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Parents

17 Adoption Stories That Will Warm Your Heart

Love makes a family.

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We recently asked the BuzzFeed Community to share the moment that they first met their adopted child:

1. "I cried the whole way home."

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"I met my sons at the Child Protective Services office. Three brothers that CPS wanted to keep together. Moises came over and sat next to me. We talked about the three of them, about school, and then went to McDonald's. Angel gave me a hug when it was time to leave. Alex shook my hand, then gave in and gave me a hug. I cried the whole way home. They came to live with me one month later."

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2. "For the longest time she thought that he came from the airport..."

"Four years ago, we met our then 5-week-old son at the airport with his birth mother and instantly fell in love with him. Our then 2½-year-old daughter (also adopted) thought for the longest time that he came from the airport. The kids are now 6 and 4 and their birth families are welcome in our lives; just more people to love, and we are forever grateful for what they gave us."

—Carla Gloux, Facebook

3. "We met our son's birth mom when she was about 4 months pregnant."

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"My husband and I adopted both of our boys. We met our older son's birth mom when she was about 4 months pregnant. It gave us some time to develop our relationship with her, and she ended up deciding that she wanted us at the hospital when she gave birth. Fast forward to the day and we waited in the waiting room while she was giving birth. There was no one else giving birth at that time, so we actually heard his first cry from the waiting room. Her mother immediately came and got us and the birth mom insisted that we be the first to hold him. It was amazing."

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4. "We had been waiting five years to adopt..."

"We had been waiting five years to adopt, with many heartaches and challenges along the way. One day I saw a photo on a special-needs adoption photolisting from South Korea and knew this was a match for our family. We petitioned to adopt the child and a few days later received a call from the agency saying we had been chosen for him and that he would be brought to O'Hare in one month. We rushed to furnish his room, bought clothes and supplies, all the while fearing that maybe it would all fall through yet again.

"Finally it was time to go to Chicago. We had brought an escort gift, on the advice of other adoptive parents — but when I tried to hand it to the young man carrying my baby, he smiled, shook his head, and said, 'Just take care of baby. Take care of baby.' My heart seemed to skip a beat and all the craziness around us seemed to pause. It was like being caught out of time. And then I said, 'Yes, I will.' It felt like a marriage vow, this tremendous yet small and solemn little moment: 'Yes, I will.' And then I turned to my husband and daughter so they could hug us, and we became a family."

—Sarah Jane Bagby Herbener

5. "My husband and I spent over a year looking at profiles and meeting kids in the foster care system."

Rayes / Getty Images

"My husband and I spent over a year looking at profiles and meeting kids in the foster care system. It was heartbreaking. There are so many kids who need families. We challenged ourselves on what we wanted and what we felt we could handle. We saw picture after picture. Finally our adoption worker sent us a paragraph about two boys. One paragraph, no picture, but we knew they were our boys. We set up a first visit. We got to the door and there was our oldest, his eyes wide and big smile as he opened the door. It was like he knew. He had just turned 2. And our youngest, then a little over a year old, was sitting on the floor. I thought, 'My baby, we found each other.' That was over five years ago. We are so amazingly blessed!"

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6. "The moment they walked in, we felt a mix of panic, love, happiness, and not knowing exactly what to do..."

"I met my angels a little over a year ago. The moment they walked in, we felt a mix of panic, love, happiness, and not knowing exactly what to do.... I could tell they felt the same. They were shy for a few minutes, but as the social worker left the room, they both jumped into our laps like they had known us forever. It was surreal that we just met them and it felt so right. The second weekend when we went to pick them up they were so happy their expressions are etched in my mind. Since that day we've been a family. Adoption is as beautiful as it is challenging, but most importantly it is a gift for everyone involved. Loving and being loved is the best gift of all."

—Irmarie Cervera, Facebook

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7. "We eventually became one of the first gay couples to adopt a child *jointly* in Houston, Texas."

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"Our son arrived at our home the day after my 28th birthday. Our agency, DePelchin's Children Center, had contacted us earlier that afternoon to let us know we'd been matched with a child that had entered the foster system the day before. My husband and I were every shade of emotion: excited, anxious, elated, and, unsurprisingly, fearful and worried. We'd been certified to become foster parents a few weeks prior and understood all foster children entered the system for a reason. We let our agency know we were ready and they reached out to Child Protective Services to confirm the placement. We were told a CPS investigator would reach out when he was on his way and asked to run out and purchase whatever we thought we may need for a 2-year-old boy. It feels a little silly typing it out, but I still have the receipt we got from Target that afternoon.

"While driving back home to unpack and prepare, we received an email from our neighbor. There was no message, but the subject line read: 'Hi your baby is there!' The Investigator never called to let us know he was on his way! We rushed home and noticed our little boy as soon as we approached our neighbor's house. The first thing we saw was his beautifully wild hair bobbing along behind a row of bushes that led up her driveway. The second thing I noticed was his size. He was so, so small. That he was out and about with people he'd never before met really hurt. My husband got out of the car and was approached by the investigator immediately. As they began talking, I approached our son and — this I remember quite vividly — reached down to carefully pick him up. I will never, ever forget the look in his eyes as they met and stared into mine. He was calm, curious, and when I smiled, he smiled (something he does to this day). I held him for as long as I could (even while signing documents for CPS) and only passed him over to my husband after the investigator left. That first moment we looked into each other's eyes remains one of the most magical experiences of my life.

"Our family had an intense and difficult road to adoption, but we eventually became one of the first gay couples to adopt a child *jointly* in Houston, Texas. Last year's SCOTUS ruling in favor of same-sex marriage and the UNBELIEVABLE dedication of a few brilliant and special folks tied directly to our son's case made our dream the best possibly reality."

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8. "Really? He's really mine?"

"We were in the waiting room at the hospital while our son's birth mom was in labor. After he was born, her friend rushed out to find us so my husband could cut the cord. I just stared at my son's face with tears in my eyes. It was so surreal, finally holding MY son after so many years of waiting. I remember looking at his birth mom, silently asking, 'Really? He's really mine?' and she smiled and I broke down in tears. It felt like a piece of me that I hadn't even noticed was gone had returned. I have never felt such joy and pure, simple, immediate love."

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9. "When we got the call about our baby girl, it was phrased as being temporary respite care for another foster family."

Kamchatka / Getty Images

"I have six kids through adoption. For my daughters, we got a phone call and met their birth mom a few hours later at a rest stop south of Chicago. The babies were ages 2 and 10 months, and the whole drive back home, I kept staring at them in shock. It all happened so fast! One year later we finalized their adoption.

"For my sons, we finished our paperwork to adopt again and were told it would be about three months until we traveled to bring them home from Uganda. It took just under a year before we traveled. I will never forget waiting in the front room at the orphanage for our sons to be brought to us. In walked this tiny 3-year-old followed by a slightly bigger 4-year-old boy. They were uncertain of us but both charming as hell. When another child at the orphanage called me mama, my then 4-year-old son got mad and corrected her by loudly proclaiming, 'My mama! No you!'

"Three years later we adopted another little boy from the same orphanage. We met him at a hotel in Arkansas and he was both confused and excited. When the time came for us to pick him up and walk away, he firmly told us 'no' in his squeaky little baby voice. I was charmed by his sweet face and immediately wanted to baby him, but it took time for him to warm up to the idea. We both had to be incredibly patient and incredibly intentional with physical affection until he was comfortable.

"When we got the call about our last baby girl, it was phrased as being temporary respite care for another foster family. I picked up a 4-month-old eight-pound baby girl from the other foster family's home and it was immediate love. She was just so tiny but had such a huge personality that we couldn't help but love her. My five older kids couldn't get enough of her. Ten months later she is still our missing piece and has brought tremendous healing and love to our family. Six kids is no joke, but they are all such miracles that we just try to enjoy the chaos."

—Kait Kettmann

10. "We met our beautiful little girl when she was a week old."

"We just adopted our daughter six months ago. Our adoption lawyer and his wife actually brought her to us. We met our beautiful little girl when she was a week old. It was (and still is) the most surreal feeling. We had waited five years for a child and now a perfect little angel had been placed in my arms. It was love at first sight! She is the biggest blessing we have ever received."

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11. "The baby I'd prayed for for seven years was finally here!"

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"My husband and I had been foster parents for about a month and a half when we got a call saying a 2-day-old little boy needed a home, and it would likely be a permanent placement. Only hours later, the caseworker carried my son up the stairs and I was so overwhelmed and scared and awed by this tiny creature that I almost forgot to let her in my front door. The baby I had prayed for for seven years was finally here!"

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12. "We played and laughed, there was so much nervous energy..."

"My husband and I adopted our three kids when they were 3, 6, and 8. We had sent photo albums to their foster homes with pictures of us, our dog, our house, etc. When we showed up to meet them at their foster home, they ran and grabbed their books right away and showed us the pictures, saying things like 'That's you!' and 'That's going to be my room!' We played and laughed, there was so much nervous, excited energy around us, but it was such an exciting day. We took lots of selfies together and you've never seen bigger smiles."

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13. "Adoption has blessed me with two of the most wonderful children."

Dankingphotography / Getty Images

"It was Mother's Day in the United States, but I was halfway around the world, in blazing hot China, sitting in a hotel conference room about to become a mother for the very first time.

"Finally, they called my name from the doorway and I stumbled, as if in a dream, across the hot, humid room. I reached out and grabbed the tiniest, most perfect dark-haired baby girl, and I became a Mama. I had seen her face eight months before on my computer screen and I had fallen in love with her then, but those feelings were nothing compared to what hit me the moment I took her into my arms. She was everything I ever dreamed of, that little girl from a faraway land. Every second of all that waiting was worth it. She was with us for about six years before she started insisting on a sibling, so it wasn't too long before we obliged and I found myself back in China, in another room, waiting to meet another child, this time a son. Adoption has blessed me with two of the most wonderful children."

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14. "Seven years later, we are still amazed by all of her awesomeness!"

"Our adoption journey began in a small meeting room at the back of a public library and ended two years and four days later on the second floor of our daughter's transition home in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where she was (finally!) placed in our arms. My husband and I had promised ourselves that we would save our tears for later, and we did. Our 8-month-old daughter didn't cry either. She simply looked at us as if to say, 'What took y'all so long?!?!' Seven years later, we are still amazed by all of her awesomeness!"

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15. "She was our little miracle."

Erproductions Ltd / Getty Images

"She was born to our eldest living daughter. At the time she was a month premature, blind and deaf, and had the same medical conditions as our eldest daughter did when she passed away as an infant. We knew at once we had to take her in. She stayed with us, we raised her, and the adoption became final on her fifth birthday. She was our little miracle."

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16. "It was half a world away, a different culture, and a different language, but it didn't matter."

"One day after we were matched with our daughter, a FedEx driver came to the door holding an envelope containing photos and medical information. I practically grabbed the envelope out of the poor driver's hand and told him he was the stork. Inside our home, our families had gathered to see the first pictures of our little girl. We carried those pictures with us for the next two months until the day we finally met. It was half a world away, a different culture, and a different language, but it didn't matter. We loved her."

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Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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