Today is National Adoption Day. Gather round for a happy story in this crazy world of ours.

It starts in early 2015. My then-family of three had just started the adoption process, something that can often take a year or more of paperwork, home studies, social workers, lawyers, and patience. But somehow, someone put us on the fast track.

“Call me when you get this and you better be sitting down,” my wife texted one morning. A baby had been born in Phoenix and the adoption people wondered, would you be interested? This is the photo they gave us. baby boy!

It’s an indescribable feeling when a birth mom says to you: here is my baby, will you raise him? You’re mostly a stranger and she’s trusting you with something priceless. You’re trusting the universe, too. It’s exciting and terrifying at once.

We decided to take a leap of faith. And in a matter of days we went from zero to lightspeed – booking flights & hotels, setting up all the baby stuff we’d put in the closet, and the hardest part – thinking of a name!

My wife flew to Phoenix to get the baby. Our oldest kid and I stayed in NH to get the house ready. Friends stepped up, especially our friends Max and Clay, who shared all their wisdom about how to get to Arizona and back with a newborn (pro tip: don’t bring your new baby stuff with you. Buy it there and save yourself a lot of hassle at the airport). We couldn’t have done this without them!

Family members wired money when we needed to pay fees on short notice. Coworkers dropped off food. Our bosses never once complained that we were all of a sudden taking weeks off work for an adoption they didn’t even know we were doing. The logistics we worried about all fell into place. Our adoption lawyer coordinated the whole process via cellphone while on vacation thousands of miles away. Everything started clicking.

My wife got a knock on the door of her hotel room in Phoenix. The caregivers said, essentially, “here’s your baby,” and we were a family of four. This is what he looked like in mama’s arms for the first time.

Little tiny baby boy!

Four days later they flew from Arizona (80 degrees & sunny) to home in New Hampshire (4 degrees below zero!) Our oldest was a perfect big brother from the first moment he saw the baby.

The Carlson brothers together

All of what I’ve just described was a whirlwind – but the biggest surprise was still to come. Soon we learned that sometimes when you adopt – surprise! – you get pregnant, too. Little brother became a big brother ten months to the day after he was born. He loved being a big brother as much as he loved being a little brother.

Baby bro with his baby sis!

Fast forward to now: our little man is almost three and is thriving. We send pictures and letters to his birth mom every few months. She knows what a happy life he’s leading and how crazy we are about him.

Almost three year old in his farmer Halloween costume

A few people – fewer over time, fortunately – stumble over adoption language. For example they call bio kids “real kids.” Believe me, when you’re up in the middle of the night with a sick kid it’s real, no matter where he or she came from!

The reality is that some people just go together perfectly. For example, the rule in my family is, as long as you’re funny, you’re in. My little man met that goal as a baby, when he put the book “What’s On My Head?” on his head, tongue firmly in cheek.

Baby boy puts "What's On My Head?" on his head

Most people see our three for what they are – perfectly matched siblings. Each is an individual but each is also a proud part of the group. They have their own inside jokes and games and make each other laugh like nobody else can.

The Carlson Kids play Ring Around the Rosie

Nothing is for everyone, of course, but if you ever thought adoption might be an option for your family, do yourself a favor and look into it! As a friend of my mother’s put it, we never know when a miracle is just ahead of us.

Happy National Adoption Day!

Middle kid smiles at the camera

(This piece is adapted from a Twitter thread I did)