Blake thought he was getting a new game room. What he found instead brought him even greater joy
In 2010, Brooke was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a serious and chronic heart condition that can make pregnancy incredibly dangerous. The news shocked her, and not only because she was young and healthy. It was the timing that was so jarring. She found out immediately after delivering her son, Blake.
In the first moments after Blake was born, Brooke’s heart stopped functioning. What had been a time of elation quickly turned into a life or death situation. Brooke spent the first week of her son’s life in the cardiac ICU. Her doctors sadly told her that she could not carry another baby if she wanted to live.
Enter the dream of adoption
Brooke first brought up the idea of adoption to her husband, Gunnar, on their way home from the hospital nine years ago. They decided to first get her health under control (she now has an implanted defibrillator and has learned how to manage her condition), and then think about a sibling for Blake.
They spent the next few years adjusting to being both newlyweds and new parents. Gunnar serves in the U.S. Army, so they got used to moving frequently. By the time Blake was four, they were ready to start the adoption process.
The long wait begins
Because Brooke and Gunnar had already lived in three states, they decided to use a national adoption agency to help them find their next child. Due to their moves, it took them some time to go active, but by 2016 their official wait had begun.
It continued for three years.
Their adoption profile was shown to ten women in those three long years. Then at the end of 2018, Gunnar received a new assignment in San Antonio, Texas. They decided to switch from their former agency to Faithful Adoption Consultants, another national group.
Enter Legacy Adoption Services
Brooke and Gunnar needed to redo their Home Study once they moved to Texas. Faithful Adoption Consultants recommended working with Legacy Adoption Services in order to complete this part of the process. Little did Brooke and Gunnar know that Legacy would have a much bigger role in their family beyond the Home Study.
“Our Home Study was completed quickly,” Brooke said. They went active on June 11, 2019. Over the next 27 days, their profile was shown 27 times. “We’d get three cases a day sometimes,” Brooke explained. “The pace was rapid.”
In the end, Legacy was thrilled to match Brooke and Gunnar with their expectant mother. Again, this happened quickly. They got matched on the afternoon of July 8th and met their daughter, who they named Charlotte, the very next day.
“We connected with Charlotte’s birth mother quickly and instantly,” Brooke relayed. “It was like magic. She is so sweet and beautiful.” She and Gunnar spent two hours at the hospital with her, talking and getting to know her, before bringing Charlotte home.
A surprise for big brother
While Brooke and Gunnar were getting the thrill of their life, their son was at camp, completely unaware of what was going on.
“He thought I was going to turn his playroom into a game room while he was gone,” Brooke said. “When he walked in the door, he told me how excited he was about it,” she laughed.
Brooke explained that she hadn’t gotten a chance to finish his game room transformation yet, because something else exciting had happened.
“Would you like to meet your baby sister?” she asked.
Blake, all of nine years old, fell down at the news. “Are you serious?” he exclaimed.
After picking himself back up, he walked over to his little sister. Charlotte had been uncharacteristically fussy that morning, but as soon as Blake’s skin touched hers, she stopped crying.
“She opened her eyes, looked straight at him and calmed herself down,” Brooke said. Again, magic. Her family was beginning to fit together.
A new family of four
Charlotte was born perfectly healthy. She is a calm baby–unless she’s cold, Brooke chuckled. She has lots of black curly hair and is sweet and quiet. “Having a new baby is like riding a bike again,” she explained. “You remember what it takes, and you get used to it quickly.”
Blake adores Charlotte. He feeds her and helps his parents take care of her. “We’re all obsessed with her,” Brooke said with wonder. “I’m constantly taking pictures of her, even if she just moves an inch.”
Of being a mom to an elementary-aged kid and a new baby, Brooke said, “It’s been an adventure. It might take a lot of coffee, but I love doing it.”