"WE DIDN'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THE MOM ... WE LEFT IT TO GOD."Leigh and TJ, of Milledgeville, Georgia, were high school sweethearts who got swept into the real world at an early age.
They married after graduating high school and went into the workforce - Leigh in law enforcement and TJ in the maintenance field.
Once they decided to start a family, everything was an uphill battle.
Through each pregnancy, Leigh would make it to about the halfway point before losing the baby.
“Then we were led to adoption,” she says. “We stayed on the waiting list for about a year, and then we got a call that a baby was left at a local hospital. We visited and fell in love with her before we even got there.”
Leigh and TJ were told that the baby girl had tested positive for drugs.
“We didn’t know anything about the mom,” she says. “We didn’t have much to go on … The hospital said everything could be OK, but we didn’t even think about that. It wasn’t even a decision. We left it to God.”
They named her Hope because they always hoped for a baby.
“She came home, we adopted her,” Leigh says, “and we were a family.”
At first, things seemed to be OK, as Hope was hitting milestones and developing on target. Because she was always sick with respiratory infections, it made sense for Leigh to quit her jobs and stay home to raise her daughter.
As time went on, it was apparent that something wasn’t right.
Hope was eventually diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome, horrible dyslexia, attention deficit disorder and severe memory issues.
But none of it deterred Leigh and TJ from working to provide her with the best life possible.
They were thankful and felt incredibly blessed to be Hope’s parents.