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KELLAN for the Jolly-Lee family — DC

Tierra and Rusty first met in 2007, as Teach for America corps members in post-Katrina New Orleans. Though their paths often crossed, they didn’t become friends until 2009, when a chance teacher happy hour commiseration over breakups and homesickness sparked a lasting friendship. Both returned home for graduate school and married other people, but they stayed in touch, always able to ask each other for the kind of advice most folks are too polite to give.

When their first marriages ended, they again turned to each other to commiserate. Emails became text messages, which led to phone calls of increasing frequency. On one of those calls, Tierra suggested that they find a way to spend time together over their spring break off from teaching. Rusty agreed, and drove up to D.C. for Cherry Blossom Festival. Then he came back the next weekend, and the next weekend, then for the summer, then forever.

In 2017, they finally married each other, and soon after welcomed their beautiful daughter Rocket into the world. Born with the perfect button nose and rocking an extra 21st chromosome, Rocket changed their lives. Rusty and Tierra learned everything they could about Down syndrome, early intervention and IEPs, and about the defect in Rocket’s heart. But none of their research prepared them to lose their four month old baby girl to complications following open heart surgery.

Even in heartbreak, Rusty and Tierra knew they wanted to continue growing their family, but couldn’t shake the feeling that their experience with Down syndrome wasn’t – and shouldn’t be – over yet. After discovering Reece’s Rainbow, they began to discuss adoption. Then Tierra saw one of the most perfect little faces she’d ever seen and instantly knew in her heart that this tiny, precious boy was their son. Rusty agreed, and here they are – grateful that you’ve found your way to this page and are willing to help them bring sweet Kellan — soon to be named Max! — home.

8/10/2018 — COURT PASSED!

$12,324.57 has been donated towards the cost of our adoption!

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