Allison and Josh fell in love when they were in college. Then, in 2000, they got married and planned to have only two or three children.
But suddenly, over the years, the family has become much bigger than they expected. After the third child, they felt that loving their children is great, but realized that many children need this love. They talked about it and decided to adopt Mika, welcomed the 4th addition to their family. In 2013, they had another child, and they could not imagine that their family would grow even more!
On Allison’s 38th birthday, October 30, 2015, they received a call from Janet’s friend. Janet is an adoption lawyer and remembered that Allison and Josh were talking about adopting another child. Coincidentally, Janet was working with a pregnant woman who wouldn’t be able to keep her baby boy after giving birth, so Janet immediately thought of asking Allison if she could adopt a boy.
Allison recalls, “She[Janet] said that she remembers our conversation about a possible desire to adopt a child again, and then shared that she knows about a biological mother who needs a family for her child.”When Josh and Allison got the call that the newborn mother was giving birth, they took a 10-hour trip from Birmingham, Alabama, to Duke University Hospital in Durham, North Carolina.
«She kept telling me that the doctors at Duke had just done an ultrasound and discovered that TWO babies were actually coming soon. It is always difficult for me to express the emotions that came over us at that moment. It was something akin to ecstatic, stunned, terrified delight,” Allison said.(We’ll let Allison take it from here.)
As the fear subsided and the excitement grew, our friend’s name appeared on my phone screen again. When she spoke this time, her tone was completely different. The melody disappeared, and in its place came a voice full of heartache. — I am very sorry, but they are now going to have an emergency caesarean section, and they do not think that the baby will survive childbirth.
“A million things happened during the next two hours of driving to the hospital, but when we finally arrived, we found a small but healthy boy cuddling with nurses on the postpartum floor. But there was a precious three-pound pet in intensive care, which, as we will soon find out, was born without a brain.”
“The doctors looked at us with sadness and compassion and said: «You don’t have to take her. We know that this is not 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 with her, hugging, crying and praying. When she was stable enough, Duke kindly provided medical transport to take her to the Children’s Hospital in our hometown of Birmingham, where she spent another three weeks in the intensive care unit. Finally, after 44 days in the hospital, Ava Lee Lewis returned home to her family.”
— Choosing Ava as our daughter was one of the most «difficult and easy things» that we have ever done. We have several visits a week from her hospice team, and as much as we love and cherish our nurses, their visits are a reminder that Ava’s life on earth is likely to end much sooner than we ever wanted. We talk openly with children. They know that Ava’s life will be much shorter than any of us would like for her. But they know that we have a lot of love to show in a short amount of time.”