The moment was very emotional for both Mandi and Tyler Palmer. They had spent an entire year trying to prove their worth as parents and keep their family together. It felt like it would be ages before the judge spoke and gave his final decision. However, an unexpected interruption occurred when a toddler broke the silence and shouted something out.
Off To War
A Hard Experience
Fortunately for Tyler Palmer, he made it through his time in Afghanistan safe and sound and was able to return home. Though he was happy to be back in the United States with his loved ones, the war experience took a toll on him just as it does with anyone who experiences it. Luckily for Tyler, things were about to go his way.
A Stroke Of Fortune
Proposing To His Love
Tyler’s deployment would last for nearly a year and be very difficult on the two. But it also gave him a new perspective on what really matters in life. “He was deployed for nine months, and one month after he got home, he proposed and we got married a few weeks later,” Mandi later said. Tyler decided to exit the Army and start a new life with his bride.
Let’s Start A Family
A Difficult Challenge
The couple was understandably frustrated as weeks of effort turned into months and eventually, years. “We tried for years to get pregnant but soon came to realize that it wasn’t going to happen, nor would it be safe for my body to sustain the miracle of pregnancy due to my illness,” said Mandi. However, they weren’t going to give up on parenthood easily.
Foster Parents Needed
Tyler and Mandi were very receptive to the idea of becoming foster parents and noticed that there had been notices about a need for qualified foster parents within their area. Commercials and other announcements caught their attention and they realized that a lot of children and babies out there needed a home of their own.
A Sign From Above
Here’s Your Baby Boy
The licensing program was quite intense, and Tyler and Mandi spent months doing paperwork and jumping through various hoops to complete it. Finally, they became licensed and that same week, they got a call that their baby boy was ready to be picked up. His name was Hunter, and Tyler and Mandi couldn’t wait to meet him!
In Need Of A Family
What followed was a “whirlwind of emotions,” Mandi said. The couple went to Target and picked up the baby items they needed. “We arrived at children’s services and there was Hunter, all bundled up in a receiving blanket, and he was being held by our caseworker,” said Mandi. “He was eight days old and absolutely perfect. We fell in love with him instantly.”
Not Giving Up
Still, the moment that Tyler and Mandi first laid eyes on baby Hunter, they had decided that he was their little boy, and that wasn’t going to change no matter what. As time grew on, they only became more determined to do whatever it would take to make sure that they would stay together as a family.
The Date Is Set
Whatever It Takes
By the time the court date arrived, the family had been together for 17 months. It may not seem like very long, but as a parent, it’s an eternity and the idea of giving up the little one you’ve cared for for a year and a half is simply unbearable. However, Tyler and Mandi were ready for whatever it would take.
The Best Medicine
Ready For The Big Day
When the big day arrived, the family was nervous, but mostly excited. Everybody made sure to look their best, with tiny Hunter really being the star of the show in his fancy attire. The parents were more than ready to put everything behind them and make their parenthood all the way official that day.
A Support System
Hunter Speaks Out
As the adoption decree was read and everything was becoming officially final for once and for all, Hunter yelled out. He looked at Tyler and he yelled, “Dad!” Tyler also began clapping and everybody in attendance started to cry, Mandi said. “It was so emotional,” she said. It was truly a perfect unscripted moment.
A Rewarding Experience
When asked about how she felt at that time, Mandi is very clear. “It’s definitely rewarding,” she said. “It’s nice to look in his eyes now and not have to worry that he’s ever gonna have to leave us again.” When the decision was announced and their family was made official, the judge certainly knew that he had made the right decision.
Saving Each Other
Why They Keep Going
Tyler and Mandi are extremely proud of their baby boy, Hunter. “He is our world and our reason to keep fighting these battles,” said Mandi. “My husband said that there is no medication to help his PTSD quite like having his son take our last name.” Hunter has had as great an effect on his parents as they have on him.
Providing Safety And Love
Family Is Most Important
“Our hearts are forever changed because we now know a true and genuine love,” gushed Mandi when asked about her feelings about her son, Hunter. “We know that he will forever be safe with us and most importantly will always know what love is. We have learned that family isn’t about DNA. It’s about love!”
It’s Totally Worth It
Mandi has posted about her experience on Facebook during Foster Care Awareness Month, when she said that it’s the best feeling to know that you provide children with “safety, validation, comfort, and love.” Mandi also wrote that foster children deserve to be cared for. “They are innocent and deserve all of us to help put their broken pieces back together.”