Adopting a child is one of the biggest decisions any family can make.
Josh and Allison knew that adopting a new baby and welcoming a sixth kid into the family would be difficult, but they had no idea just how difficult it would be. Their journey took them hundreds of miles and was filled with emotional twists and turns, but they were left with a blessing that they wouldn’t trade for the world.
Keep reading to learn about the amazing story of Josh, Allison and the newest member of their family.
Josh and Allison met and fell in love in college, and have been married for 15 years.
They imagined having two or three kids, but they soon found themselves the parents of four biological kids and one adopted kid.
They assumed their family wouldn’t grow any more, until they got a call from an adoption attorney. Allison picks up the story from here:
“She said that she’d remembered our talking about possibly wanting to adopt again and then shared that she was aware of a birth mom who needed a family for her baby.”
“I called my husband to get the conversation started, but instead of proceeding with his typically logical, slow process of decision-making, he exclaimed, ‘Absolutely! This is so clearly an answer to what we’ve been praying.’”
“When the call came to let us know that Sam’s birth mother was in labor, we wildly threw the kids and a handful of luggage into the van and hit the road for the 10-hour trip to Duke University Hospital in Durham, NC. The adoption attorney called.
‘Does Josh have both hands on the steering wheel?’
She proceeded to tell me that the doctors at Duke had just completed an ultrasound and had discovered that there were, in fact, TWO babies soon to be born. I always have a hard time articulating the emotions that poured themselves over us in that moment. It was something akin to ecstatic, overwhelmed, terrified delight.”
“As the fear eased and the excitement grew, our friend’s name reappeared on my phone’s screen. When she began talking this time, though, her tone was completely different. Gone was the lilt and in its place was a voice of heartache.
‘I’m so sorry to tell you this; they’re on their way now to do an emergency c-section, and they don’t think baby B will survive the delivery.’”
“A million and one things occurred during the next two hours of driving to the hospital, but when we finally arrived, we found a small, but healthy, baby boy cuddling with the nurses on the postpartum floor. But in NICU lay a precious three-pound darling whom we would soon find out was born without a brain.
The doctors looked at us with eyes of sorrow and compassion and said, ‘You don’t have to take her. We know this isn’t what you signed up for.’”
“From opposite sides of the tiny incubator, Josh and I said in unison, ‘She’s our daughter.’
Our whole family spent the next three weeks at duke with her, cuddling, singing, crying, and praying. When she was stable enough, Duke graciously provided a medical transport to fly her to Children’s Hospital in our hometown of Birmingham, AL where she spent three more weeks in NICU.”
“Finally, after 44 days in the hospital, Ava Leigh Lewis came home to her family.”
“Choosing Ava to be our daughter was one of the ‘hardest easy things’ we’ve ever done. We have multiple visits a week from her hospice team, and as much as we’ve come to love and treasure our nurses, their visits are a reminder that Ava’s life on earth will likely end much sooner than we would ever want.
We talk openly with the kids. They know that Ava’s life will be far shorter than what any of us would want for her. But they know that we’ve got a lot of love to pack in to a short period of time.”
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