Chris and Leann say love at first sight DOES happen. It happened for them 4 years ago at a University of Northern Iowa football game! (GO PANTHERS). They met, they talked, they laughed, and they've never left the other's side since. Shortly into their courtship, Leann decided she felt this was the man of her dreams, so she made the move to give Chris the ultimate choice. Chris knew Leann had a 5 year old son, Anthony, with cerebral palsy from a previous marriage. Leann decided since they were a package deal, it was time for Chris and Anthony to finally meet face to face. Leann and Anthony picked Chris up for a lunch date. When they arrived at the restaurant, Leann went into routine mode and went to the back of the van to get Anthony's wheelchair. Her heart swelled when she watched Chris, without saying a word, open the van door to Anthony. He introduced himself and picked Anthony up out of his car seat so lovingly as if he'd done it a million times before. He very gently put Anthony into his wheelchair and told Leann he wanted to learn how to put Anthony in by himself. Leann says Chris was never put off or scared by Anthony's spastic muscle movements, g tube feedings, diaper changes, therapy needs, etc…he just loved them both madly and wildly. Even though Anthony is only 2months old developmentally, Leann and Chris knew over time that he too felt they should be a family!
A family that loves to hike, bike, and run together- they traveled to the mountains of Oregon to make their family official by having a wedding on October 3, 2009. (Chris made Anthony his best man!)
Fast forward to this last fall when they were introduced to another mom with a child with special needs. She had adopted a child through Reece's Rainbow. Chris and Leann knew they wanted to add to their family, but not necessarily with a pregnancy if that wasn't what the Lord wanted for them. They became licensed foster/adoptive parents and were excited to get a placement…a placement that didn't come. Then one night, when spending time on the Reece's Rainbow website they came across a child they fell in love with. They prayed about him and fell in love with his picture. By the time they felt led by the Lord to inquire about him, they were informed that another family had already committed to him. Chris and Leann praised God that this baby was coming home but would be lying if they said they weren't broken over this loss. They decided it was ok, this baby wasn't supposed to be theirs, and the Lord had something else planned. And little did they know, that plan was going to be sweet! Their contact with RR said, "Have you seen Anthony?" and sent a link. They immediately thought, "Wow, the same name as our son already!" They looked longingly at his picture and read his story over and over again. They prayed about Anthony. They cried about Anthony. They were falling in love with Anthony. They knew they were well equipped to care for him since this little Anthony had the same type of cerebral palsy as their Anthony.
After more praying, crying, praying, talking, praying, and more praying, they had their answer. They felt Jesus was speaking to them very loudly, "BRING THIS BABY HOME! HE IS YOURS!" Oh, God- You are so good everyday! Everyday, You are so good! Chris and Leann can't wait to be united with their newest addition. The name Anthony means "priceless." Yes, they will have two PRICELESS treasures to call their own soon.