If you ask 100 different parents about their journey to parenthood, there would be 100 different stories to share.
In the case of the Olsons of Minnesota, the journey to becoming parents for the third time was not only a figurative one, but a literal one as well.
Sarah and David Olson always knew they wanted three children. Her pregnancies, neither of which came easily, were "brutal," the couple told ABC News. She was sick throughout, and was in and out of hospitals. One pregnancy even broke her pelvic bone, she said.
Their first child is a boy named Zakary. Their second child, Levi, was born with Spina Bifida and has had many surgeries. "Despite the fact we were told he wasn’t going to walk, Levi has defied the odds and is running around torturing his older brother," David Olson told ABC News.
Those difficult pregnancies and medical complications didn't deter the couple. "We love our boys but knew our family was not complete. Regardless of Levi’s ongoing medical scenario, we wanted a third child. We tried to become pregnant for about eight months with no luck," David said.
The couple took a trip to New York City for Sarah's birthday and it was on the flight, Sarah said, she wanted to consider adoption. David’s father and sister-in-law were both adopted. Sarah’s niece had recently been adopted from China.
"We both have incredibly favorable attitudes towards adoption," David said. "We prayed about this idea and didn’t tell anyone for a while."
The couple hooked up with Christian Adoption Consultants. After four potential matches and four disappointments as the children they thought were theirs were placed with other families, the call came at noon on a Tuesday.
"Are you ready for a miracle?" their adoption consultant said. "We have a stork drop situation and if you say yes, this is your daughter!”
A stork drop situation is when a couple takes a baby on a moment's notice.
The couple made childcare arrangements for their boys and booked a flight to Tallahassee, Florida, for 5 a.m. the next day. They took along their friend and photographer Kristen Prosser of Kristen Anne Photography to document the journey.
"We named our daughter Tilly Pearl," David said. "Tilly means 'Strength through adversity.' We have a deep connection with that statement. Pearl means “a precious thing, the finest example of something."'
Flight and other travel delays made the journey from Minnesota to Tallahassee a 14-hour one.
"We walked into the room expecting to meet our baby, but it was empty. The charge nurse was busy and couldn’t bring her down yet. Another wait. Those 20 minutes may have been hours," David said. "But the time came and she was rolled in. As soon as we saw her, our hearts felt complete. There are no words to describe it. How to you explain love for a human you just met? That is the power of adoption. We prayed and prayed for this baby to come into our lives, and that time had finally come. Within 30 hours of receiving the call, we were holding our baby girl. Such a surreal moment."
"Thank you to the birth moms that choose life for their children," the couple wrote in an email to ABC News. "Thank you to the adoptive parents that sacrifice to bring children home into their forever families."
Sarah and Tilly are still in Florida as they wait for paperwork to be complete and the money needed to travel home to rejoin the rest of the family. To read more about their journey, visit Olson Family Adoption.