When a local couple experienced infertility, they realized the best way to grow their family was by adopting one of the many children in Arkansas who are looking for their forever homes.
What the couple ended up with was a pair of young siblings who have enriched their lives.
Bryant Police Officer Nick Ramsey and his wife, Crystal, a receptionist for a Little Rock doctor's office, had been trying to have children for many years. Nick already had a biological child from his first marriage and had adopted his first wife's son.
After spending thousands of dollars on fertility treatments, the couple said they could have adopted a baby for what those treatments cost.
That is when their church started talking about The Call, an organization that recruits, trains and supports foster and adoptive families.
"We prayed about it," Crystal said.
They attended one of The Call of Saline and Perry Counties' information meetings to learn more. The Call specifically works with older children and sibling groups.
The Ramseys had looked at going through a private agency to adopt a newborn, but decided to work with The Call. They went through The Call's training for foster and adoptive families.
They then connected with Project Zero, an organization that works to connect families seeking to adopt with children looking for their forever families. The organization works with the Department of Human Services. It has a gallery of photos of children, known as the Heart Gallery, at www.theprojectzero.org and a traveling wall of the photos.
The Ramseys began looking at the gallery and attended a Christmas event that was held to give children and potential parents a chance to meet.
Nick said there were many children and many couples. He admitted it was strange and a little bit uncomfortable. He joked it felt like shopping for a child.
Nick's regret was that he couldn't adopt them all.
There was a little boy and a little girl who had several couples around them. Their contact at Project Zero told them she'd like the couple to meet these children. The Ramseys talked to them briefly and decided to put in an inquiry with their case worker.
Nick explained all the families interested in a child have to put in an inquiry and the case worker looks at the family biographies and picks the family that is the best fit.
The Ramseys were chosen.
At the time, the little boy was 3 and the girl was 6. The Ramseys started taking six-hour round trips to visit the children after meeting them in December of 2017. The plan was for them to move in with them in May or June.
Due to an emergency, the Ramseys had to take them in April. Nick called it a drastic change. They had to be enrolled in school. The family could not tell anyone they had the children. They couldn't even share pictures.
The children had to be in their home for six months before the family could officially adopt them.
The adoption was finalized Oct. 16, 2018, and the brother and sister were officially theirs.
Both of the Ramseys said their experience working with The Call and Project Zero was great.
Crystal described the moment as surreal. She said she had her children.
Growing up, she had always thought after she had biological children, she would like to adopt one day. She believes that was God preparing her to adopt one day by putting on her heart when she was young.
Nick said having the children was new and exciting, but there were challenges. There were issues they had to work through. Crystal pointed out all children have challenges.
They had a supportive family. Their family was just as excited as if they had been newborns coming home from the hospital.
For Nick, his other children are older. One is an adult and the other is in junior high school. He said it was an adjustment going back to getting up early.
They agreed the process tested their faith in God and their marriage.
Crystal said for her infertility was frustrating and encouraging. She called it a hard process, but she said God had a plan. She just needed to learn to accept it.
The Ramsey's are thankful for the adoption that brought them their children.
They encourage families who want to adopt to be patient and persevere. In the end, the pair believe it is worth it to see the children's smiles.