Being a parent is a unique experience. Most couples get to a point in their relationship where they are ready to take this next step together. However, a lot of couples struggle to conceive naturally and must look towards other solutions to starting their family. Adoption is one such option that many couples consider. But, even with adoption, things often go awry. Tyler and Mandi Palmer are familiar with the difficulties encountered when choosing to adopt. After they made the choice to adopt a baby, they were met with their fair share of hurdles along the road. When the time finally came for their court hearing, their toddler decided to pipe in and give his opinion on the whole matter. After he expressed himself, it was clear to everyone sitting in the room that Hunter was destined to be with that couple. It was an emotional day and one that the couple will never forget.
Every family experiences good days and bad ones. They also experience those moments that change their lives completely, for the better and for the devastatingly worse. For Tyler and Mandi of Perrsyburg, Ohio, that exact day had come. As they sat in the courtroom waiting to hear the decision that would dramatically change their lives, they were extremely nervous. The day would show them what genuine love really means.
This was a very emotional experience for Mandi and Tyler, an experience that adoptive parents and birth parents alike could relate to. The court hearing came after a long period of time during which Mandi and Tyler spent trying to prove themselves worthy as parents and keep their family unit in tact.
It seemed like it would take ages for the judge to speak and make a decision. However, most people sitting in that room would not have expected the toddler to be the one to break the silence. You might even shed a tear when you hear what he said.
Off To Fight
In 2010, Tyler Palmer paid his duties to the United States and enlisted in the Army. He served in the 101st Airborne division. Things progressed very rapidly with his service and not before long, he was sent on his first deployment to Afghanistan.
This came just a mere twenty days after he completed his basic training. This left little time for the soldier to process what was happening. The mission would be difficult for everyone around him, especially on Tyler.
A Pressing Experience
His unit would proceed to set records and receive many awards. Luckily for Tyler Palmer, he made it safely out of Afghanistan and returned home, unlike some of his fellow brothers. However, as with other soldiers who return home from war, Tyler was returning home with the emotional turmoil of his experiences.
He realized that while he had physically left the war, the war had not left him and he needed help. But, he was of course happy to be home with his loved ones. Plus, things were about to get all the better for him.
A Leap of Faith
In 2013, Tyler and Mandi met. It's safe to say that they fell for one another pretty much right away. Although Tyler was about to be sent to the Middle East for a second time, he was feeling confident about the start of his relationship with Mandi and knew that they were both very invested in one another.
Tyler's deployment would be very hard on Mandi, who was battling some health problems, but they both knew they wanted each other in their future.
Making it Official
Tyler would be away for nearly a year. Clearly, it would be hard on the couple in love. But, it was also a chance for the two to look at what really mattered in life. “He was deployed for nine months, and one month after he got home, he proposed and we got married a few weeks later,” Mandi later shared.
Tyler chose not to re-enlist in the Army again and decided it was time to put his Army days behind. He was diagnosed with severe PTSD in 2015 and decided to seek treatment at the VA medical center. He was also ready to begin a new life with his bride.
Starting a Family
Tyler and Mandi felt no need to take things slow and they were ready to start a family together. “We both knew we wanted our own family so greatly but didn’t know what God had planned for us,” Mandi said. Mandi had been dealing with Crohn's disease for the last 17 years of her life. Since being diagnosed with the disease, she has had dozens of surgeries.
She is currently being treated at a clinic and receiving monthly infusions and surgeries to keep the disease in remission. So, with her history of health problems and Tyler's struggle with PTSD, the path to starting their family wasn't going to go as smoothly as they hoped. The couple was having a very hard time trying to conceive a baby naturally.
A Bump in the Road
As is natural, the couple became increasingly frustrated and depressed as their weeks of trying to conceive turned into months and eventually years. "We tried for years to get pregnant but soon came to realize that it wasn’t going to happen, nor would it be safe for my body to sustain the miracle of pregnancy due to my illness,” said Mandi.
"After failed pregnancy test and failed pregnancy test, I talked to my doctors," Mandi said. "They were still hopeful, but I realized quickly that I couldn't gain weight. So I'm like, 'how am I going to be able to carry a child?" The couple, eager to become parents, weren't about to give up on their dream so easily.
The Taylors knew that they were meant to be parents and weren't about to give up their dream because they couldn't conceive. "Because of the health battles we’ve been given, we weren’t the type of people to just ‘throw in the towel’ and let our dreams of becoming parents get shattered" Mandi shared.
So, they began to discuss alternatives. They ultimately chose adoption as the safest choice for their unique situation. However, despite choosing this option, it didn't mean that things were about to flow smoothly. Anybody who has adopted can attest to the fact that it is a lengthy and difficult process.
Are There Any Foster Parents Around?
Tyler and Mandi were very open to the thought of becoming foster parents and recalled seeing notices about a need for qualified foster parents in their area. They had seen many commercials and announcements and understood the necessity of finding home for the many children and babies without one.
"We knew we wanted to pursue adoption in some form and it was then that we kept hearing our local counties cry for help with foster care. Day after day, we kept hearing the commercials asking for people to take the training and become licensed foster parents, as they were in great need of foster parents."
Taking it as a Sign
Tyler and Mandi saw all of these commercials and announcements as a sign that adoption was the right choice for them to make. They believed in God's intentions for them to adopt a child.
"We were scared but we knew God was pulling at our heartstrings and telling us that this is what we needed to do." So, they decided to apply for the licensing program in order to take the steps to becoming foster parents.
Meet Your Baby Boy
The steps to receiving your license is very intense and requires a lot of paperwork. So, Tyler and Mandi did all the necessary paperwork and jumped over any hurdles as was necessary until they completed the entire process. "It only took a few months of rigorous training, mountains of paperwork and a couple home studies/fire inspections to become licensed as foster-to-adopt parents."
And the draining process proved to be worth it when they finally had their license approved. That same week they were already notified that they could pick up their baby boy. His name was Hunter and Tyler and Mandi were so excited to meet him.
In Need Of A Family
When Tyler and Mandi received notice that a baby boy named Hunter was in need of foster parents, they couldn't wait. Hunter was only one week old and in dire need of a loving and caring family like them. Tyler and Mandi were committed to being the parents that Hunter didn't have.
But, things wouldn't be this easy and there would be several more obstacles which they'd need to overcome.
Love at First Sight
Mandi said that a “whirlwind of emotions" soon followed. The couple first made a stop at Target in order to buy all the baby items they needed. “We arrived at children’s services and there was Hunter, all bundled up in a receiving blanket, and he was being held by our caseworker,” said Mandi.
Additionally, Mandi stated, “He was eight days old and absolutely perfect. We fell in love with him instantly.”
Still, being an adoptive parent isn't easy and can create a lot of stress for the family. The chance always exists that the biological parents will later come out and threaten the new family and try to win their child back.
This is what would ultimately happen to Tyler and Mandi, and they would soon realize that their little family wasn't official quite yet.
Meant to be Together
The moment that Tyler and Mandi met little Hunter, they knew that he was their meant-to-be son. They were going to do everything in their power to keep it that way.
As time went on and they grew more attached to their boy, they were committed to keeping their family together.
Their Adoption Hearing Date Is Set
As happy as the couple was to meet Hunter, they would continue to ride one roller coaster of a ride over the following sixteen months. They spent months maneuvering the mountains of paperwork and bureaucratic red tape.
The year and a half involved hearings and meetings while they finalized paperwork for their case so that they could be seen by a judge. Their hearing was set for December 18, 2017 – only one week before Christmas.
Whatever It Takes
When the family finally had their court date, they had already been together for 17 months. While this may not seem like a long time, when you're a parent creating a bond with a baby, it feels like way more.
The thought of having to give up this child whom you've spent over a year caring for is unbearable. However, Tyler and Mandi were a power couple and they were ready for whatever it would take.
The Best Cure
Tyler was still dealing with symptoms of PTSD from the time he spent serving in Afghanistan, and Mandi was still battling her own issues.
But for both their physical and mental pain, Hunter was the best medicine. He was “both of our reasons to fight the health battles that we have been given,” Mandi said.
Dressed to Impress
When the family was finally expected to be in court, they were very nervous. But, they were also excited to hopefully finally seal the deal and make Hunter a member of the Palmer family. Everybody made sure to dress their best, and baby Hunter looked absolutely adorable in his sweater and dress shirt.
His parents were hoping to put everything behind them and finally be able to move on with their lives as a family unit.
Making it Official
“It was very emotional, in a good way,” Mandi would later say. “We had all of our family and friends there. At the end of the court process, the judge announced Hunter’s new legal name.”
But, this wasn't the only emotional moment that would happen for the family, as Hunter would also want to have his voice heard, with all due respect.
Hunter Shares His Thoughts
As the judge read the adopted decree and the parents were becoming Hunter's official parents once and for all, Hunter looked up at Tyler and yelled "Dad!" He began clapping and made audience members cry. It was a meaningful and heartwarming moment for all. And best of all, it wasn't scripted. Mandi shared “It was very emotional, in a good way.
We had all of our family and friends there,” Mandi says. “At the end of the court process, the judge announced [Hunter’s] new legal name. And they read the adoption decree and that’s when Hunter looked at my husband and he said, ‘Dad!’ “
Of course, the moment was very meaningful for Tyler and Mandi because they could finally just focus on being great parents and not worry about anybody coming to take Hunter away from them. You can imagine how big of a relief that must have been for the two parents.
When Mandi was asked how she was feeling she replied “It’s definitely rewarding,” she said. “It’s nice to look in his eyes now and not have to worry that he’s ever gonna have to leave us again.” After the decision had been made to make Mandi and Tyler Hunter's official parents, the judge was confident that he had made the right decision. You could just look at the way Hunter adored his parents and know it.
Saving Each Other
Both Hunter and his parents saved one another. Hunter clearly needed loving parents to provide him with a safe and comfortable home, as every child needs that. His parents also needed Hunter.
He was their miracle child and Mandi learned that “there’s a rainbow at the end of every story." She is also very grateful that they never gave up on their son.
A Reason to Keep Going
Tyler and Mandi couldn't be happier with their baby boy, Hunter. “He is our world and our reason to keep fighting these battles,” said Mandi.
“My husband said that there is no medication to help his PTSD quite like having his son take our last name.” Hunter has had such a positive influence on his parents, just like they have on him.
Providing Safety And Love
Adoption day is an extremely pivotal moment for families, as it solidifies the relationship between the parents and their child. It brings stability and permanence into the picture, something that parents who conceive naturally don't have to endure.
"He’ll always be safe and loved with us,” Mandi said. December 18, 2017 would be the day that the three of them will cherish forever.
Family Is Priority
“Our hearts are forever changed because we now know a true and genuine love,” shared Mandi excitedly when she was asked to discuss her feelings about her son, Hunter.
“We know that he will forever be safe with us and most importantly will always know what love is. We have learned that family isn’t about DNA. It’s about love!”
It’s Totally Worth It
Since Tyler and Mandi adopted their baby boy Hunter officially, they have proceeded to become big advocates of adoption. They talk about it whenever they have the opportunity.
They understand what an amazing impact it can have to add a child to your home. It's life-altering and so magical. They say that even though being a foster parent accompanies challenges, it is so worth it.
A Role Model for Others
Mandi shared her experience on Facebook during Foster Care Awareness Month. She wrote that there's no better feeling than knowing you are providing children with “safety, validation, comfort, and love.”
Mandi also expressed that foster children are worthy of care. “They are innocent and deserve all of us to help put their broken pieces back together.”
Another Crazy Adoption Story: How This Couple Discovered their Adopted Child`s Mysterious Past:
For many couples, starting a family is the next obvious step after getting married. While trying to conceive a child of your own brings with it a whole slew of difficulties, adopting a child is no stranger to its own set of challenges. This was most certainly the case for a sweet young couple from Canada, Ron and Natalie Trecroce. They were heartbroken when they found out that they wouldn't be able to conceive a child. They wanted to start a family more than anything in the world.
After years of trying with no success, they decided that they weren't about to give up on their dreams of starting a family. So, in 1997, they made the decision to adopt a child. They knew that it wouldn't be easy, but they were determined to start a family of their own. So, they were prepared to take on the challenges and go the distance to making their dreams come true.
They traveled across the world to Romania
In 1997, the couple set off, in hopes of completing their little family. They searched far and wide and fate and luck brought them towards the country of Romania. They ended up in a city located on the Mures River in the western part of Romania called Arad. There were a number of children in this area who were desperate for a loving family.
They were introduced to several children but when they met Rodica Lavinia Farcas, a sweet and smiley little one-year-old, they knew that they had found the one. Little did they know it then, but this young girl had quite the mysterious past.
Rodica Lavinia Farcas
The second Ron and Natalie saw Rodica, they knew that her infectious smile would be the perfect fit for their family of two. Unfortunately, this wasn't going to be an easy adoption process.
There is nothing worse then receiving heartbreaking news about your baby, especially before she's even yours. Before the parents could even start the adoption application, they received some terrible news about little Rodica...
But she had health problems…
While she was only a baby at the age of one, she was seriously malnourished, as was the case of many children who were up for adoption in the area. Rodica was lacking the appropriate nutrients in her diet which had let to many issues.
She suffered from rachitis and had weak bones from a lack of vitamin D. It was clear that she needed some serious help in the form of food, care, and most importantly, love. The Trecroces were more than happy to provide this little girl with all of these things.
Unfortunately, she wasn't the only one
Unfortunately, stories like Rodica's were fairly common in Romania in the 1990s and many of the babies had already endured quite a tumultuous life. The country was under the leadership of the infamous and vicious dictator named Nicolae Ceauşescu, who among many of his insane directives, prohibited the use of contraception of any kind throughout the entire country.
This clearly led to catastrophic consequences, like many babies being born to families who were unable to provide for them.
Some even died of starvation…
With so many poor people in the country at that time, many couples were having children that they couldn't afford to take care of. So, they had no choice but to give them up for adoption. The lucky children found homes.
But, many less fortunate children were left abandoned or in orphanages who also couldn't adequately provide for them. They died from a severe lack of food and nutrition.
Where did this girl come from?
So, what had caused Rodica to get to this impoverished position that she was now in? Was it the result of her deteriorating country? Or was her mother not being able to provide her with the bare necessities to maintain her health?
Natalie and Ron had so many questions about this innocent toddler's past. They wanted the answers.
Desperate to find out more
Ron and Natalie wanted to know everything that they could possible find out about their daughter's past. But, they were running into a problem. It was almost impossible to find any of the documents on orphans at the time in Romania. In the 199s in Romania such record keeping in orphanages was hardly a priority.
Childhood records in Romania were known to be difficult to keep track of, let alone to get a hold of. It put Ron and Natalie in a bit of a predicament as to how they were going to Rodica’s information. So, they got started on their investigation, eager not to waste any time while in Romania.
Discovering her family tree
Natalie and Ron held on tightly to every piece of information they could find on Rodica. But, without having the internet that we have nowadays, it wasn't so easy for them to obtain information regarding this little girl.
They had no answers. That is, until they found Rodica's family tree. This is when they discovered that her biological mother had given away more than just one child.
She was one of two!
Somewhere out there in the world, Rodica also had an older sister. Oddly enough, her older sister had been sent to a different orphanage. Ron and Natalie knew from the bottom of their hearts that they had to find her older sister.
There was a reason that they stumbled upon this little girl, and they knew that it was their mission to reunite the two of them together.
They wanted to find her sister too
You know how the saying goes, 'the more the merrier.' Well, Natalie and Ron were adamant about making their own family merrier by uniting the two children together.
The moment they found out about Radica's sister, there was absolutely no hesitation on their end. They were determined to find her and adopt her too.
They became a happy family of four
Ron and Natalie carried out a thorough investigation. Thanks to their hard work and effort, they were finally led to Rodica's older sister, Gianina. They were shocked at how much the sisters looked alike- so much that they could pass as twins.
Without any doubt, they adopted her sister too, and quickly became their happy family of four. They were ready to go home and start their new lives as a family together.
Another major discovery!
But, the discoveries were not over just yet. After the couple had comfortably settled back in Canada with their two new daughters, they made another startling discovery about the two girls' family tree.
The girls actually had six other siblings. Can you imagine making such a discovery? But... it wouldn't be logical to adopt all of the children now would it?
But they couldn’t find the others
Ron and Natalie did everything in their power to find the other six siblings. But, they were in total despair and the search seemed hopeless.
To this day, they still don't know the whereabouts of the other siblings, but maybe that's what was best for the family. Eight kids would have been a little too much to handle.
Welcome home Sophie and Danielle
Despite not being able to find their other siblings, Ron and Natalie were so happy that they finally had the family that they were waiting to start for years.
They christened their daughters with new names. Gianina became Sophie, and Rodica was now Danielle. While they were happy about that, something felt a little off about the change.
Holding onto a bit of their past
Taking the girls out of their home country and virtually erasing sign of their past heritage and culture was not Ron and Natalie's intention by any means.
So, they decided to take Sophie and Danielle's birth names and make them the girls' new middle names. At least this would allow the girls to always have some of their past in their identity.
A special story
Sophie and Danielle's heartwarming story attracted the attention of a lot of people. It's not every day that you hear of parents going all the way across the world to adopt a baby and return home with a pair of sisters who were separated at birth.
One documentary filmmaker was so touched by their story that he made a film about it (although the film has since been lost).
Sophie wanted to share with the world
When Sophie finally watched the film, she decided to release a shorter version of the film for the internet to see. So she edited the full film into a shorter one and uploaded it to YouTube.
It received a lot of views. Unfortunately, the video has since been removed, so it's not possible to see now.
Sophie was so inspired by the public reaction she got for her video. So much so that she decided to become a photographer. When she enrolled in university, she didn't hesitate for a second to choose her major.
She of course knew she wanted to pursue photography. She loves posting photography images that she takes on her Facebook page. It is clear that she has a special eye and a talent.
She wanted to reconnect with her past
The documentary not only inspired Sophie to pursue a career as a photographer, but she was also determined to reconnect with her and her sister's pasts. So, she planned a visit to Romania.
While she was hoping to meet her birth mother, she knew that there was no guarantee of that happening. It was still very difficult to find proper documents, especially after so many years had passed.
Studying for her Bachelor’s degree
Danielle joined her sister on their journey back home to Romania in 2018. She commented on her sister's video, on her desire to find their birth mother. “Poor documentation makes it very difficult to track them down,” she explained. While it is unclear whether the girls managed to get in touch with their birth mother, they have continued with their lives in Canada.
Danielle recently graduated with her bachelor's degree in business. The sisters are very close to one another, both in regards to their physical proximity and their emotional bond. It's amazing to think that if their parents hadn't found each other, then the sister probably would never have been reunited, as was the case for many adopted children in those times.
Going to great lengths
When Ron and Natalie first flew halfway across the world to Romania, they were hoping that they would be able to adopt a child. They could never have expected to return home with two.
But, as they were so confident that they wanted a family and took such great measures to make that happen, that they were more than thrilled to take home two daughters.
A positive ending!
Ron and Natalie decided before starting the adoption process that they would pay whatever difficult price they had to in order to complete their family.
It's a good thing that they were prepared for a challenge because they had to withstand so much. But, for their two adorable girls, the challenge and difficulties they overcame were so worth it.