This Toddler Says One Word at Adoption Hearing, Judge Stops it Right After

Source: Finn Photography / Pixabay

An adoption hearing is a tense experience for all concerned. The prospective parents need to present themselves to a judge, laying out the reasons why they should be a child’s new family. It can be an emotional time for everyone.

One Word

Facebook/Mandi Luann

In the case you’ll read about here, the whole adoption process stopped when the child, Hunter, yelled out one word. That single word changed everything in a moment. Read on to find out more about Hunter and the couple who wanted so badly to adopt him.

The Journey Begins

Adoption can be a challenging process but can also be very rewarding. Just ask Tyler and Mandi Palmer, the adoptive parents of Hunter. Their journey to parenthood had many twists and turns, with many obstacles to overcome before Hunter could make their family complete.

Source: Finn Photography

Tyler’s journey to fatherhood started when he enlisted in the United States Army in 2010, joining the 101st Airborne division. Less than three weeks after completing his basic training, he was deployed with his unit to Afganistan. This experience would have lasting effects on Tyler.

Tyler and Mandi

In 2013, Tyler was preparing for another tour of duty when he met Mandi. The two were immediately smitten with each other and began a relationship. Even with Tyler’s upcoming deployment on the horizon, they were certain they could make things work.

Source: Pixabay

Mandi was struggling with her own health problems and took Tyler’s absence very hard. Even so, they were both certain that they’d come through. Tyler and Mandi believed in a future together, no matter what they had to overcome.

Tying The Knot

Tyler and Mandi struggled through nine months apart until Tyler finally returned. They were over the moon to be together again. Just one month after getting home, Tyler proposed to Mandi. The two were married only a few weeks later. The time apart had only made them more certain that they wanted to be together.

Source: CC0 Public Domain

Tyler decided that it was time to step away from life in the Army. He did not re-enlist and instead concentrated on building his life with Mandi. 2015 brought a diagnosis of PTSD. Although it would be hard to live with the condition, Tyler wisely sought help and began treatment with the VA medical center.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a psychological condition characterized by intense anxiety, flashbacks, and nightmares. It is always caused by a traumatic event, though the variety and length of symptoms vary greatly. Some people are able to face symptoms after a dramatic event and manage them with support and time.

Source: Mandi Palmer

Others endure symptoms that are far more severe, and interfere in daily life. These individuals often seek counseling for their symptoms, given the prevalence or severity. When an individual qualifies for a diagnosis, it opens up more options for treatment, both inside the VA and out.

Veterans Suffer Worse Than Others

The overall prevalence of PTSD in the adult population in the US is approximately 5 percent, making it the sixth most common mental illness diagnosed in the United States. Among veterans, though, the occurrence of PTSD is much higher.

Source: Tyler Palmer

Among veterans, men are diagnosed with PTSD at 8 percent prevalence, and women are diagnosed up to 13 percent prevalence, depending on studies. The high occurrence of PTSD among veterans has pushed for greater awareness of the VA and funding of veteran’s healthcare, which is one of the factors that allowed for Tyler to seek care for his diagnosis.

Looking To The Future

Meanwhile, Mandi was coping with her own health problems. Mandi had been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease 17 years earlier. This painful and debilitating condition means that sufferers experience severe symptoms if they consume gluten. Mandi had already had dozens of surgeries.

Source: Skeeze/Pixabay (Creative Commons CC0)

Mandi knew that her condition meant lifelong care to keep it in remission. To this day, she receives infusions of medication every month and may need further surgeries. Between Crohn’s disease and Tyler’s PTSD, the couple understood that they’d face more challenges than most in starting a family.

Crohn’s is a Devastating Disease

Among the inflammatory GI symptoms that Crohn’s disease is known for, it can also have an intense and debilitating effect on fertility, particularly in women. The inflammation of the GI tract can cause hormone shifts that affect periods, and the steroids and immunosuppressants often diagnosed to deal with symptoms can also affect fertility.

Source: Mandi Palmer

Some of those fertility symptoms can include inflammation of the ovaries or fallopian tubes, in rare cases. Recent research also suggests that Crohn’s disease might be more common in individuals with Crohn’s disease, which could also offer an explanation for the fertility problems that people with Crohn’s disease often experience.

A Heartbreaking Realization

As the months stretched into years and Mandi still could not become pregnant, the couple grew sad and frustrated. Mandi’s doctors were initially encouraging but over time, Mandi herself began to doubt that she would ever be able to have a child. She was struggling to keep weight on and her health was poor.

Source: Twitter

The couple desperately wanted to start a family but Mandi simply wasn’t well enough. Even if she became pregnant, her serious condition might make it impossible to carry a child. It was a painful realization for both Tyler and Mandi. Even so, they would not abandon their dreams of parenthood.

A Ray Of Hope

There was still a ray of hope for Tyler and Mandi. They’d already overcome so much to build a life together. If natural childbirth was impossible for them, they would find another way to become a family. The couple began to consider adoption.

Source: CC0 Public Domain

The Palmers knew that adoption would be far from an easy route. Any adoption is a long and complex process, requiring a deep commitment on the part of the adoptive parents. There were no guarantees. Tyler’s PTSD diagnosis and Mandi’s ongoing struggles with Crohn’s made their situation even more complicated.

Introducing Hunter

While Tyler and Mandi were considering their options, they noticed that there were many commercials and notices pleading for qualified foster parents in their area. Every day, it seems that there was another commercial asking for people to undergo training and become qualified as foster parents. They knew they wanted to pursue adoption and becoming foster carers could be an important first step on that road.

Source: Finn Photography

There were so many babies and children who badly needed safe, loving homes. Mandi and Tyler decided to step up. They underwent the intensive training required and were fully certified as foster parents. That very week, they went to pick up their foster child. He was a baby boy named Hunter, just eight days old.

Fostering is a Worthy Challenge

Mandi and Tyler’s decision to foster their baby boy was an admirable one, given the urgent need for foster parents in the United States. In any given year, there are nearly 500,000 children in the foster system waiting to be adopted, with nearly 30,000 of those children being under the age of 1.

Source: Mandi Palmer

The urgent need for foster parents is compounded by the rigorous screening that individuals and couples have to go through in order to qualify to foster. This is in the children’s best interest, of course, but it does make the need for foster parents that much more dire. It also makes Mandi and Tyler’s success story that much more heartwarming.

A Whirlwind Of Emotions

After gathering the baby supplies they would need, Mandi and Tyler went to meet their new foster baby. When they entered the office, their caseworker was holding the tiny baby wrapped in a blanket. The couple were overjoyed, immediately falling in love with little Hunter.

Source: CC0 Public Domain

They both knew that this was just the beginning. Before they could become Hunter’s adoptive parents, they would have to weather a long and complicated process. Lots of things could go wrong. It took a stressful sixteen months before Mandi and Tyler would finally reach the hearing that would confirm Hunter’s adoption.

Adoption is Expensive and Lengthy, but Ultimately Worth It

The process of adopting a child is one that not only takes a lot of time, but money as well. Depending on the state that a couple or individual lives in, the cost of a domestic adoption can cost anywhere from $20,000 to $45,000. The range in cost depends on a variety of factors in addition to location, including the choice of a private attorney or an adoption agency.

Source: Mandi Palmer

In addition to the financial cost, prospective parents must complete multiple different applications, educational classes, and home studies through the process of adopting a child. Every step is crafted with the child’s safety in mind, to ensure they’re going to a loving and well-provided home. The fact that the Palmers endured this grueling process only proves their commitment to their sweet little boy.

With One Word, It Was All Over

Dressed in their best clothes, the family arrived at the courthouse. Even Hunter was dressed to impress, looking adorable in a toddler-sized dress shirt and vest. Even so, the Palmers were anxious. Would they walk out of court as parents or would all their dreams be shattered?

Source: Finn Photography

The court case was almost unbearably stressful for Mandi and Tyler. They had to remain calm and make their case that they should become Hunter’s parents. Finally, the process was over and the judge read out the adoption decree. Hunter stole the hearts of everyone in the courtroom when he shouted a single word and hugged Tyler. That one word? “Dad!”.

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Clare Edis

Written by Clare Edis

Clare Edis is a prolific and imaginative writer known for her captivating storytelling and profound exploration of the human experience through words. Born with an insatiable curiosity, Clare has always had a unique ability to breathe life into her narratives, transporting readers to worlds both familiar and fantastical.

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