Beauty Revived has joined with Adoption.com to bring you the 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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Photography for this session by Katie Warren Photography Website

1000 long side-13People often warn against blind dates, and a blind date on Valentine’s Day? Absolutely to be avoided. Yet my husband and I sat holding each other tight and praying for the ultimate gift of love on Valentine’s Day as we began the most important blind date of our lives: meeting our son’s birthmother.

There is nothing that could have prepared me for the enormity of this moment. Sitting across the table from us was a woman who was approximately my age, her hair straightened much like mine, and her upbringing similar to my own. We had one conversation to decide if she would trust us enough to allow us to be the ones to raise the little boy she carried within her. I can’t pretend to know exactly what went through her mind, but I know that it was the type of choice that can only be made with love. It takes a selfless mother to give another woman the privilege of protecting and loving the little one she carried for nine months.

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I know she picked us partly because she saw pieces of herself in the pages of our profile book—a love of reading, a musical inclination, a strong bond with family. What we grew to learn over the course of that initial match meeting and a few doctor’s checkups was that we had more in common than we could have ever guessed. As we sat together listening to Ray’s heartbeat one Friday afternoon, she asked what name we were planning to give him. I explained that we had chosen his middle name Dean in honor of my father, and she just looked at my like, “You’re kidding!” When I asked her if that name was okay, she explained that Dean is her dad’s name, too. On a different day, we discovered we both had a grandfather who served as a pastor. It just seemed like one thing after another showed how our lives intertwined in a way that was more than pure coincidence.

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The whirlwind of seven weeks between the initial match meeting and Ray’s birth drew to a close one day earlier than planned. I was just beginning to teach my 4th-period English class when my husband appeared in the doorway drenched in rain. “Let’s go meet our son.” I literally leapt in the air. All of the waiting and praying and preparing, all of the fears and worries, were washed away with these five words. The road between our town and hospital was a flooded blur, yet I don’t remember anything but the joy of calling our parents to tell them that today was the day.

We sat in the waiting area as Ray came into this world. We watched anxiously as the nurses took him to his birth mother’s room. At last, the adoption specialist came out to tell us Ray’s birth mother was ready to see us, but she also wanted us to meet her father. This was more than we could have ever hoped for.

He shook our hands, gave us his blessing, and thanked us for all that we would do for his grandson. Once he stepped out of the room, Ray’s birth mom asked if we were ready. We were. Tenderly, she placed Ray in our arms—our son, a boy blessed with two families that love him beyond measure.

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