Almost everyone dreams of living out their little fairy tale. We all hope to meet the love of our lives, get married, have kids, and raise a family to enjoy a happy life. The only problem is that life is incredibly unpredictable. It might sound cliché, but you don’t know what might happen next.
Mandi and Tyler, a couple from Ohio, understand this simple truth better than anyone else. Their life together began pretty regularly, but then a long list of surprising events took them on a wild ride, finally ending in a dramatic courtroom moment that nobody will ever forget.
The Waiting Game Finally Comes to an End
The average mom or dad would never want to live through a single day without their child around, so can you imagine how hard it must be to live without your beloved son for 17 months? That’s precisely what Mandi and Tyler had to go through.
After such a long wait, they found themselves in a courtroom with their young son, Hunter, having to prove that they could be the mother and father he needed. Then, Hunter said something that caught everyone’s attention.
An American Hero in Afghanistan
Tyler had always known what he wanted to do with his life. From a very young age, he admired the bravery and courage of United States Army soldiers, serving their nation overseas and defending the rights and liberties of the American people. He joined up with the army in 2010 and was jetting off to Afghanistan just a few weeks later. He was living out a lifelong ambition and proud to do so, but nothing could have prepared him for the realities of war.
Tyler wasn’t expecting what happened next…
The Horrors of War Take a Toll
Tyler was grateful to have been given a chance to serve his country and do his part to protect America and defend the values he held so dear, but the truth is that war is a terrible thing and he was happy to hear the news that he’d soon be returning home.
When he finally got back, all he wanted to do was relax and spend quality time with the people he loved, and he was about to get a big surprise.
The Ups and Downs of Life
The terrible things Tyler had seen during his tour of duty had taken a toll on him, but one beautiful thing happened to heal his damaged heart: he fell in love. In 2013, he met his soulmate: a woman named Mandi.
It was a joyful moment for Tyler, but then he got some bad news: he was being deployed to Afghanistan all over again. Not only that, but Mandi was suffering from a terrible illness, and he didn’t want to leave her behind.
Learn what Mandi was suffering from on the next page…
Mandi’s Life Would Never Be The Same
Mandi and Tyler were desperately in love but had both endured a lot of bad luck in their lives. Tyler was struggling with PTSD from his time at war, while Mandi had been diagnosed with a chronic disease called Crohn’s disease, an illness that affects the digestive system and can lead to a lot of horrible symptoms.
Mandi had been diagnosed during her teenage years and taken medication over the years, but her body was struggling to keep up.
Fighting Back Against Adversity
It seemed like the couple couldn’t catch a break; Mandi was struggling with her illness and Tyler was having to go back to the Middle East and face the horrors of war once more. Somehow, the couple found the strength to fight through this difficult time of life. They both agreed that it wasn’t going to be easy, but they loved each other too much to give up hope. Even in the face of adversity, they looked on the bright side.
On the next page, Tyler does something extraordinary…
Tyler Gets Down on One Knee
Mandi and Tyler were quite clearly meant to be together. Despite life throwing a lot of challenges and obstacles into their path, the continued to battle through and come out stronger on the other end.
So it seemed only logical to Tyler that he had to make Mandi his wife. Just a few weeks after getting back home, he got down on one knee, and the couple were married less than a month later.
A New Life, A New Start
Finally, Tyler’s military career seemed to be over, and he and Mandi were husband and wife. It was time for a fresh start and a new chance at total happiness to begin. In 2015, Tyler made things official by resigning from duty and also began speaking with a therapist to try and cope with his PTSD. After a long time and a lot of issues, it seemed like Mandi, and Tyler’s lives were getting back on track.
Things were looking up for the happy couple, but one thing was still missing from their lives…
Making a Dream Come True
The one thing that almost every couple dreams about is to create a new life someday and welcome their very own child into the world.
From an early age, Mandi and Tyler had known they wanted to be a mother and father eventually, and now that they were in love and married, it seemed like the right time to start trying. Tragically, life had one more nasty surprise in store for the couple.
Mandi’s Disease Blocks the Way
An unfortunate and often overlooked side effect that can come along with Crohn’s disease is difficulty with conceiving a child. Many sufferers of the disease are still able to have kids, but Mandi seemed to be one of the unlucky ones. The couple tried for a long time to become pregnant, but weeks turned into months and months turned into years, and eventually, they started to fear that it just wasn’t meant to be.
Then, they had a bright idea that changed everything…
Looking at Other Options
What to do when you can’t have your baby? Well, there are a few different options available, like surrogacy or IVF, but Mandi and Tyler decided that they wanted to try something else: adoption. The couple believed that somewhere, out in the world, a child could be waiting to make their family complete. And so they decided to abandon their attempts at natural pregnancy and start pursuing the idea of adopting a little boy or girl.
Everything Falls into Place
For Mandi and Tyler, adoption just felt like the right thing to do. They did consider other options, but something seemed to be telling them that adopting a child was the best step to take. They even started to see signs, like ads and public announcements stating that foster families were needed in their area. They decided to register themselves as a foster family in the hopes of someday being able to push for full adoption.
Next, Mandi and Tyler get the news they’ve been waiting for…
The First Steps of Fostering
Adoption isn’t a quick or straightforward process at all. It takes a long time, involving a lot of checks, talks, questions, and forms to fill in. It’s a very lengthy ordeal, and Mandi and Tyler knew they would have to be patient.
The first step was to register as foster parents and see what happened next. Little did they know that this simple act would lead to some extraordinary events further down the line.
A Boy Named Hunter
Mandi and Tyler were blown away by how much paperwork they had to complete and how many phone calls they had to make to become foster parents finally. When they finally did get licensed, however, they got some excellent news just a short time later: a baby boy called Hunter was in need of a home. The couple were ecstatic and couldn’t wait to meet Hunter.
On the next page, Mandi and Tyler get their first glimpse of little Hunter…
The Formation of a Family
Mandi and Tyler couldn’t believe what was happening. It had taken so long, and they’d had to go through so many difficult challenges and overcome a lot of obstacles to get to this point, but finally, they were just days away from having a baby boy in their home.
Hunter was only a week old at the time and would need a lot of love and care, but Mandi and Tyler were the perfect people for him.
Preparing for Hunter’s Arrival
The average parents have nine months to prepare for the arrival of a baby and use that time to purchase supplies, prepare a nursery, etc. For Mandi and Tyler, the whole thing was happening very suddenly, and they had to react swiftly to be fully prepared for Hunter’s arrival. They quickly rushed out in search of items like diapers and wipes. Next, the couple set off to the children’s service center and saw Hunter for the first time, all wrapped up tightly and cozily in a blanket.
It was love at first sight, but Mandi and Tyler had a long road ahead of them…
A Very Stressful Time
Many people have a lot of misconceptions about foster families and adoption. The process isn’t always a smooth one, and every case is different, with all sorts of potential pitfalls that make the whole thing very stressful for the prospective foster family.
In some cases, for example, the biological parents of a child might change their mind randomly and decide they want to keep their kid after all. Mandi and Tyler had Hunter for now, but they didn’t know what might happen next.
A Dream Come True Takes an Unexpected Turn
Mandi and Tyler thought that their long run of bad luck might finally be over. They had Hunter in their arms, and everything was going fine for the first few days, but then their old misfortune struck once more.
They got the news that another family had filed to adopt Hunter permanently. It was heartbreaking for both of them; they felt a connection with little Hunter and truly believed that he was the missing piece of the family they’d always wanted.
Mandi and Tyler weren’t going to go down without a fight…
Overcoming the Odds One More Time
Mandi and Tyler had spent their whole lives fighting. They knew that good things in life don’t come easy and it takes a lot of effort and hard work to achieve happiness. Mandi had battled her disease, while Tyler had fought in a real-life war.
They had been faced with difficult situations in the past and battled to overcome the odds. For them, the news about losing Hunter was just one more battle to be won.
Mandi and Tyler Make it Official
The loving couple also decided to file an official request to adopt Hunter in the hopes that a judge would be able to see their side of the story and realize how much they cared about this particular child. Once again, the whole thing took a lot of time. This was a child’s life, after all, so it needed a lot of consideration. In the end, Mandi and Tyler were awarded an official courtroom hearing on December 18 of 2017.
They had a date, and now it was just time to wait and see…
The Big Day Draws Closer
Mandi and Tyler had barely needed any time at all to fall in love with little Hunter and know in their hearts that they wanted to spend their lives raising him.
They didn’t know how the whole story was going to resolve itself and started to worry and stress as the big day approached, but they had faith that their fairy tale could have the happy ending it deserved and that their family could finally be complete.
Hunter Was the Missing Piece
For Mandi and Tyler, Hunter was the one shining light of hope and happiness that could indeed make their lives complete. They’d gone through so many years suffering and enduring, having to fight against their respective issues of Crohn’s disease and PTSD. They felt that life had always been harsh to them, but Hunter could make it all better. Their fate was about to be decided in the courtroom, and they had to hope for the best.
December 18 of 2017 finally came…
One Fateful Day Changes It All
Finally, after such a long time and a seemingly endless wait for Mandi and Tyler, the court date came. It was time for them to see whether or not they were going to be the official mom and dad of Hunter.
They all dressed up for the special day, and even little Hunter was wearing an extra cute little suit and had a cheerful smile on his face. It seemed like a joyful day, but all of that depended on the judge.
Everyone Waits for the Judge to Speak
Then, the moment came. Mandi, Tyler, and little Hunter, as well as many of their friends and family, watched and listened as the judge started to speak. Fortunately, he had excellent news. He confirmed that Mandi and Tyler would become the official adoptive parents of Hunter, giving the little boy his new name and making everyone very happy. It was an extraordinary moment for everyone in the room, but it was about to get even better.
Hunter had something amazing to say…
Hunter Makes the Day Even Better
It seemed like this particular day couldn’t get any better, but the most unlikely person in the room was about to make the moment even more magical.
Out of nowhere, little Hunter looked over at Tyler and yelled one single word that made everyone feel so much happier. “Dad!” he said, starting to clap happily at the same time. At that point, both Mandi and Tyler felt like bursting into happy tears as they realized their family was finally complete.
A Day to Never Forget
It was a day that Mandi, Tyler, and Hunter too would never forget. The inspiring couple had known all along that things might turn out differently, and it’s easy to imagine that their story could have had an unfortunate ending if the adoption hadn’t been made official, but it all turned out okay in the end. For the rest of their lives, Mandi and Tyler can look back and know that all their efforts paid off.
Mandi and Tyler could finally live the lives they deserved…
Mandi Had Never Been Happier
When asked about how she’d felt on that fateful day, Mandi said she was utterly thrilled. “It’s definitely worth all the efforts. It’s nice to look at him now and not have to worry that he’s ever going to leave us again,” she said.
Tyler, of course, felt the same way and was so thrilled to hear the judge make the whole thing official.
Always Look on the Bright Side
Mandi and Tyler have admirably stayed positive from the first day of their journey to the last. They’ve brought a brand new meaning to the phrase ‘Always look on the bright side of life.’ Even when times got tough, and it seemed like everything was against them, they stayed strong and maintained their determination. Other people might have given up after going through so much, but Mandi and Tyler deserve so much respect and admiration for staying strong.
Read on to learn how Hunter has changed their lives…
Hunter Inspires Them Every Day
Each day, when Mandi and Tyler look at their son and see his happy, smiling face, they know that the whole journey was worth all the stress and doubt and pain. They know that their lives were leading up to this moment and that they were always destined to be parents to this special little boy.
He is their inspiration, their motivation, and their reason to never give up.
The Greatest Christmas Gift
The courtroom date was held in December, just a week before Christmas, and the timing couldn’t have been better for everyone. On December 18 of 2017, Mandi and Tyler were given the wonderful gift of knowing that Hunter was theirs. In all of their wildest dreams, they could never have imagined a more wonderful Christmas present, and they got to spend the special day as a full family for the first time.
Mandi and Tyler learned some essential lessons…
Mandi Loves Being a Mom
Mandi says that being a mother is the best experience she has ever had. She also said something that we can all take to heart: “family isn’t about DNA, it’s about love.” She’s right.
Mandi and Tyler might not be connected to Tyler by blood, but they’re the mother and father he needed, and he is the son they were always destined to rise. They are as much of a family as any other.
Sharing the Story with the World
To inspire more people to consider fostering and adoption, as well as proving that happy endings really can happen in real life, Mandi and Tyler decided to share their story with as many people as they could.
They shared it on social media and still tell the tale to new friends and people they meet, encouraging and inspiring countless people to keep fighting when life gets hard and never give up on their dreams.
We can all learn something on the next page…
Many More Kids Are Waiting
The sad truth is that there are many more children out there who haven’t been as lucky as little Hunter.
Lots of kids get put up for adoption for one reason or another, and many of them can spend months or even years waiting to find the right family. That’s why Mandi and Tyler are encouraging as many people as possible to consider registering as foster families to spread more love and joy to kids in need.
A True Fairy Tale Ends in the Best Way
Mandi and Tyler’s story is an amazing one. They have been living proof that no matter how hard life gets, you can always bounce back if you have the drive and determination to believe in yourself and follow your dreams. Even when faced with diseases, psychological problems, and never-ending waiting periods, this couple stayed strong and kept the faith. In the end, they were rewarded with the happiest ending of all.