After deciding that we would grow our family through adoption, we didn’t waste a second in starting the process. We met with our church leader and caseworker and worked on getting paperwork and online profile complete. We were approved to adopt just before Christmas 2011.

We sent out holiday cards with our adoption information and pass-along cards asking for help in growing our family. Eight short days later, just before Christmas, we received an email from from Breanna, an expectant mom who was considering adoption. She had found our profile on our agency’s gallery of hopeful adoptive families, and that was the start of an amazing relationship. We started emailing every few days asking questions to get to know each other and discuss the kind of open adoption we both wanted. We decided to meet after the rush of the holidays and started texting back and forth.

My husband and I were both nervous and excited when we drove to the agency to meet her face-to-face. The agency asked questions for the both of us to answer. After, we took Breanna to lunch outside of the agency setting to get to know her better.

We met–and went out to dinner with–Breanna’s parents the next weekend. We were equally as nervous for this meeting as we were to meet Breanna. However, after a few short minutes of talking, we felt like we were talking with old friends. They shared stories, family histories, and their hopes about Breanna’s choosing adoption. We answered their questions as best as we could and went our separate ways.

Just as we got into our car to leave the restaurant, Breanna called asking if she could see us within the next few days. We looked at each other and wondered if Breanna was going to choose us to parent her baby girl. We scheduled dinner at our home for a few days later.

Cooking dinner for Breanna and her parents made me feel like I was on a Food Network reality show. This had to be a good meal! Just as we sat down to eat, Breanna gave us a bunch of balloons, a gift bag containing a cross stitched bib, a framed ultrasound photo with a note saying, “Congrats Mom & Dad! It’s a Girl!” We were so excited. It didn’t feel real! We couldn’t stop smiling all evening. We were going to be parents! We spent the next three months before Breanna’s due date getting to know her better and building our relationship. We gathered supplies for a nursery, had baby showers, and prepared as best as we could for baby girl to arrive.

Two weeks before her due date, we had plans for Breanna to come to visit. I was going to cut her hair and then we were going to shop together for Baby Girl’s “Coming Home” outfit. But while driving to our house that day, Breanna starting having contractions. After a quick haircut and blow-dry, Breanna was headed home and for the hospital.

We had planned to be waiting at the hospital when our baby was born. However, Breanna’s slow labor took a sudden turn, and Baby Girl was coming right then.

Little six-pound Amelia Jo was born while we were driving to the hospital. Both she and Breanna were healthy and and doing well. Breanna called us so we could hear Amelia’s cry.

Finally, we arrived at the hospital. Flowers in hand, we went in to meet our new daughter. We wanted to make certain that Breanna was doing well and that we didn’t offend or upset her. We wanted everything and everyone to be perfect.

Breanna handed Amelia to me and said, “Go meet your mom and dad.” It brought me to tears to hear Breanna say that. Kevin was holding Amelia like she was a tiny porcelain breakable doll, and I was perfectly happy standing by while he rocked Amelia in his arms.

We stayed at the hospital for the next few hours, loving this new little girl. We watched Amelia’s birth grandmother give Amelia her first bath, and when she was all wrapped up and in Breanna’s arms, we said good night and headed home.

Breanna’s original plan had been that we would be at the hospital the day Amelia was born, then let Breanna have the next two days with Amelia, and come back to the hospital for placement. But when we left the hospital that night, Breanna asked us to come visit the next day.

The next day, after a rushed work day for both of us, we put an empty car seat into our car and drove to the hospital. We brought dinner to Breanna and her family and enjoyed a short visit before heading to a local hotel for the night.

We woke up and immediately had a prayer in our hearts for Breanna and her family. Although we trusted that Breanna would place Amelia with us, we knew that she had the option to change her mind. Birth mothers have up until signing the paperwork to do so. We hoped today would be the day we become parents.

We stopped by the hospital for lunch to visit Breanna and Amelia. Everything that we had hoped for, dreamed of, and planned on for the past three months was so close to becoming a reality. We left briefly to buy Amelia an outfit to leave the hospital in. We also wanted to give Breanna and her family some time with Amelia before signing paperwork.

Later that evening, we arrived back at the hospital to sign paperwork. After signing we were invited into Breanna’s hospital room. It was quiet and reverent. A feeling of peace filled her room. Breanna asked if we wanted to hold Amelia, and we said we would love to but that we wanted for her and her family to enjoy this new baby. Breanna handed Amelia around to her siblings and parents to say their good-byes while she packed her bags. Breanna held Amelia one last time and whispered to her while I silently cried. The nurses came in and let her know it was time. Breanna placed Amelia in my arms and hugged me, asking us to “take good care of her.” She was so strong as we both sobbed. This moment will be remembered forever.

We have an open adoption with Breanna. We hope that she will always choose to be a part of our lives. Breanna told us, “I know I am not supposed to parent this baby girl. I am in charge of finding her family.” Because of Breanna, we are a family. We can never thank her enough for her sacrifice.