Every year, we love to look back on the positive adoption moments from the last 12 months. Let’s be real — adoption can be really challenging, so we want to celebrate and cherish the joys of the process, too!
So, without further ado, check out seven of the most heartwarming adoption stories that 2019 brought us this year!
1. 5-Year-Old Brings Whole Class to Adoption Hearing
When foster parents showed up to finalize the adoption of their foster child Michael, they weren’t alone. Accompanying them was Michael’s entire kindergarten class.
After fostering Michael for a year, his mother floated the idea of inviting his class to his adoption hearing — and his teacher loved the idea. Together, they organized the outing, where Michael’s fellow students supported him with big red hearts mounted on wooden sticks. When the judge asked everyone in the room to explain what Michael meant to them, his classmates didn’t disappoint, saying “Michael’s my best friend” and “I love Michael.”
Watch the video below for the whole heartwarming story:
2. Adoptive Parents Receive Special Surprise from Airline
When Melissa and Carl heard there was a baby girl in California waiting for them, they quickly booked a Southwest flight to their destination. And, when their flight attendant asked if there were any special celebrations on board, Melissa timidly told the flight attendant they were on their way to get a baby.
To help celebrate the parents-to-be, two flight attendants asked the other passengers to write down well wishes for the couple — but that wasn’t all. When Melissa and Carl landed at their destination, Southwest employees welcomed them with handmade signs and a Southwest-inspired baby kit.
This couple got to the airport as fast as they could when it came time to meet their new family member. What they saw when they landed took them completely by surprise. pic.twitter.com/BfKcROdK5M
— Southwest Airlines (@SouthwestAir) July 24, 2019
3. 4-Year-Old Adoptee Recalls Moment She “Fell in Love” With Parents
When 4-year-old Gabby, adopted from China, told the story of meeting her parents for the first time, she melted hearts all over the world.
Her mother recorded a clip of Gabby recalling her adoption story for her mom, saying how she and her younger sister Lily were “very excited to meet you and our daddy.” Her sweetest words come just a few moments later, when she asks her mother if she knew what happened to Gabby’s heart when she first saw her mother.
“Well, when the first time I saw you, my heart fell in love with you,” Gabby says.
Watch her tell her story below:
4. Michigan Family Adopts Six Siblings to Keep Them Together
When Gabrielle and Shannon Fessenden first began fostering, they already had two biological children. But, when they first browsed the Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange’s website, they quickly fell in love with three siblings — Jordan, Jay and Myah — who would be separated if they didn’t find a home together soon.
So, Shannon and Gabrielle stepped up and, one year later, the three siblings were adopted by the couple. In the years to come, they would find that the siblings’ birth mother would have three more children. Each of these children would end up finding a home with Shannon and Gabrielle, who are now happy parents to 10 children.
“It’s never quiet. There’s lots of love and chaos,” Gabrielle told “Good Morning America.” “There’s always scampering feet, laughing and giggling, running. Our family’s hashtag is #theresneveradullmoment.”
5. NICU Nurse Adopts Baby She Met at Hospital
Liz Smith had plans to become a mom but, as a single pediatric nurse, she put the idea on the backburner after unsuccessful attempts at sperm donation, IUI, and IVF. But, her life changed forever one day working at Boston’s Franciscan Children’s Hospital. There, she met Gisele — a premature baby who would become her daughter.
Gisele was born at 29 weeks, weighing less than two pounds, after exposure to narcotics during pregnancy. While Smith’s original goal was to reunite Gisele with her birth parents, when they failed to meet reunification requirements, Smith stepped in to be the parent Giselle needed.
“You love them so much that you can’t imagine anything else,” Smith said.
6. Couple Finds Meant-to-Be Baby After Failed Adoption
Hopeful adoptive couple Andie and Danny chose adoption knowing pregnancy would be hard for Andie as a type 1 diabetic. But, they couldn’t have imagined how hard adoption would be, too.
In early 2017, the couple was matched with a prospective birth mother six weeks before the due date. After the baby was born, Andie and Danny were able to take care of them for the first two days — but the birth mom changed her mind, leaving them heartbroken.
But it was all meant to be — because it led them to their son, Cooper.
Watch their whole story below:
7. 90-Year-Old Birth Mother Meets Daughter for the First Time
It was 70 years ago that Elizabeth Pullen placed her daughter for adoption. And it was this summer that she finally got to meet her daughter, Lynn, for the first time.
The reunion was made possible by Pullen’s granddaughter, who took a DNA test and noticed a name she’d never seen before. The woman was Lynn Wray, who had written on her profile, “I am adopted, and I have never met my birth family.”
Pullen’s granddaughter reached out right away, eventually leading to a reunion between Pullen and Wray for the first time since Wray’s birth in 1949. Her granddaughter photographed and recorded the reunion.
“When you give a gift, you know someday it’s going to return. I knew I’d find her. I knew that was in God’s plan. I knew that I would see her someday,” Pullen told Inside Edition.
It’s clear that 2019 was a beautiful year for adoption moments — and we look forward to seeing more to celebrate in 2020 and the decade ahead!
What were some of your favorite adoption moments from 2019? Drop them in the comments below!