’s adoption, both Mandi and Tyler Palmer were overwhelmed by emotion. The day was a culmination of years of proving they were suitable parents and could raise their son in a healthy and happy home. While they were waiting for the judge’s decision, they thought back on the long road to get to this point, and then their toddler spoke out…shocking them both.
18. Proud to Serve His Country
A long time before Tyler and Mandi met, Tyler served in the United States Army. As part of the 101st Airborne, he served in Afghanistan only three weeks after he finished basic training. While he was proud to serve his country, the times in Afghanistan were extremely difficult both mentally and physically.
17. Starcrossed Lovers
After his time in Afghanistan concluded, Tyler was more than ready to return back to the United States and his loving family. And things were about to get even better for Tyler because he was about to meet the woman of his dreams.
16. The Woman of His Dreams
Shortly after returning home, Tyler met Mandi. They began dating almost immediately and fell in love. Unfortunately, Tyler was given the news he was being deployed to the Middle East once again. Thankfully, he knew his relationship with Mandi had a strong foundation, but it was difficult leaving her, especially since Mandi struggled with medical issues, one being Crohn’s disease.
15. Will You Marry Me?
The couple spent a year apart during his deployment, but when Tyler returned Mandi was in for quite the surprise. “He was deployed for nine months, and one month after he got home, he proposed and we got married a few weeks later,” Mandi said.
14. The Goal of Creating A Family
Almost immediately, both Tyler and Mandi knew they wanted to have children and create an extended family. “We both knew we wanted our own family so greatly but didn’t know what God had planned for us,” said Mandi.
Sadly, Mandi’s Crohn’s disease made the process quite difficult.
13. Years of Trying, No Results
Mandi tearfully recalled the long and arduous road of trying to get pregnant. “We tried for years to get pregnant but soon came to realize that it wasn’t going to happen, nor would it be safe for my body to sustain the miracle of pregnancy due to my illness,” she revealed.
12. The Possibility of Adoption
With the door closing to having children naturally, Tyler and Mandi turned to the possibility of adoption. They decided it was most likely the only way they would have a child, but knew the road to becoming adoptive parents was a long one. However, they refused to give up on their dream of having a family.
11. The Right Path Forward
Tyler and Mandi were convinced they were making the right decision when they saw several different notices for foster parents being needed. As they saw more commercials and local announcements, the couple decided they needed to give a child a second chance at life.
10. Applying to Be Foster Parents
For Mandi and Tyler, their faith played a huge role in their decision to become foster parents. They believed it was God’s plan for them, so they took a leap of faith and joined the licensing program that would open the door to a foster child being allowed in their home.
9. Meet Baby Hunter
It took a few months to become licensed, and the paperwork and steps to certification were exhausting, but the end result was so worth it. Within a week of becoming licensed, Mandi and Tyler received word of a little baby boy named Hunter that needed a family. It almost seemed too perfect, but soon, they would have a son to call their own!
8. Instant Parents
Immediately, the couple knew they needed to purchase supplies for their new baby. They quickly rushed out to the store and stocked up on everything they would need. Then they went to meet their new baby. “We arrived at children’s services and there was Hunter, all bundled up in a receiving blanket, and he was being held by our caseworker. He was eight days old and absolutely perfect. We fell in love with him instantly,” Mandi revealed.
7. A World of Uncertainty
One of the main concerns that Mandi and Tyler struggled with when deciding to become foster parents was the possibility of the child being taken away, such as in cases when the biological parent changes his or her mind. However, the moment Hunter entered their lives they were willing to take the chance.
6. Fighting for the Family
Tyler and Mandi were not a couple that would back down easily. They wanted to keep Hunter and the bond they shared with him was unbreakable. They would do whatever was in their power to adopt him officially and make their family permanent.
5. Sixteen Month Process
The adoption process was much longer than either Mandi or Tyler had anticipated. It would take time, love and dedication over a period of sixteen months to get to the finish line. There were hearings, meetings and home visits that took place. Finally, on December 18, 2017, their final hearing was scheduled.
4. A Baby Changes Lives
Hunter was a beacon of hope and change in both Tyler and Mandi’s lives. Despite Mandi’s Crohn’s disease and Tyler suffering from PTSD, Hunter brought them so much joy and unified them as a family unit. They wanted it to be official…no more uncertainty.
3. A Special Day
The day their final court date arrived, the family dressed up for the big event. They waited patiently in the courtroom, anxiously awaiting the judge’s final verdict on their adoption. “It was very emotional, in a good way,” said Mandi later on. “We had all of our family and friends there. At the end of the court process, the judge announced Hunter’s new legal name.”
2. One Moment, One Word
At that moment, Hunter looked over at Tyler and yelled out to him, “Dad!” It was an emotional minute of pure love, and one the family will never forget.
1. A Family Complete
And with that, their family was complete. It was a long journey, but so worth it. Now they could move forward, leave the past behind them and forge a wonderful new future.