When you have tragedy in your life, friends always seem to make the same remark: Things happen for a reason. It’s meant to be soothing, and you appreciate the sentiment. But profound or insightful, it’s not. In times of grief though, what really is there to say?

Our first baby, Nigel Clifford, came suddenly. He was born March 9, 2009, approximately 2 weeks after we were home-study ready. His birth-mother selected us on March 10. We picked him up from the hospital on March 11. On March 23 he joined us for Michael’s grandmother’s 100th birthday party. Joy was abundant. On March 24 we were notified that Nigel’s birth-parents wanted to revoke their surrender of Nigel. The next day, with heartfelt advice from STAR, our attorney and family, we gave him up. The pain was overwhelming.

Things happen for a reason, people kept telling us.

In mid-September, STAR introduced us to an expectant mother in Buffalo. A month later, we received “the” call, sprinted to the hospital, waited, and at 4:29 p.m., she delivered our beloved son Julius Byron Jeraquël. Julius is joy personified, always smiling and laughing. He is simply the cutest, happiest kid of all time. Our hearts have swelled and our home brightened with Julius in our life. It’s our honor to be his parents, and we cannot put our immense admiration and love for his courageous birth-mother into the appropriate words.

We became a “forever family” on December 22. It was a glorious day, but just the beginning. Julius amazes us every day, and each day, we celebrate our life together as a family.

Whatever the true reasons were for our losing Nigel – divine intervention, a simple human change of mind, something else – had we not lost him we would not know Julius. And today, that thought is unimaginable to us.