RANDOLPH COUNTY, N.C. — Christmas morning many will wake up to gifts under the tree, but sometimes the great gifts can't be wrapped up tied with a bow.
A Randolph County family knows that all too well.
"We feel like with God nothing is wasted," Brooke Niemitalo said.
Life is often a series of hills and valleys.
"It's this place where beauty and heartbreak can live really closely together you know," Brooke said.
Brooke and Isaac Niemitalo's life started together seven years ago over a cup of coffee. After a few years of marriage, they decided to start a family.
Their journey to parenthood would be much different than many. They started the adoption process as Brooke has known since she was little that she wouldn't be able to have kids.
"He was on board with adoption right away and we've just known ever since," Brooke said.
After posting their story in May 2020, they found a match.
"We took a baby girl home for a couple days and then mom decided to parent which is totally her right, and they are happy and thriving. We're grateful for that. We get to see that she's doing well and they're all happy, but it was hard," Brooke said.
"It was hard," Isaac said.
A few months later, another match and another mom who chose to keep her baby.
Then life changed in an instant.
"We prayed a very specific prayer that like God, it's in your hands. We don't know where to go from here. We've tried and tried all these different options and routes and we're finally like it's in your hands," Isaac said.
"It was basically, we give up," Brooke said.
That July night the Niemitalo's got an email about another match. This time it was a match made in Heaven.
Their son, Everest, was born exactly two months later.
"He's the best Christmas gift we've ever had. Best Christmas gift ever," Brooke and Isaac said.
This Christmas full of more than gifts, but giggles and joy.
Their life journey can be a reminder that sometimes you have to get through the valleys to have an 'Everest' experience, the true peak of happiness.
"Christmas is a joyful season, but sometimes it can be really hard. Better days and better Christmases are to come," Brooke said.