Allison and Josh fell in love when they were in college.
Then, in 2000, they got married and only planned to have two or three children.
But unexpectedly, over the years, the family had grown much larger than they expected. After their third child, they had felt that being able to love their children was great, but realized that there were plenty of children in need of that love. They talked about it and decided to adopt Micah, welcomed 4th addition to their family. In 2013, they ended up having another child and couldn’t imagine their family growing even more!
On Allison’s 38th birthday, October 30, 2015, they received a call from a friend, Janet. Janet is adoption attorney and remembered that Allison and Josh, who had talked about adopting another child. Coincidentally, Janet was working with a pregnant woman who wouldn’t be able to keep her baby boy after delivery, so Janet instantly thought to ask Allison if she would be able to adopt the baby boy.
Allison recalls “she[Janet] said that she’d remembered our talking about possibly wanting to adopt again and then shared that she was aware of a birth mom who needed a family for her baby.” As they were seriously considering adopting another bundle of joy, it did not take long to decide to give Janet her answer.
When Josh and Allison got a call that the newborn mother was in labor, they hit the road for 10 hour trip from Birmingham, AL to Duke University Hospital in Durham, NC.
On the road to Durham, Janet called again and asked, “Does Josh have both hands on the steering wheel?”
“She proceeded to tell me that the doctors at Duke had just completed an ultrasound and had discovered that there were, in fact, TWO babies soon to be born. I always have a hard time articulating the emotions that poured themselves over us in that moment. It was something akin to ecstatic, overwhelmed, terrified delight,” Allison said.
(We’ll let Allison take from here.)
“As the fear eased and the excitement grew, our friend’s name reappeared on my phone’s screen. When she began talking this time, though, her tone was completely different. Gone was the lilt and in its place was a voice of heartache.
‘I’m so sorry to tell you this; they’re on their way now to do an emergency c-section, and they don’t think baby B will survive the delivery.’
“A million and one things occurred during the next two hours of driving to the hospital, but when we finally arrived, we found a small, but healthy, baby boy cuddling with the nurses on the postpartum floor. But in NICU lay a precious three-pound darling whom we would soon find out was born without a brain.”
“The doctors looked at us with eyes of sorrow and compassion and said, ‘You don’t have to take her. We know this isn’t what you signed up for.’”
“From opposite sides of the tiny incubator, Josh and I said in unison, ‘She’s our daughter.’
Our whole family spent the next 3 weeks at Duke with her, cuddling, singing, crying, and praying. When she was stable enough, Duke graciously provided a medical transport to fly her to the Children’s Hospital in our hometown of Birmingham, AL where she spent three more weeks in NICU. Finally, after 44 days in the hospital, Ava Leigh Lewis came home to her family.”
“Choosing Ava to be our daughter was one of the ‘hardest easy things’ we’ve ever done. We have multiple visits a week from her hospice team, and as much as we’ve come to love and treasure our nurses, their visits are a reminder that Ava’s life on earth will likely end much sooner than we would ever want.
We talk openly with the kids. They know that Ava’s life will be far shorter than what any of us would want for her. But they know that we’ve got a lot of love to pack into a short period of time.”
The Lewis family now has nine members: Josh, Allison, Abby, Jack, Isabel, Micah, Julia, Sam, and Ava.
If you want to know more about this family, visit the Lewis Family Adoption/Medical Fund. Please SHARE this story with your family and friends if you want them to be happy.
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