Adoption comes in many different forms. There are couples who meet their babies as newborns after long bouts with infertility. There are those who so love their foster children that they make the relationship permanent. There are families with birth kids -- sometimes many of them -- who want to spread their love even more by making a home for others. There are couples who, when adopting a baby, also make loving, long-term relationships with the birth parents of their baby.
Here, in honor of National Adoption Month, are 22 photos from families who share their own, unique, beautiful stories of adoption.
My twins were adopted at birth. We found out we were getting twins the day they were born. SURPRISE!!! Today Both my babies were adopted -- my son through foster care. He was a micro preemie born at 15 oz. He was discharged from the hospital at 3 months old to us. He is a happy, healthy 6-year-old. My daughter was a private adoption and I was fortunate enough to witness her birth and brought her home with us and was adopted at 6 months old. She is 2 1/2 now and full of life. Today My three beautiful children were adopted through foster care as a sibling group. Their birth mom was a meth addict who is now clean and sober! They are now legally ours AND their birth mom is now part of our extended family - by choice. She has turned her life around and we see and speak to her regularly. Our children know that she gave birth to them; that God loves her and that we all need second chances sometimes. Today Our baby boy is the love of our life. We knew his birth mother and she was very young. She knew she couldn't provide for him and I had a hysterectomy at 19 so I could never have kids. She gave me the best gift ever. Today This is in court 3 years ago when we adopted him. We had him in our life prior to having him as a foster child. His life was turned upside down and we are blessed that we could adopt him. Today We finalized our adoption this WEEK in California. We adopted Kai through domestic adoption 10 months ago. She has brought so much joy into our lives. Today Here's me and my parents on my wedding day. I'm so proud to be adopted! This week will be 28 years ago that I found my forever home. I'm eternally grateful to them and my birth mother for everything they've done. Hoping to meet her one day when she's ready! Today After giving birth to our first four children, it became apparent that adoption would be a part of our future. Two babies came into our family through adoption in one year, then we had one more baby the old-fashioned way! Busy with this young family and being completely outnumbered, we thought for sure we were complete as a family. Then, 10 months ago, we were asked to adopt the 6-year-old sibling of one of our preschoolers as well. It's been intense, wonderful, fun, and full. But we are so blessed to be a safe haven and nurturing place for all eight of our children to grow up and thrive in. Today Our first family picture! We were blessed enough to be present at the hospital for the arrival of our daughter. #lovemakesafamily Today This picture is of the day we met our son Bishop. I feel it really encompasses so many of the emotions that adoption brings. It all begins with such incredible trauma and loss which is terrifying for the child (AND the parent). Such a brutally hard day for all. But then you see my son Gideon (home 2 years next week) and the love and compassion he immediately showed his brand new brother (a boy he prayed for but didn't know). It was simply beautiful. Instant brothers, not through blood but compassion and love and hope and a shared experience. This picture makes my heart want to explode on so many levels. Today Seeing our daughter for the first time in a Houston hospital was the greatest moment in our lives. After years of infertility THIS was the moment we knew God saved something greater for us. We have an open adoption with our daughter's beautiful birth mom, and wouldn't trade it for the world. Today This was the first time I held my son, at two weeks old. We were called two days prior to come meet him, and bring him home. We felt just about the entire spectrum of emotions that day. We had struggled with infertility for two years, then decided adoption was our plan. We got the call only 7 months after we signed with an agency. Our son's birthmother chose us the day she gave birth, and I am thankful every day for her and her brave, selfless choice. Today We adopted our daughter domestically, and she was born 4 hours after our match was confirmed! What a blur-but worth it every second of every day. Here she is, her 2 yr old pictures. We love our little Alexa! Today These two little sisters were REALLY happy to welcome their soldier brother home from 4 months away for Basic and Advanced Training... I'm a proud momma to 6, ages 20 down to 3. Adoption has changed our lives in so many beautiful ways! Today We adopted our son this week! How exciting that it was during adoption month. We found out 3 1/2 weeks ago that he was matched with us to be adopted. He was born Wednesday. 11/12/14. He is perfect! And his sister loves him so much! Today We adopted our ray of sunshine in February. My husband and I have always wanted to adopt and we decided upon open adoption. We were blessed to be a part of the whole pregnancy and birth. Not only do we have two beautiful girls now (I got pregnant and had a little girl 6 months after our adopted daughter's birth) but we have an extended family now with two amazing birth parents who chose us to raise their precious baby. We plan to keep them in our lives. They are family now. Today One of my favorite pics from years ago. We adopted our daughter at 2 days old, she is now 13. Today This amazing little boy had a rough start in life , but God had a bigger plan in store for him. I got the call about my lil guy the day after Mother's Day 2009. We bonded immediately and our transition was so smooth. He is six years old now and we are still two peas in pod! Today After years of struggling with infertility, our world was forever changed when we adopted our beautiful baby girl, Luna. This photograph was taken just a few weeks ago when a Pennsylvania Judge officially declared her a member of our forever family. We are blessed to have an open adoption and share a relationship with our daughter's birth parents and their families. There's a lot of love to go around! Today The airport reunion with all of our children in 2011 after traveling to China for our daughter! We are returning to China this Thursday to bring home their new brother, too, and they are all coming with us! We can't wait! Today Our Kate joined our family last December and we are truly blessed. We were matched and met our miracle all within 48 hours. After I was diagnosed with a pretty extensive form of cancer, we didn't think we could be parents. I am now cancer-free and we are parents to the most amazing person one could imagine. Adoption is truly a gift. Today