Stephanie and Jeff adopted Ayla as their third child after losing their second son Blake and having a second child. A baby girl born on Blake’s birthday was introduced to them a week later.
Before having their first child, Kenley, in 2014, Jeff and Stephanie were married for almost three years.
But a year later, Stephanie gave birth to Blake, the couple’s second daughter (nicknamed “Blakey”), and they immediately began to grow their family.
Before the couple noticed that their newborn Blake had muscle problems several weeks after birth, everything in the family appeared to be going smoothly. After the couple expressed their worries to a pediatrician about their infant daughter’s inability to hold her head up independently, the doctor responded that the baby simply needed more practice.
Blake’s difficulties persisted, though. At six months old, Jeff and Stephanie were informed that their adorable child had Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) due to their investigation and seeking.
Baby Blake also had SMA Type I, the most severe form, due to her age and lack of improvements since delivery. The news that the illness was terminally devastated the parents’ hearts.
FINALLY GOODBYE TO THEIR DAUGHTER
Jeff and his wife were devastated to learn about their infant’s incurable illness. The couple felt they had failed to adequately protect their child because they did not understand why or how this happened.
The couple realized they needed to be resilient for their children and, if possible, find contentment together after crying for a few weeks.
The four family members engaged in every activity they could think of, including going to parks and beaches, sleeping out, and having fun. They attempted to numb their pain and fear by laughing whenever and however they could.
Stephanie would often lie awake at night, fixated on Blake, fearing the moment she would cease breathing. Blake sadly passed away a week before turning 11 months old while dancing to music in her father’s arms.
Her mother, who was left feeling void and heartbroken by Blake’s passing, was nearly destroyed by her thoughts. However, Stephanie argued that their young child had given her the courage and fortitude she hadn’t even realized she possessed.
She and her husband decided to live the remainder of their lives following their baby’s wishes by showing everyone they encountered a lot of love and kindness.
Jeff and his wife committed never to stop sharing stories about her spirit, love, and all the joy she displayed while still living.
THE END OF THE TUNNEL HAD LIGHT
The couple found Stephanie’s pregnancy six weeks after Blake’s passing. While grieving for Blake, she was terrified that she would miscarry the child.
A test was performed ten weeks later, and they were relieved to learn that their third child was untouched by SMA.
The couple welcomed their third daughter, Ayla, eleven months after losing their second child and gave her the middle name “Blake” in honor of her older sister.
Nearly a year later, Stephanie stumbled across an adoption-related post while browsing Instagram. While reading, she learned how crucial it is for vulnerable children to have secure homes.
Following some research, she and her husband decided to apply for a foster license and open their home to a needy child.
After about four months, they received their license, and on Blake’s birthday the following day, the pair celebrated her birthday at home as a family.
The following day, a social worker needed a foster family called Stephanie.
On the other hand, Stephanie cried as she called her husband after learning the baby was only a day old and had thus been born on Blake’s birthday. Everly Joy was the baby they both agreed to adopt, and a year later, the adoption paperwork was finalized.
In response to a question about whether Everly sharing Blake’s birthday helped Stephanie cope with the loss of her second daughter, Stephanie said that Everly could never replace her older sister, even though she thinks the two have a special bond.
The fact that she had only come to understand what it meant to be vulnerable and loving through Blake and that without him, she would not have encountered Everly led her to believe that somehow they were meant to meet.
She never intended to lose one child and adopt another, but being able to adore all of her kids and their father has been her greatest blessing.
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