GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- A West Michigan family is doubling in size this Christmas as they come together to celebrate the adoption of a baby girl.
Rick and Caroline Wiersma have been married for three years. He's an English teacher and she's a social worker. They met serving in the Peace Corps in the Republic of Azerbaijan. They say they always knew they wanted to start their family by adopting their first child. What they didn't know is that they would be gaining more than a daughter. They got her whole family.
On April 27, 2018, Lana Anne Wiersma was born. Unlike most babies, she'll grow up with three parents.
“We are a family and that’s kind of, that’s it," says Caroline Wiersma, Lana's adoptive mother.
Morgan Wittenbach, 20, didn't find out she was pregnant until she was six months along. She was not in a good relationship with the birth father and knew that adoption would give Lana a better shot at life. Morgan went through Bethany Christian Services and had dozens of couples to choose from who wanted to adopt. When she came across the Wiersma's, one thing in particular caught her eye. In their profile they included a quote from the bible, "May the Lord bless you and keep you."
“I actually have that tattooed on me, so I thought that like, this is meant to be," Morgan tells FOX 17.
Morgan brought her whole family to meet the Wiersma's for the first time and they hit it off right away.
“Immediately, I loved everything about them," Morgan says.
The next day, Rick and Caroline got the call. Morgan chose them.
When Lana was born and it was time for the Wiersma's to take Lana home, it was difficult for everyone.
“It was like your heart being torn out, I mean for all of us," Caroline says.
Morgan says the day Lana was born was the best day of her life, but she knew in the back of her mind that she couldn't keep her. However, it wasn't good-bye, just "see you later." Rick and Caroline say they always want Morgan to be in Lana's life.
“We don’t want there to be any stigma about adoption because adoption looks so different for so many people," Rick says. "But it’s so beautiful for us, so we want her to grow up knowing that and how loved she really is.”
Tuesday morning will be Lana's first Christmas and she'll be surrounded by Morgan and her relatives at Rick and Caroline's house.
“That’s the first, kind of start to tradition but, yeah, we want each other in each other’s lives," Caroline says. “Morgan and I don’t compete for Lana and I think that’s what it comes down to; I am Lana’s mother and Morgan is just as much her mother.”
Starting their Christmas tradition holds true to the vows Rick and Caroline made to Lana before she was even born:
“We promise that we will raise you with the understanding that your birthparent loved you so deeply, they allowed us to be your parents as well."
Morgan says she plans to go back to school to study social work, just like Caroline.