It’s hard enough to start a family while serving your country, and that journey was even more difficult for Tyler Palmer. He struggled to balance his commitment to the military and his desire for a wife and family.
When he met Mandi, he felt there might finally be a chance for him to achieve his dream. But life is unpredictable and the couple had no idea that their search for a family would end up in a courtroom battle.
Before Meeting Mandi, Tyler Was A Military Man
Tyler had always known what he wanted to do with his life. He was drawn to the military. Growing up, he was in awe of the bravery and courage that soldiers would show serving their nation overseas and defending the rights of American people.
He had joined up with the army in 2010, and it didn’t take long for him to get sent off to Afghanistan. Nothing could prepare him for what he would see.
He loved the military, but something important was missing from his life.
He Wanted To Come Home
He was very proud to be in the military, but he didn’t love the realities of war. It was tough, both mentally and physically. He would see things that most people shouldn’t have to ever see.
He was extremely happy to find out that he would eventually be coming back home. When he got back, all he wanted to do was spend time with his family and decompress. He was about to get a big surprise.
With A Damaged Heart, He Fell In love
He ended up falling in love in 2013. He had a damaged heart from all he had seen during his service that he never thought would be able to heal. That was until Mandi came into the picture. She was his rock.
There was nothing that they couldn’t talk about — his time over in Afghanistan, their love for each other, and everything in between. But, there would be some bad news coming the couple’s way.
He was finally happy but the news he’d receive next almost tore them apart
Mandi And Tyler Thought They Had The World At Their Feet
Mandi and Tyler had plans for the perfect life, and those plans were very much playing out perfectly. They were a simple couple from Ohio, with the world at their feet. Their time together started very regularly, but that would be disrupted by a long list of surprising events, terrible diseases, and a shocking outburst.
That wild ride would end in a courtroom moment that nobody in that family will ever forget.
But, He Had To Go Back
Tyler was told that he was going back to Afghanistan. Not only that, but at the time, Mandi was suffering from a terrible illness and he didn’t want to leave her behind.
Both Mandi and Tyler were struggling in their own right. Mandi was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, and Tyler had severe PTSD from his time at war. While they’re both very different obstacles for the two, it was affecting their relationship.
They Were Both Struggling
It seemed like the new couple just couldn’t catch a break. Mandi was going to lose her partner in crime at a time when she needed him most. Tyler was going to have to go back to the Middle East, the place that is responsible for his PTSD, to begin with.
They both agreed that this whole thing wasn’t going to be easy, but they loved each other too much to give up hope.
Tyler decided he needed to do something drastic to fix things
Tyler Decided To Pop The Question
If you were to ask anyone close to the couple, they would tell you that it was obvious the two were meant to be together. They were compatible to no end. More importantly, at this point in their lives, they were both fighters and ready to do anything to stay together.
So, Tyler decided that it was time to make Mandi his wife. He had been planning the moment for the entirety of his second deployment.
Finally, The Couple Caught A Break
It took him just a few weeks after he got back to propose. The couple ended up getting married just a month later. It seemed that Tyler’s military career was coming to an end. It was going to be a fresh start and a new chance at total happiness.
By 2015, he had completely disbanded from the military and ended up seeking help for his PTSD. He sought out a therapist.
They were finally happy but it felt like they were still missing something
But They Still Thought About Having Children
After a lot of time apart, and a lot of medical issues between the two of them, it seemed like Tyler and Mandi’s life was getting back on track. Things were really starting to look up for the two.
The elephant in the room was whether or not they wanted to have a child. I mean, almost every couple’s dream is to create a new life and welcome a child of their very own.
Unfortunately, deciding to have a child and actually having one are two different things
Mandi’s Crohn’s Disease Left A Toll
The question was easily answered by both of them — of course they wanted to have a kid. Both of them have expressed that they would love a child and the timing seemed right. They had just got married, they were both getting their medical struggles under control, it all seemed perfect.
But, life had one more nasty surprise for them. There was an unexpected side effect of Crohn’s Disease that they didn’t foresee.
She Wasn’t One Of The Lucky Ones
Because of the disease she had, she was going to have a lot of difficulties conceiving a child. Many sufferers of the disease still end up being able to have one, but Mandi wasn’t that lucky.
The couple tried for a long time to become pregnant but weeks turned into months, and months turned into dreadful years. The couple was coming to the conclusion that having a kid just wasn’t meant to be.
After accepting this devastating news, Mandi and Tyler had to rethink their options
Figuring Out The Right Option
There’s a few different things that you can do if you can’t have a baby. The couple decided to look into them instead of keeping up the fight of trying to conceive naturally. They could have a surrogate or IVF. But that didn’t seem like the right option for the couple.
Instead, they were going to look at the adoption process. That seemed right to Tyler and Mandi. It seemed like the best way to go about this.
It Was Becoming A Reality
They figured that there was a kid out in the world somewhere who was going to be perfect for their family. They stopped looking at different options, and went full force toward adoption.
They decided to register themselves as a foster family in hopes of someday being able to push for full adoption. The reality of having a little family was becoming a reality for the couple and they couldn’t be more excited.
Adopting was quite a lengthy and overwhelming process though
The Process Was Overwhelming
For anyone who has ever experienced the adoption process, you know that it isn’t very straightforward. It involves a lot of checks, talks, and forms to fill in. It is an incredibly lengthy ordeal and Mandi knew she would have to be patient.
The process was so strenuous and time consuming that the couple was actually feeling overwhelmed. It seemed like they were on the phone constantly with random people.
Next, they’d finally meet their little boy!
Little Baby Hunter
They did eventually pull through and get licensed. Almost immediately after, they were told about this little baby Hunter who was in need of a home. The couple was incredibly excited and couldn’t wait to meet him.
After all of the obstacles, and all of the struggles to get to this point, Mandi and Tyler were just days away from having a baby boy in their home. Little baby Hunter.
They Didn’t Have Much Time
Hunter was only a week old at the time and was going to be a handful. But, that’s exactly what they wanted. While most families have nine months to prepare for a baby, Mandi and Tyler only had a few days. They were going to need to get prepared and settled VERY quickly.
They quickly rushed out to get items like diapers and wipes. If they thought the paperwork was going to be a lot, they didn’t know what was going to hit them.
It Took A Lot To Pull Through
The couple set off to the children’s services center and saw Hunter for the first time, all wrapped up tightly in a blanket. It truly was love at first sight for both of them.
While many people have some misconceptions about how the foster process works, every case is different and will come with a unique set of challenges. It takes a genuine set of parents to be able to pull through it.
Making Hunter their son wouldn’t be an easy road for the couple
There Was Another Hurdle To Jump Over
In some cases, the biological parents of a child might change their mind randomly and decide they want to keep their kid after all. It’s a lot more common than people think.
Mandi and Tyler had Hunter for now, but they didn’t know what the future would hold for the three of them. And, right on cue, something bad was going to happen to the couple again. Mandi and Tyler would have another obstacle to jump over.
Not Going Down Without A Fight
They got the news that another family had filed to adopt Hunter permanently. It was heartbreaking for the couple. They felt a connection with little Hunter and truly believed that he was the missing piece of the family they’d always want.
Mandi and Tyler were not going to go down without a fight. They were fighters in all other aspects of their lives, and they sure weren’t going to stop with Hunter.
The Stress Was Heavy
The news about Hunter was going to just be one more battle they would have to win. The couple decided that it was their turn to file for an official request to adopt Hunter. They hoped that the judge would see their side of the story and see how much they cared for the little guy.
It took a lot of time to hash out. The stress was weighing on both Mandi and Tyler. This was a child’s life, after all.
Next, the couple finally gets a chance to plead their case
They’d Get A Hearing
They got some good news from the judge. He was going to give them an official courtroom hearing. They had a date, and now, it was just time to wait and see what would happen.
The two had faith that their little fairytale would be able to continue with baby Hunter. They were scared, but optimistic. They felt that life had been pretty harsh to them, and that they really deserved this kid.
The Day Had Arrived
Finally, the court date had arrived. They got up in the morning, nervous and terrified for the end result. They were hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst. It was about to be time 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 Hunter was even wearing a little suit. He was blissfully cheerful.
The Good News
The final moments were coming. As all of their friends and family watched, listened and observed the judge, it was about to be ruling time. It was the news they were looking for. Mandi and Tyler were going to become the official parents of Hunter, giving the little boy a new name and making everyone very happy.
It was such an extraordinary moment in the courtroom. Many tears were shed.
Next, this is what Hunter said that sealed the deal
But, Hunter had something to say. He was never a kid who was shy about blurting out whatever emotions he was feeling. So, out of nowhere, little Hunter yelled one single word that made everyone feel so much happier.
He turned to Tyler and said “Dad!” and started to clap happily at the same time. It was at that point that Mandi and Tyler felt like bursting into happy tears as they realized their family was finally complete.
The Excitement Was Real
Mandi and Tyler could finally live the life that they had deserved. Mandi expressed that all of the effort and all of the sleepless nights were worth the moment they had just felt in that courtroom.
Tyler, of course, was incredibly excited. He could barely contain his emotions when he heard the words come out of the judge’s mouth. They had stayed positive from the first day to the last.
Even When Times Were Tough…
Even when times got tough and it seemed like the whole world was collapsing on their shoulders, they were able to fight through it. They no longer were fighting for themselves. They had a little boy they needed to fight for too.
While other people may have given up on themselves and others, that thought hadn’t even crossed their mind. It really is remarkable how this story turns out for them.
Their Lives Were Leading Up To This
Each day, the two parents get to turn to Hunter and see his happy, smiling face and it makes everything worth it. For Mandi and Tyler, the world just makes sense now. They knew their lives were leading up to this moment and that they were destined to be parents to this special little boy.
The court date was held just before Christmas, so it couldn’t have been any better timing.
The Best Christmas Gift
Mandi and Tyler were given the best gift they could’ve ever asked for. In all of their wildest dreams, they would’ve never thought that this present was going to be theirs. They were able to spend their first full Christmas as a family together and it was so blissful.
They learned some very important lessons along the way. They learned that family isn’t about DNA, it’s about love. It’s about care.
Loving Him The Same
Mandi and Tyler might not be connected by blood to Hunter, but that doesn’t mean anything. They were going to love him the same as any other kid. He was never going to have to worry about having loving parents, that would be a regular everyday occurrence for him.
Unfortunately, that’s the sad truth for some other children. There are more kids out there who aren’t as lucky as Hunter is.
One Big Happy Family
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.
They were faced with so many obstacles along the way, but they were able to overcome them all and stayed strong till the end. Now, they can live as one big happy family with their new son, Hunter.