Beauty Revived has joined with Adoption.com to bring you 50 Most Inspiring Adoption Stories. We have found 50 amazing photographers with big hearts to donate a session to tell the story of an inspiring adoption story in their community.

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Photographer: Terra Cooper Photography

Terra: I met Celeste volunteering my photography services at the hospital and was taking pictures of her angel baby girl. They were one of those families that just remained with me and touched my life, even though I spent a short amount of time with them at the hospital and one visit after. Lyndi was in my adoption support group online, and I saw that she had placed with Celeste. I was so happy because I knew what an amazing family she had chosen! It’s such a small world! Then when I heard the rest of her story about placing her first daughter with Celeste’s sister Amanda, I knew I had to tell their beautiful story about sisters raising sisters.

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Lyndi: My name is Lyndi, and I am a birth mother to two beautiful girls. My first, Kate, is 2 ½ , and my second, Ellie, is three weeks.

When I found out I was pregnant with Kate, my older sister Lisa contacted her friend Amanda, who is an adoptive mom, asking her for advice on adoption. She then had me read Amanda’s blog where there was a story by the birth aunt of her first son, Max. After reading that story, I knew I needed to place Kate and was ready to pick a family. The next day, Lisa told me that Amanda and her husband, Jared, were looking to adopt again. As I thought about my options, I knew in my mind that Kate belonged to Amanda and Jared to complete their little family. On December 28, 2011 I met with Amanda and Jared at LDS Family Services to tell them I wanted to place with them. There were tears of joy and lots of excitement coming their way. We started our journey to get to know each other better and involving the two little boys, Max and Connor, in the entire process.

On April 25, 2012, I had Miss Elizabeth Kate. I had the adopted couple in the delivery room along with my mom and my sister Lisa. Jared even got to cut Kate’s cord. Kate had to be in the NICU, even though she was healthy. The doctor wanted to keep a close eye on her since I ran a high fever during the delivery.

Placement day was April 27, 2012. It was a very emotional day; however, I got through it with all the love and support from my family, the adopted couple, my doctor, and the nurses at McKay Dee Hospital.

Our relationship is very open, and we have visits anywhere from weekly to multiple times a month. They have even come to a few of our family vacations and outings at the lake.

A couple years later, I started cosmetology school and was excited to start a career in that field. In late August I found out I was pregnant with Ellie, and I knew adoption was the right path. I met with Amanda to tell her the news. A lot of sad tears were shed, as well as talk on who to place with. A week later Amanda, called saying she needed to talk. When I arrived she asked me If I would think about placing Ellie with her sister Celeste and Celeste’s husband, Josh. I said, “Absolutely! I know what great people they are and that they would be good parents for Ellie.”
In mid-September, I met with Josh and Celeste at Amanda’s mother’s house to tell them I wanted them to adopt Ellie. It was a very emotional night, and we all left in tears of happiness. We spent Saturday nights getting to know each other, and that even included their son Jackson.

On January 3, 2015, little Ellie Celeste was born. Josh, Celeste and Amanda were in the room as well as my mom. Amanda was our photographer, Josh got to cut Ellie’s cord, and Celeste got the opportunity to do skin-to-skin with Ellie. It was an amazing experience to see the bond between Ellie and Celeste, as well as Ellie and Josh.

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Placement day was January 5, 2015. This placement was very hard; I had gotten very attached to Ellie, but I knew I needed to place her with Josh and Celeste. Before I signed papers, my parents and I had a moment with Ellie and said a prayer to help me get through it. Soon after signing, we all left the hospital with many emotions.

My adoptions are both open, and we are such a close family that I consider both adopted parents as my siblings and best friends. Once again, I couldn’t have made it through the adoption process without the love and support of my family, the adopting couples and their families.

Amanda: It’s funny how one conversation can change your life. One conversation, one small part of a conversation, is how our youngest came to be a part of our family. About 10 years ago, I became friends with a family that lived in our townhouse complex. We became friends quickly as we had similar interests, went to the same church, and our husbands often were mistaken for each other. We became close and stayed in touch even after we had both moved away.

One day, a few years ago, I got a message from this friend stating that her little sister was pregnant and was thinking of placing. She was wondering if I would be willing to let her talk to someone in our boys’ birth families to know what it’s like to be part of a birth family and how she could be supportive to her sister. Knowing that our boys’ birth families would be more than willing to talk to her, I replied and put her in touch with the sister of one of our boy’s birth moms. In that same email, I decided to add at the end that we were thinking of starting the adoption process again and that if she were comfortable, we would love to be considered as a prospective family.

That one conversation led to Lyndi considering and choosing us as the family for her little girl! I was so excited! It was perfect. We already knew and loved the family. There was no awkward “dating” stage. The relationship came easily with Lyndi, and she was easy to love. Delivery was a riot. We laughed, we danced, we were so comfortable with each other that it even threw the nurses off a little. Kate entered this world to a room full of people that loved her and loved each other. That love has only grown.

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CELESTE:

My husband and I had been trying to add to our family for several years. We didn’t have many issues getting pregnant. However, we did have issues carrying full-term. After several losses, an angel baby, and some other health issues, our hopes for an alive, full-term baby were very small.

Eighteen months after our last loss, my husband and I felt profoundly that it was time to add to our family. We were excited about the prospect of expanding our family but so afraid of the potential heartache. We decided that we would face our fears and try anyway. The next week, my sister (who has adopted all three of her children) called to tell me the birth mom of her youngest was expecting a little girl, wanting to place again, and would we be interested in adopting?

We desperately wanted this little girl to be a part of our family, yet we were deeply intimidated. Could we honor, love, and include the birth mother in our lives? Could we teach this little girl about her biological background and help her navigate the complex beauty of her identity? We were afraid to let this beautiful birth mom down in one way or another. However, after many discussions with my spouse and God, we came to the conclusion that there is a big difference between something being wrong and something being hard. Even though it was out of our comfort zone, we knew we could learn how to be what the birth mom and her little girl needed. We knew that we could do it with the help of God.

We then met with Lyndi and her mom to see if Lyndi would be interested in considering us as an option for Ellie. We weren’t sure what to expect, or what Lyndi would think but we felt it important to talk about it if she wanted to. At this first initial meeting Lyndi told us that she wanted to place with us. Even though she had so many people to choose from, she chose us. We were so grateful for this, but completely intimidated at the same time. We made plans for the hospital, and discussed what this adoption would look like.

Once it came time for delivery, we all met at the hospital together and spent the next 12 hours in the delivery room. Many nurses commented to us how unusual our adoption situation was because of how different it felt in the room with all of us. They told us that it felt like we were all one big family, and not two different families. We all felt such love, and trust that it was a truly beautiful experience.

There are so many emotions to process in an adoption situation—some bitter, and some sweet. We loved getting to know our birth mom better and had so much respect for the way she and her family handled the situation. They accepted us into their family and enveloped us in love. Throughout the whole experience, we felt as though we weren’t just being blessed with this beautiful little girl, but also an entire family.

The process of adoption has offered us so much more than just the already extraordinary gift of a child. The circle of people that love us and our children is now larger and more powerful than ever.

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