In Search Of…Mother’s Day Part Two

Sometimes the road to parenthood is a difficult one.  But for one area couple, their tragic start is about to change.  This week we have the conclusion to our special "In search of" report.

Parent’s aren’t supposed to bury their children. So it seems against the laws of nature that Preston and Tammy
Mensink have buried two. 5-day-old Brandon died in 1997 from a heart malfuntion and in 2001, their daughter Katie was
just nine months when a digestive disorder took her tiny life. “It wasn’t fair, it definetly wasn’t fair. We had
decided right then and there…no more. We’re not going to do this again.”

But as Preston and Tammy were mourning the loss of their children, Tammy’s younger sister Tricia was facing a
problem of a very different kind. Tricia, in college and living at home, found out she was pregnant and her boyfriend
wanted no part of it. “I thought, that’s it, I have to be a single mom and barely making enough to pay for my own
expenses. Here’s my sister and all they want is a healthy baby and here’s me, I have a healthy baby and I can’t care
for him the way he deserved. It just hit me. So I called her that night.”

Gifts come in all shapes and sizes, but none quite like the one they we’re about to get. “My sister called and said
she was pregnant.” Tricia asked Tammy and Preston to adopt her baby. “It wasn’t that I pittied them, it was, this is
what’s best for me and for this baby. I really wanted him to have a mom and a dad and I couldn’t give that to
him.” “At first I didn’t want anything to do with it. It’s just going to be more trouble, more heartache.”

But the more they thought about it, the more they came to see that maybe this was all part of a ‘bigger’ plan. A few
days later, they opened themselves up to being parents again. From that moment on, every doctors appointment, every
birthing class, Tammy was right by Tricia’s side. “She was there for me, helping me and giving me purpose to it
all.”

And on July 1st, 2002, one sister made the others dream come true. Travis Austin, a healthy baby boy was welcomed
with open arms. “I was the first one to hold him.” “I think Travis was meant to be her’s and maybe he just couldn’t
come that way.” “I couldn’t imagine life without him. She has given us the greatest gift and there’s no way I could
ever repay her for what she’s given us.”

Today, Travis, nearly four, knows all about his unique family tree. “From the start we gave Tricia a special name
and she’s his Nana. He knows where’s he from and that he came out of her tummy and that we’re his mom and dad.”

But this incredible story isn’t over just yet. Tammy and Preston actually began discussing having another child,
but in December of 2003, they got quite the surprise. “I took a test and I was like…I guess we’re done discussing
it.”

Jacob Daniel joined the gang on August 31, 2004. And to complete this growing family, Dalton, Preston’s son from
his first marriage came to live with them full time last year.

But while Preston and Tammy’s family life moves forward, so does Tricia’s. Ironically just one month after she gave
birth to Travis, she met Matt. Last August they married and this August, they’re expecting a little wonder of their
own. “He’s a boy.”

This family will never forget the little lives they’ve lost. “I still miss them.” But they live on in the smiles
and laughter of the new joys they so cherish. “For everything that’s happened, I feel incredibly blessed that I do
still have such a wonderful family.”

Thanks to unexpected blessings and the love of two sisters, not one, but two families have been born.