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Collin and Bailey knew they were going to be together from their first date – “He couldn’t get rid of me if he tried,” says Bailey – and talked about their plans to have babies almost immediately. That plan always included adoption because they wanted to share the love of their big families and believe every child deserves a home.

But their path to parenthood wasn’t as smooth as the first part of their lives together. An early-term miscarriage was followed by a second baby, Riley, whose heartbeat disappeared one week before her due date. Adoption became the couple’s only option.

Collin and Bailey’s prayers were answered this fall when a brand new baby girl, Parker, became a part of their family.

How did your adoption process begin?

After we lost Riley, our friends and family wanted to make sure we could adopt almost immediately. They started a GoFundMe so we could be ready to go the minute we got on a list.

We looked at agencies and decided our priorities were working with one that was close to home, that felt like family, and was concerned for us and the child we would adopt rather than making money. We talked to Melyssa, our Good Shepherd adoption coordinator, and felt a connection with her right away.

What was it like meeting Parker’s birth family?

We got our home study done and got a call from Melyssa just a few weeks later that there was a baby who needed placement the following Monday. It happened so fast, I was freaking out. I’m not a person who’s usually at a loss for words, and Collin is very quiet. He calmed me down by saying, “They’re either going to give us a baby or they’re not.”

We met in the park on the grounds of the Good Shepherd offices and Melyssa got the conversation started. Within five minutes it was like we’d known them forever. We all fell in love.

What happened the day Parker was born?

I got the text that Parker’s mom was going to the hospital for a planned delivery, and immediately lost my mind. I called Collin, my mom, his mom, my boss. Then I packed a bag for myself and for her, but I forgot to pack one for Collin!

We walked into the birthing center and there she was, in her own little room. We got to stay in the hospital with her for two days and parented her the entire time. There’s a team of people to help you through that period: Each family has their own agency representative (Melyssa was ours and the birth mom had her own from Good Shepherd), we both had a lawyer, and the Mercy staff. After 48 hours, everything was signed, sealed, delivered…and she was ours.

And then you took her home..

It’s pretty wonderful having a baby in the house. I’m still recovering from the surgery I had after losing Riley, but I think it’s easier than the recovery a new mom has post-delivery. I could bring her home and just love her rather than worrying as much about my own health. I don’t care if I never sleep again, I don’t care if my house is a wreck – I love this new version of tired.

She just turned four weeks old and I’ve never met a newborn who smiles this much. She’s trying to roll over!

How is dad settling into his role?

He’s obsessed with her. She has red hair just like him and people tell us she looks like him all the time. The first time I left them alone, she had a blowout diaper and I walked in the door to find a mess everywhere, him trying to clean her up in the sink, and the dog going crazy. But he’s figured out how to manage it all. They snuggle and watch football together. She definitely knows dad’s heartbeat and his voice.

What was the entrustment ceremony like?

We recently celebrated the entrustment ceremony at Good Shepherd with Parker’s mom and I don’t know that I could do what she did. She gave us the best gift because she knew she couldn’t parent as well as she wanted to. In our eyes, she’s an angel. She said she knew we were going to love her baby and she chose us 100%. She gave us everything we ever wanted and couldn’t give ourselves.

How has having Parker healed you?

We can’t have a biological child, and we like to think that Riley picked Parker for us. She’s helped heal that piece of our broken heart. We’re never going to forget what happened and you never get over it, but Parker has helped us get through it. The days are easier. I have something to hold on to. She’s filling a void I didn’t ever think would be filled. She’s made us a little family and it’s better than we ever thought it could be.