EDITOR’S NOTE: Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, on the Southern Baptist Convention calendar Jan. 18, commemorates 42 years of legal abortion in the United States.

DUMAS, Ark. (BP) — Those who know Haylee Kirtley would probably describe her as a talkative, sweet 6-year-old with a big heart. She is good at school, enjoys playing soccer and, like so many girls her age, loves Elsa from the movie “Frozen.”

And to her parents, she is a gift from God — a gift for whom they waited a long time.

Jada and Allen Kirtley, members of First Baptist Church, Dumas, Ark., tried to have children for a decade before Jada Kirtley underwent a medically necessary procedure that made it impossible for her to bear children.

It might have seemed like the end of a dream for the couple. But Jada Kirtley, who serves as assistant director for First Baptist Church’s day care center, knew God could make her a mother if it was His will.

“We’d been praying for a child before this, and so I finally just said, ‘Well, God, it’s in Your hands like it always has been,'” Jada Kirtley recalled. “And I said, ‘If I’m meant to be a mother, You will make it happen in Your own timing.”

A couple of months after her medical procedure, Jada Kirtley’s cousin told her of a woman who was pregnant and planned to place her child for adoption. The Kirtleys met with the family; then they waited to hear if they would be chosen as the adoptive parents.

Allen Kirtley said his wife was nervous that they would not be chosen.

“So she and I got in the floor in our living room, held hands and I prayed for our God to give us (this) baby and let us be this baby’s mom and dad,” Allen Kirtley said. “I can tell you that when we got up, God told me she was ours and I would not believe anything else but what God had told me.”

A few days later, they received the news that they had been chosen as the adoptive parents, and a few weeks after that, Haylee was born.

“I was in the delivery room when she was born,” Jada Kirtley said. “And so I got to hold her first…. The nurse put a warm blanket over me and placed her in my arms and said, ‘Here.’ And so I carried her out of the operating room to the nursery.”

Allen Kirtley recalled looking at her in the hospital.

“I can tell you right then and there I knew how much God loves me because that one instant I was in love with that little girl more than anything and to think God loves me more than I could love anything,” he said.

Jada Kirtley said the adoption of Haylee brought her story full circle.

Jada Kirtley, herself, was adopted. In fact, it was her aunt — the mother of the cousin who helped the Kirtleys find Haylee — who helped Jada Kirtley’s own parents adopt her.

“Adoption to me is the most wonderful thing in the world … because these ladies could have chosen abortion over adoption, and you know there are so many … women who can’t have children of their own,” Jada said. “And that whole adoption process was just wonderful.”

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  • Jessica Vanderpool/Arkansas Baptist News