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What is Love?

By Missy and Chad Gillis
Published April 2006

September 10, 2003 (my 35th birthday), I have only been working at my new job for six months. I ate lunch by myself at one of my favorite spots, the Happy Wok Restaurant in DeKalb. I quickly glanced down at my fortune as I pulled it out from my cookie on the go. I stopped dead in my tracks. “Don’t Wait, Make That Big Step.” It was truly meant to be my fortune. WOW! I am 35 years old now and want to be a mom more than anything in the world.

I approached my husband Chad that night and after many months of discussion about how to proceed (fertility, adopting a foster child, adopting a baby, financial concerns, etc.), pleaded that we make a decision. Literally, something we could not agree on for nine months, we decided that night. Let’s go with The Cradle. Let’s just do it!

October of 2003 we’re sitting in Adoption 101, learning and growing. We filed paperwork, attended classes, scheduled meetings and blood tests, wrote autobiographies and completed more paperwork. We recall meeting with Nicole Smith (our social worker) in our home in December of 2003 and asking, “Do you think we would have a chance to be parents by next Christmas?” Little did we know that by “next Christmas” we would have a 4-month-old angel.

After all the pre-adoption tasks were completed, our adoption story begins on a beautiful summer day in July 2004 by meeting Leslie at a bookstore in Joliet. Before the meeting we thought, “What do we say to the potential birthmother of our child?” Well, let’s do what we always do, be ourselves. She’ll make the decision that is best in her heart. The three of us hit it off, talking long after the social workers left about her upbringing, our families and why we were here. We shared our vision for parenthood and stressed that we wanted her to feel comfortable in her decision, whatever it was. We made an adoption plan that night and were blessed that Leslie chose and trusted us to be the parents.

The phone rings at 4 a.m. on Monday, August 30, 2004. I turn over and my husband says, “It’s time.” I am a really deep sleeper and I say, “What babe?” He repeats, “It’s time.” OH, IT’S TIME! Leslie’s grandmother had called — her water broke and she was on her way to the hospital. Leslie’s grandma left us by telling Chad to drive safely. We arrived at the hospital in record time (much quicker than our test run); after all, it was 4 a.m., so there wasn’t much traffic.

Leslie gave birth to Bailey Kay Leslie a little before 9 a.m. and none of us have ever been the same.

What is love?

Embracing Leslie in the hospital parking lot with uncontrolled crying

Seeing Bailey in Chad’s arms

Chad seeing Bailey in my arms

Getting up in the middle of the night (not because she woke up), but because you can’t keep your eyes off of her

Treating her like a china doll and protecting her from anything, even the doorbell

Quiet feedings in the middle of the night

Chad dressing her or trimming her nails

The first “Da Da”

The first “Ma Ma”

Yearly visits to the Morris Corn Festival to be with Leslie’s family and the way they make us feel loved and welcome

Seeing our parents with Bailey

Peeking at her cuddled up in her crib with Charlie Brown under her arm

Sunday family walks in the park

The tears that come every now and again just looking at her

Not wanting to do anything on a Friday night but play on a blanket with Noah’s Ark in pj’s

The first step

Looking forward to every new day and new experience, hoping we’ll do what’s best

The Cradle and all that it has meant in our lives

Leslie trusting and loving us and us loving her right back

Knowing one day you’ll be the parents of the bride (but until then…)

If you’re contemplating adoption, we wish you the best of luck. We think it will be the best decision you’ll ever make!


Bailey, Chad and Missy Gillis

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