It’s true – “Life is full of surprises!” But this quote seems like an understatement when hearing how one 20-year-old Texas A&M student discovered the surprise of her life. Kelsi and her college boyfriend, Sam, had spent a warm August afternoon celebrating Sam’s graduation from Texas A&M University with family and friends. After an evening of dinner and dancing, Kelsi began feeling ill. Her symptoms progressed and by the next morning, a trip to the nearest emergency medical clinic was in order. Puzzled by Kelsi’s unusual mix of symptoms, the medical team conducted a test that confirmed their suspicions.
Not only was Kelsi pregnant but she was in labor!
Kelsi was rushed to a local hospital in a fire truck and taken to an operating room where several medical professionals were waiting to assist her. She described feeling as if people were talking about her and not understanding how she did not know she was pregnant. Kelsi said she became very confused and disoriented probably as a result of being in the shock on learning of her pregnancy and the various drugs given to her. Despite being confused, Kelsi clearly recalls one important fact – Sam never left her side.
Kelsi gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby boy on August 14, 2011. When asked to name their baby, Kelsi described that it only took a few minutes for them to agree – “Brandon Keith” would be their son’s name. One other decision took several days to ponder – “Who would raise their son?” Kelsi explained that as Brandon’s birth had taken them both completely by surprise, she and Sam did not have a parenting plan. In fact, Sam was moving the following week to Virginia to be commissioned into the U.S. Army. Several family members did offer to parent Brandon; however, Kelsi and Sam wanted to take responsibility for their actions and decided to consider what options may be available for their baby boy. The social worker at the hospital connected them with the professionals at Aggieland Pregnancy Outreach (APO). Very soon, Karla, an Options Counselor and Caseworker with APO, began meeting with Kelsi and Sam and shared with them various possibilities for their baby.
Both parenting and adoption options were discussed over the course of several days. Kelsi and baby Brandon were even discharged home while a plan of action was being formulated. Kelsi shared that she struggled with wanting to do the “right thing” for Brandon and did not feel equipped to parent a child alone. Her friends challenged her to “take responsibility” for her actions and parent Brandon. When she shared with her closest friends that she was seriously considering adoption, they questioned how she could “just give her baby away”. She tried to explain that she wanted to do what was in the best interest for Brandon. After careful consideration and feeling unprepared to parent, Kelsi and Sam decided that allowing Brandon to be raised in a two parent Christian home would be best. They also decided that an open adoption, one where they could keep in contact with the adoptive parents, would be best for Brandon. Unbeknownst to Kelsi and Sam, God had a plan for baby Brandon all along.
At the approximate time of Brandon’s conception, a young couple in a neighboring town had decided that it was time to grow their family through the process of adoption. Liz and Joey had completed all the required training, paperwork and home study to pursue adoption. More importantly, they had prepared their hearts. Part of the adoption planning involved reviewing scrapbooks or Life Books detailing prospective adoptive families for their baby. After much consideration and prayer, Kelsi and Sam decided that they wanted to meet that young couple previously mentioned, Liz and Joey. Over the course of several days, Kelsi, Sam and their prospective families were able to have several meetings with Liz and Joey both at APO and in the couple’s home. Kelsi shared that there were several coincidences that solidified the decision for Liz and Joey to be Brandon’s parents. Six days after Brandon’s birth, an entrustment ceremony was held in Kelsi’s home with several family members in attendance.
Kelsi shared she experienced a whirlwind of emotions after this rapid series of life events. Initially, she felt depressed and upset that everything had happened so quickly. She found it hard to believe and was embarrassed that she gave birth to a child the day after her boyfriend’s graduation. Next, she struggled with feeling angry about her circumstances and perplexed that she had no knowledge of her pregnancy. During the months before Brandon’s birth, Kelsi noticed gaining a few pounds, but attributed this to the stress of school. The professionals at Aggieland Pregnancy Outreach were able to help Kelsi process her feelings and work with the adoptive parents in forming a relationship with them for Brandon’s benefit. Liz and Joey shared that it was difficult to know how to respond to the mix of emotions they experienced when bringing Brandon home. They were so happy to have a beautiful baby boy, but sad for Kelsi’s and Sam’s pain. They also did not know exactly how they would merge their families together because Kelsi’s extended family lived relatively close. Slowly a bond did form, not only with Kelsi, Liz and Joey, but their extended families as well. In Joey’s words, “Take the idea of a normal, conventional family – wad it up and throw it out! Be able to accept the unusualness of life.” He continues, “It’s all about love – who loves and supports our children – that’s family!”
Speaking of family, not only did Brandon gain two additional sets of grandparents but Liz and Joey’s other two children did as well. According to Liz, it is not unusual to see Kelsi’s parents at her other two children’s activities. Kelsi’s mom has been a huge blessing to them. In addition, the extended family also gets together at holidays and most recently celebrated Brandon’s birthday. Kelsi also shared that she feels she has gained a “mature friend” in Liz and frequently shares with her things on her heart. Since Brandon’s adoption, Kelsi did complete her college degree from Texas A&M University with Liz, Joey, Brandon and the rest of the family in attendance. She continues to live and work in the local area and sees Brandon frequently. On a side note, even though she and Sam care for one another deeply, they are no longer dating. As you can see, sometimes a big surprise for one person is another’s prayed for miracle! Because of a young couple’s unselfishness and bravery, three children have benefitted! Braxton and Bryce have a little brother – Brandon ! Through this journey, Kelsi has relied on her faith in God and the following words: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3: 5-6)