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By The Cradle Staff

Life can be full of twists and turns. That’s a statement that LaVerne and Kevin Bartee can attest to. Several factors converged for this couple to come to the conclusion that adoption was right for them.

Unfortunately, several years ago LaVerne suffered the loss of a great aunt. The aunt didn’t have any children. She never married. Her loss raised a question for the Bartees, “where is our family going?” Both LaVerne and Kevin came from small families, and while the couple already had two biological sons, they started to think about adding onto their family.

So LaVerne went to the doctor to discuss fertility treatments. While investigating this option, she discovered that she had cervical cancer. A shocking discovery that was thankfully made early. LaVerne battled through the cancer treatments and recovered.

They tried once again to become pregnant. But after several frustrating years trying to conceive, Kevin turned to LaVerne and said, “Let’s adopt.” LaVerne was in complete shock. The couple had previously talked about adoption, but Kevin had ruled it out. In fact, LaVerne was so sure Kevin wasn’t serious that she suggested he take all the steps in researching the option and beginning their home study as a way to prove that he was indeed ready to adopt.

Kevin went to the Cradle’s website and looked up the informational meetings. Due to his hectic work schedule, Kevin took advantage of one the Cradle’s website’s benefits. He attended the informational meeting on-line in the comfort of his home. After looking at a couple of other adoption agencies and contacting every one on the reference list the Bartee’s decided to work with the Cradle. LaVerne admits that the home study classes felt overwhelming and their privacy was gone, but Kevin kept pushing the process along.

The couple completed their home study in May. While waiting to be matched with a birth family, LaVerne remembers going onto The Cradle’s website often to view other potential adoptive families. She says she considered those families “their competition.”

Before long the Bartee’s starting getting calls from their counselor about being presented to birth families. The first potential match they decided would not be the best fit for their family. The second potential match ended with the birthparents deciding on another family.

The third time was the charm. The couple received a call announcing that they had been chosen by a birthmom who had already given birth to a baby girl. They visited with the newborn baby and prayed that the match would go through.

LaVerne reflects on that special day in September of 2007. Her counselor called her at noon to say that the birthmom had signed the final paperwork agreeing to an adoption plan and that they could come and pick up the daughter from The Cradle nursery. By the end of that day the Bartee’s were home with their new baby girl.

What else happened during that day was also quite amazing. While the Kevin and LaVerne were at The Cradle picking up their daughter, their friends, family and neighbors were secretly transforming their home, loading it with everything they would need for their new bundle of joy — clothes, bassinet, swing, etc. “The clothes were even washed and folded,” LaVerne remembers. “The whole day was unbelievable!”

Some aspects of this family’s life have changed for now. For instance, they don’t go the movies as much anymore. And their home used to be filled with shades of blue — for their sons Brian and Corey. “Now everything is pink!“ laughs LaVerne.

She concludes by saying she used to wonder, “How can you love a child that’s not yours by birth?” Now, she says, “You love them unconditionally, just like your biological child. Grace is great, and we are so grateful.”

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