For parents, there’s no greater anxiety than a child’s happiness and well-being. As much as moms and dads want to give their kids everything, they know that life has a way of taking carefully crafted plans and tossing them out the window.

One Utah couple waited on the edge of their seats for a piece of news that would either solidify their child’s happiness or break it apart forever. And once the ultimate decision came in, a nearby camera caught the unforgettable emotional aftermath…

Jeff and Jen Fisher had an important decision to make. The South Jordan, Utah, couple weighed the positives and negatives of an action that would not only change their family forever, but would quite likely make a world of change for someone in need, too.

Facebook / Jeff Fisher

Jeff and Jen already had two children of their own, Aiden and Macy. Yet by 2015, they were considering expanding their family, but any plans about having a third child proved unproductive. Why not, they thought, explore options in the foster system?

Facebook / Jen Fisher

A representative for the foster system told Jeff and Jen about Tannah Butterfield. This girl wanted nothing more than a family of her own. Sadly, she had no home or parents, no place really to call her own. But Jeff and Jen didn’t invite Tannah to stay with them…

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They brought Tannah AND her two younger siblings into their home. Later that year, Tannah, Teagun, and Tallie stepped into the Fisher household for the first time. The new arrivals blended in seamlessly with Aiden and Macy, almost as if they’d been family all along. 

Facebook / Jen Fisher

Tannah flourished in her fresh surroundings. She attended middle school at American Heritage of South Jordan, where she became fast friends with her classmates and endeared herself to faculty and staff.

YouTube / Inside Edition

Tannah’s closest confidante at school was Jackie Alexander, the school’s office manager. She stopped by Ms. Jackie’s desk each day to talk about her day. All in all, South Jordan had everything Tannah needed — except there was no guarantee she would stay there.

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But nevertheless, her courage was admirable. Too many children find themselves in the same predicament and, unable to find a permanent living situation, float around the foster system for years. Sometimes, they hang in foster system limbo until they reach adulthood.

After two years, Jen and Jeff sought to adopt their foster kids, but it wasn’t so easy. On top of the hefty legal fees, the court moved at a snail’s pace. Would they be able to obtain guardianship over Tannah and her siblings before the foster system whisked them away?

The Fisher family hoped so. They waited patiently for their requests to be processed and kept up a brave face for the kids. It was important for their well-being to have some sense of stability amid their precarious situation.

YouTube / Inside Edition

By this point, Jen and Jeff treated Tannah, Teagun, and Tallie as their own children, just like Aiden and Macy. It would be unjust for everyone if they had to part ways. But would the courts agree?

YouTube / Inside Edition

One morning in October of 2017, the fateful news arrived: the judge had announced his ruling. Tannah Butterfield and her siblings were now official members of the Fisher family! 

Jen and Jeff were overjoyed. Because it was a school day, they were the only ones in the family who heard the good news. Of course, this type of message couldn’t wait, so Jen reached out to Tannah’s closest friend at school.

Facebook / Jen Fisher

Ms. Jackie called Tannah into her office that afternoon without explanation. She knelt down and told her that her adoption papers had gone through. Tannah leaped up and wrapped Ms. Jackie in a big hug!

ABC

The moment of joy was captured by the school’s closed-circuit television cameras. Jackie noticed the footage later that day and immediately realized that she couldn’t keep it to herself. 

When asked why she made the video public, Jackie explained that it was “pure testament that in a world full of turmoil and strife, there is still light and joy to be found in little everyday moments.”

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In particular, Jackie was responding to a mass shooting in Las Vegas, which occurred just days earlier. After such a terrible national tragedy, she understood people needed proof there was indeed still good in the world.

NBC News

Jackie shared the clip on Facebook and Instagram, expecting a warm reception from the South Jordan community. Within a few hours, however, she saw very different results. The video had gone viral!

YouTube / Inside Edition

There’s no doubt that the biggest fans of the video were the Fishers themselves. The other children could hardly believe the wonderful news, and they all shared an emotional moment together. They were now, as Tannah called them, “forever family.”

YouTube / Inside Edition

As an added bonus, Tannah got a big moment in the spotlight. News outlets all over the country picked up the viral video, and they picked up her side of the story with an exclusive interview.

Knowing that the Fishers endured years of emotional turmoil and a mountain of legal fees, Jeff’s co-workers set up a crowdfunding account to help out the family. It raised enough to get them back on their feet — plus a little bit more.

The remaining money allowed the Fishers to take a celebratory vacation. Looking back, Tannah was blown away that she ended up with such a perfect family. It was as if all her dreams came true.

Facebook / Jen Fisher

While it is true that most of the time we can’t choose our actual relatives, we often can choose who we want in our lives. When that choice means facing an obstacle, it is time to fight for those we love. Which is exactly what the one young couple just did…

When Mandi and Tyler Palmer decided that they wanted to start a family, they knew it wouldn’t be an easy feat. They both had hurdles to overcome if they truly wanted to be parents. 

You see, when she was just 15, Mandi was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and had part of her stomach and intestines removed. As a result, she has spent a lot of time in the hospital and is often malnourished.

Tyler’s issues are relating to mental health, rather than physical. So far he has completed two tours in Afghanistan as part of the Airborne Division of the U.S. Army. Since then, he has suffered from severe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Nevertheless, the couple fell in love and finally found hope within each other to go on living and fighting. They met after Tyler’s first tour, and stayed together throughout his second. Upon his long-awaited return, he had a surprise in store for his beloved.

A month after he came home from the war, he asked Mandi to marry him. She said yes! without a second of hesitation, and the happy couple moved to Perrysburg, Ohio, to start a new life without the military — and hopefully without more hospital visits.

Eventually though, Mandi was forced to turn to the hospital once again, but this time it wasn’t about her Crohn’s disease: she and Tyler were trying to get pregnant but Mandi was unable to conceive and was unsure whether her weakened body could handle a pregnancy in the first place.

In a column she wrote for Love What Matters, Mandi described, “We were heartbroken and quickly found ourselves seeking other ways to grow our family and become parents. Because of the health battles we’ve been given, we weren’t the type of people to just ‘throw in the towel’ and let our dreams of becoming parents get shattered.”

Desperate to bring another Palmer into the world, the newlyweds looked into other options to broaden their family. Day after day, they saw ads urging people to get trained and become licensed foster parents, and the Palmers were up for it.

As a result, the couple spent the following months filling out forms, completing training, and undergoing inspections to become foster-to-adopt parents. It all felt worth it when, just days after they received their license, Mandi and Tyler received a call about a baby boy named Hunter.

“Talk about a whirlwind of emotions!” Mandi wrote. “We quickly ran to Target and purchased the necessities that we needed to bring our baby home.” Suddenly, it dawned on them: they were taking in a baby but weren’t sure if he would be theirs forever.

After setting eyes on the baby, though, it didn’t take long for Mandi and Tyler to fall into their new mom and dad roles. Wrapped in a blanket, Hunter opened his tiny eyes the moment they walked in the door. “He was eight days old and absolutely perfect,” Mandi described. “We fell in love with him instantly.”

Every day from then on out, the family of three became closer and closer, but the reality of their situation began to worry the loving foster parents. They faced the prospect of losing Hunter to another adoptive family, despite the fact that they loved him like he was their own son. Eventually, they decided to fight for him.

The Palmers hired a lawyer and embarked on a lengthy battle to officially adopt Hunter. When asked why they wanted to keep him in their lives so bad, Mandi responded: “He was more than just our first baby. He was our ‘medicine’ and our reason to fight the health battles that we face. He truly became our ‘why’ in life.”

The court battle was a lengthy one. For 16 months, Mandi and Tyler fought for the right to keep their son, and in December of 2017, just before Christmas, was the final hearing. The judge would decide whether they were fit parents for their little boy.

While Hunter was only 17 months old at the time, he had certainly picked up on the process and seemed to understand everything that was happening around him: his foster parents wanted to become his mommy and daddy forever.

Although the official papers were important to Mandi and Tyler (especially in regards to his future) just one little word from Hunter proved to them that they had always been his parents in his eyes. It may have been a small and quiet uttering, but it meant everything to the people who loved him.

“At the end of the court process, the judge announced Hunter’s new legal name,” Mandi told People magazine. “When they finally read the adoption decree, Hunter turned around, looked at my husband, smiled, clapped his hands, and said, ‘Dad!’”

The small word and a simple gesture were enough to bring the entire courtroom to tears. It was an incredibly emotional moment for the Palmers, but mostly a rewarding one. “It feels so good to look into his eyes now and not have to worry that he is ever going to leave us.”

It was a special moment that Mandi, Tyler, Hunter, and their loved ones will never forget. With the adoption being made official, the family could get on with creating special memories together without the fear of being separated.

The Palmers knew there was a special bond nothing could break. “Our hearts are forever changed because we now know true and genuine love,” Mandi wrote on Love What Matters. “We have learned that family isn’t about DNA. It’s about love!”