Some of us plan out every detail of our lives. From what we’re going to wear the next day to our career aspirations, each item is planned. But more often than not, refusing to be flexible about your life plans can lead to dark places—just ask one man from Arkansas.

As a youth, a vision of what he believed was the perfect future struck him while he roamed his family’s rural property. While trying to make his vision a reality, however, he chipped away at another important piece of his life, forcing him to do something he once adamantly opposed…

Walt Manis, below, grew up on his parents’ 100-acre property in Arkansas. As a kid, he preferred trees to television, opting to wander the massive property every chance he had. It was there at age 12 he had a vision of the future.

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“God gives me a very vivid picture of a little kid,” Walt said. He saw himself swinging a little girl playfully by the arms in his parents’ yard as she laughed. She had “dark skin and dark eyes.” She was going to be his daughter. Her name, he knew, would be Chloe.

The first step in making his God-granted vision complete? Find love. Find a mother. That happened quickly. The neighbor girl across the street, after all, harbored a long-standing crush on the “amazing” Walt Manis. Her name was Annie, below.

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One night, years after Walt’s vision, a college-aged Annie and he were discussing their futures. She told him God made her to be a mother, and, believe it or not, she told Walt she already had a name picked out for her future daughter. Any guesses?

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Chloe. Walt was stunned, and though he knew she could never birth the brown-eyed, olive-skinned baby from his vision, he committed himself to Annie. They married, dreaming of parenthood. Dreaming of Chloe.

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After a few years doing humanitarian work with various missions across the world, Annie and Walt finally settled down, determined to start their family. For four years, the couple tried to have a baby. For four years, they failed. Walt grew impatient.

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“I had always clung to this promise that God had given me about the daughter,” Walt said. “I didn’t know when it was going to happen, but it was starting to get hard to wait.” Annie dealt with struggles of her own.

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“It was really hard,” she said. “I struggled with questioning God’s goodness at that time because I just felt like it was so mean.” So desperate for their visions of the perfect future to come true, the couple seemingly meant for each other started to fight endlessly.

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Their failure sat like a barbed-wire fence between them, impossible to face without pain. Their marriage and relationship suffered with each passing failure, and Walt’s unshakeable faith in God withered, too. Was his vision a lie?

Every time a friend or acquaintance announced a pregnancy, Walt and Annie felt like they’d been slapped in the face. “We’re just fools,” Walt thought. “We’re just fools who want kids and it’s never going to happen.” The once-happy couple was officially miserable.

Through it all, though, their desire to be parents only grew stronger, and after more failures, Annie suggested the couple adopt a baby. Walt vehemently opposed the idea. Nope. It would not happen. Ever.

My Family’s By Adoption / Instagram

“I had this thought,” Walt explained, “I don’t want, I called it a ‘Band-Aide Baby.’ We are struggling. We are hurting. I didn’t want just a fix. I didn’t want just some kid. I wanted the kid that we were supposed to have.” But eventually, he warmed up to the idea.

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Walt finally settled on the notion that he would have the child God wanted him to have—biological or not. So Annie filled out mountains of paperwork, and eventually, the couple was in the system, waiting for someone to choose them.

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One night, Annie received an email from the adoption agency headed IT’S A GIRL. A birth mother chose Walt and Annie to be the parents of her yet-to-be-born daughter! They would be parents. A family—with one caveát.

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Walt and Annie abandoned the name Chloe, even discussing a few other names. That name, it seemed, was for the child in Walt’s vision—the future he had foreseen and planned for. Things changed, and so did the name. Soon, the couple received more news.

The birth mother wanted to meet them. A road trip to Wichita, Kansas, landed Walt and Annie on Allison’s doorstep, the mother of their soon-to-be-child. They knocked on her front door. She opened. Walt inwardly gasped.

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Allison “looked like a grown up version of this little girl in my head,” Walt said. She looked like Chloe. With a new sense of hope stirring within him, Walt—alongside Annie—talked with Allison for three hours. Then, they started talking names.

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“Ever since I got pregnant,” Allison told the couple, “even before I knew it was a girl,” she’d come up with a name for the child. She didn’t know if Walt and Annie would like the name, so she was nervous to tell them. 

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Before she knew Walt and Annie existed, she called the baby Chloe. “We were just floored,” Walt said, thinking of the girl in his vision. Annie added, “I don’t even remember what we did exactly, I just know that I was ugly crying.” Walt felt shivers.

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“This is so much a God thing, Walt said tearfully in a video, below, meant for an older Chloe. “We love you,” he continued. “We look forward to seeing you.” He and Annie didn’t have to wait long.

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February 17, 2010, Annie and Walt went to the hospital to watch their child be born. In what felt like seconds, doctors and nurses bustled about, and then, “Chloe was there.”

Annie Schulte Manis / Facebook

This baby, who had been the driving factor of Walt’s life for decades, finally rested in his arms. After all that pain, all that suffering, his vision—his only desire—blossomed into reality. “There was no mistake,” he said, gleefully. “I am the father of this child.”

Annie Schulte Manis / Facebook

Walt and Annie created what seemed like a step-by-step guide to their perfect future. When their efforts failed, their future looked bleak. It was only once they relented the way they thought things had to be that they got what they wanted. And now?

Walt and Annie have their Chloe, and now, another little girl, too—Naomi. After their long spiritual and adoption journey, the two finally found their family, their future, and peace.

Choose Joy

Many parents, like Walt and Anne, look to adopt or foster when they can’t have a child on their own. Still, it’s always a gamble. When another woman in her early 30s looked into fostering, she knew it wouldn’t be easy. But she had no idea just what she was up against…

When Katie Page was in her 20s, she dreamed of the perfect life: a husband, some kids, a white-picket fence, and a dog named Spot. Everything seemed to be precisely on track, but life doesn’t always turn out the way we hope.

In her early 30s, Katie’s marriage became rocky and that eventually led to a divorce, leaving Katie devastated and in need of a new start. All she had ever wanted was to have a family, but it felt like her dream was quickly slipping away.

Not only was she now without a husband and potential father, but she had already been struggling with infertility issues. The thought that she may never be a mother broke her heart all over again.

Katie Page/Facebook

Despite all of her pain, she remained strong — after all, she had to go on and make herself happy. She got a new job and used the money to buy a new house, but it didn’t fix all her problems.

Katie Page/Facebook

No matter how hard she tried to stay positive, Katie was still feeling down and had the sense that there was something missing. She loved her job, but she didn’t love coming home to an empty house after work.

Overcome by sadness, Katie eventually turned to the church, seeking answers. She ended up finding them with a local pastor who gave her the advice that changed her life.

“Why don’t you try fostering a child?” he asked. He had heard many stories of the foster care system and the nearby agencies that helped parents find a child, and vice versa. Katie loved this idea.

Katie Page/Facebook

She immediately headed to the nearest adoption agency, where she attended meetings. “What I heard about foster care gave me chills, but it also pulled at my heart in a way that I couldn’t stop thinking about it,” Katie wrote in a blog post.

Pretty soon she was ready to foster a child, and then another one, and then two more. Fostering did fill the void in her life somewhat, but Katie wanted more: a child to call her own. That’s when she decided to take the next step and adopt one of the children.

Katie Page/The Daily Mail

In 2016, Katie received a phone call about a four-day-old baby boy who was dropped off at a local hospital. The caseworker said the child was likely a foster-to-adopt situation, so Katie was completely over the moon.

Katie Page/Facebook

Not much later, she was driving to the hospital, ready to pick up the child and bring him home with her. Over the next couple months, she would try to find his birth parents in order to make this baby officially hers.

Katie Page/The Daily Mail

Months went by and Katie and her son, Grayson, grew closer than she could have ever imagined. He became officially hers a year later, although it saddened Katie that his birth parents remained silent.

Katie Page/Facebook

Less than two weeks later, Katie received another call from a caseworker about a baby girl who was dropped off at the same hospital as Grayson. “I was overwhelmed at the thought. Yet the feeling also told me to keep listening and to consider this placement.”

Katie Page/The Daily Mail
Suddenly, Katie wasn’t just a single mother of one, but of two! In a nostalgic moment, she dug up Grayson’s hospital bracelet and noticed something peculiar written on it, something she couldn’t shake.

She compared the bracelet to the girl’s and realized their mothers had the same first name… and the same date of birth. There was no way that this could be a coincidence — were her children biological siblings?

Katie Page/The Daily Mail

“To give some context, Grayson is half African American with beautiful darker skin and dark curly hair,” Katie wrote on her blog. “Hannah has a pale white skin tone with straight red-blonde hair.”

Katie Page/The Daily Mail

Unable to let it go, Katie insisted on finding the birth mother this time around. When she finally did, the woman admitted to having a biracial boy first, and a girl from a different father — meaning Grayson and Hannah were definitely half-siblings!

“What if Hannah had gone to another family?” Katie wrote. “We would have never found her or Grayson’s mother. The connection would have never been made! I could not believe the miracle that had just happened.”

Katie Page/Facebook

In December of 2018, Hannah officially joined Katie and Grayson’s family, and they couldn’t be happier. In fact, it seemed like their family wasn’t finished growing just quite yet…

Katie Page/The Daily Mail

Hannah and Grayson’s birth mother was pregnant with another child when Katie met her, and she gave birth to him not long after Hannah’s official adoption.

“We are fostering the young boy with great hopes to adopt in 2019,” Katie wrote. We can’t tell who is luckier: the three adopted children or the mother who gets to love them. 

Katie Page/The Daily Mail