By Leah Williams
On August 17, the Hanke Family Adoption Journey had posted an update on its Facebook page, letting their followers know about what happened a few weeks earlier.
The photo caption stated “When it is all finished, you will discover it was never random,” and the couple had to tell everyone that they were delivered bad news again.
The baby boy they had planned to bring home didn’t pan out. The birth mother decided to keep her son.
Chelsey and Tim posted that they understood and respected her decision. It just wasn’t in the plan.
“ They always say that your baby is out there,” Chelsey Hanke said.
And she was. In a matter of days, Chelsey and Tim Hanke would get everything they asked for. They became parents to a newborn baby girl.
From The Beginning
Chelsey Hanke said the adoption journey became soon after the couple found out there was less than a 2 percent chance that they would ever be able to have a child on their own. After considering all of their options, they knew that adoption was the way they would complete their family.
“We were the last ones of our friends and family to have kids,” Chelsey Hanke said.
Tim, who is formerly from New Minden, works as a seed technician, and Chelsey is a children’s librarian. In April, the Hankes decided to put their story on social media in hopes of finding a birth mother who is considering couples for adoption.
“We have waited so long to be parents, and we will love this child more than anything,” the post says. “We have so much love to give, we just need a child to give it to!”
The journey came with several bumps along the way. They tried an international adoption, but it didn’t work out. They looked into foster care. Several more messages from the Facebook users – more than a dozen at least – brought more dead end results.
And the baby boy who was to come in September. The Hankes had been in contact with the birth family since May, talking daily. Plans were made, and a bag was packed, only for things to change at the last minute.
“It definitely took a strain on our relationship and our marriage,” Chelsey Hanke said. “There were times that we weren’t sure we could go on.”
Rylan Is Here
On the afternoon of August 21, Chelsey received the phone call that would change everything.
“The caller said the baby girl was born at 7:44 a.m.,” she said. “And at 1 p.m. we got the call that she is here and she is ours. Come get her. It was like is this real or are we going to get our hearts broken again.”
Chelsey Hanke said she and Tim grabbed a bag, unsure of what they would need or if the girl was really going to be theirs. But this time it worked out. The mother had seen their story on social media and wanted to give her to them.
Their daughter’s name – Rylan Jane – honors loved ones who are dear to both Tim and Chelsey. A cousin named Ryan, and Chelsey’s grandmother and Tim’s aunt were both named Jane.
Stephanie Cotta, an award-winning newborn and family photographer based in St. Louis Mo., said she first met Chelsey Hanke at a lecture. She followed the Hanke’s story and offered to help create a newborn shoot for the new bundle of joy.
One of the shots that Cotta wanted to get was one that helped portray the adoption process. Chelsey said she had to fill out a lot of paperwork.
“It is such an incredible story, and Chelsey and Tim are such great people,” Cotta said. “I am just so happy for them.”
Chelsey Hanke said they have adjusted well. Rylan will celebrate her first month milestone on Saturday.
“It’s been an emotional rollercoaster,” she said. “She was worth it, every moment to have her here now.”
The Hankes said they were surprised by the response they received from people who followed their story on social media.
“I’ve had people come up to me in Walmart parking lot telling me that they’ve seen our story on Facebook,” Tim Hanke said.
Both Tim and Chelsey Hanke said they thank everyone who has followed them and supported them throughout their journey. Chelsey added that they plan to continue to post updates on the page as they begin their new chapter.
And for those who are considering adoption or are going through something similar to become parents, Chelsey said the best advice for would-be parents is to persevere.
“It’ll happen when it’s supposed to,” she said. “Your baby is out there.”