With two biological children and an adopted child Stephanie Hollifield and her husband AJ wanted to fulfill their dream of having a large family and looked into adopting another child.
“Although we were excited about fostering and hopefully adopting again, we were also nervous about parenting four children. But, our baby fever had taken over our once rational brains, and so we pressed forward,” Stephanie told Love What Matters.
While the couple, from Columbus, Ohio, contemplated life parenting four children and completed all the study and paperwork to do so, Stephanie discovered she was pregnant.
Stephanie said they celebrated being pregnant and the idea of adopting “slipped away”.
But six months into her pregnancy the couple received a call asking if they could foster a baby girl but their dreams were shattered once again after she told them she was pregnant.
“She told me that typically, they don’t place a newborn with a family that is expecting. So, we went on with life. I still thought about that baby. I would love to have another girl. I have always wanted twins, so two babies who were a few months apart could work. Maybe. But, rules are rules,” Stephanie said.
But after just a few weeks Stephanie received a call again about the now 7-week old baby girl as the agency couldn’t find a home for her.
Stephanie was asked if she could talk it over with her husband and then drive three hours the next morning to pick her up.
“This was crazy! Who has babies three months apart? Also, I would have FIVE kids! That’s TLC reality show level nuts!”
The next day a heavily pregnant Stephanie and her husband nervously drove half way across their state to collect the baby girl, wondering if they’d done the right thing, but as soon as they saw her face they knew.
“Big brown eyes and tiny dimples looked up from an impossibly tiny face, and at seven weeks old this child was smiling. To see this beautiful, perfect and helpless baby, was to immediately love her,” she said.
As soon as Stephanie held baby Haley something switched and in the space of just ten minutes they had signed the appropriate documents and was walking out the door with a new baby.
Stephanie described the days after her baby son Silas was born and coping with two infants as fulfilling a dream she never knew she had.
“I still remember exactly how she and her brother felt curled in my arms as I would sing them songs and they would coo in an effort to match my words.
“I remember how magical it was the first time they laughed together. I remember how much sheer joy they brought us.”
The babies bonded immediately as if they were twins but Stephanie said she did get strange looks.
“I vividly remember the crazy looks I got walking down the street with my huge pregnant belly and a newborn baby draped across my chest. I would probably stare too.
“It’s an odd sight, and honestly something I never imagined for myself. But, there I was about to have two babies three months apart.”
But not long after Stephanie and her husband received devastating news. A social worker called to let them know that Haley’s relative was fighting for full custody.
“The relative was much older, single, no children, no job, living in poverty, but legally she had every right to custody. The case worker told us she would be much better off with us, but that’s not considered in these situations,” Stephanie said.
The news left the couple with feelings of fear and desperation as lawyers and social workers told them they had “little to no chance to fight this.”
They struggled to imagine the life that Haley would live, a life they described with “so many unknowns.”
She added: “I couldn’t bear the idea that she would be tossed into a life where there were no siblings to play with, no grandparents who loved her, and no father who would give her the world if he could.”
‘It didn’t seem real’
But the week before their court date it seemed all their prayers were answered when a social worker told them the relative had changed her mind.
The couple didn’t hesitate to begin the process of adopting Haley and when she was 10 months old the little girl who had always felt like a daughter to the Hollifields, legally became part of the family.
“After all the months spent worrying, it didn’t seem real until the judge declared her legally and forever ours. No more social workers, home visits, or nights wondering if they were our last nights together.”
Now her babies are two years old and although Stephanie said it’s been hard work they never once regretted their decision to take in a baby girl right before the birth of their son.
“My favorite part of being a momma is seeing my kids together, playing and falling to the floor in the middle of belly laughs,” she added.
“There has not been one single second of one day that we have regretted our choices. There has not been a day that has passed that I am not tickled to get to be her momma.
“I will live the rest of my life trying to be worthy of the title.”
What a brave and beautiful family that show how much children just need love; it should be the driving force behind everything.
Please share this story with others to pay tribute to these wonderful parents and their amazing children.
The post “I vividly remember the crazy looks I got with my huge pregnant belly and a newborn baby draped across my chest” – Woman unexpectedly becomes mom appeared first on Happy Santa.