meet the team
Carrie Murray Nellis
Executive Director and Caseworker Supervisor
My Mother tells a story about me at the ripe age of 7. She found me pacing up and down the driveway with my suitcase full of necessities (i.e. dolls, toys, etc) in hand. A family friend happened to be out for a run and stopped me thinking I was planning to run away. He asked: “Carrie, what are you doing?” With the innocence of a 7 year old I simply answered “Mr. Stan don’t you know Jesus is coming? Are you ready?”
And with that I seem to have never stopped asking the same question to all who would listen. As I grew older I realized simply loving people was more effective than words – but when God opened the doors the question remained the same – Are you Ready?
I graduated from Wheaton College with degrees I would never use, but my time at Wheaton furthered my passion for others and a thirst to discover how my talents & passions fit into the body of christ.
My sweet husband, Gil, and I married fresh out of college. Only three months into our marriage when literally I woke him up in the middle of the night to say “God is calling me to go to Law School.” His response was as surprising as my impromptu announcement – He said “me too.” And with that we quit our jobs and went to Mercer University School of Law together. Throughout our time at Mercer I admit I was jealous of Gil. He was focused. He knew his calling was towards Tax law and Estate Planning. For three years I continually asked God “Are you sure I heard you right?” “Why am I here?” His steady voice continued to say “Just wait.”
After Graduation, I worked for a small general practice law firm in Savannah, Georgia. I was blessed with great partners who genuinely loved me, but I was lost – still not knowing why God had called me to practice law.
Within my first year of practice, I had my first Adoption case and a fire inside me started burning. Shortly afterwards The Murray Nellis Law Group was born. I quickly became involved in Juvenile Court cases and saw an opportunity to serve my clients by not only fighting for them inside the courtroom, but by loving them outside the courtroom walls as well. But as many do, I became disillusioned with the Juvenile System that so many times it fails our children and Birthparents. The Lord showed me that through Open Adoption children would have an opportunity for a stable safe upbringing and Birthparents would have the opportunity to reclaim their dignity and know what it means to be truly loved.
And so one thing lead to another – years have gone by and the Lord allowed my law practice to become exclusively centered around Adoption Law.
For years I have had the opportunity to work alongside Vicki, but in 2016, the Lord called us to start Abiding Love Adoption Agency. It is our passion to serve Birthparents and to serve them well by loving them FIRST! I consider it an honor that God chose me to love on such special women and men during one of the most difficult times of their lives.
St. Simons, Georgia
Birth Mother Advocate
Most little girls grow up dreaming about the man she will marry and the family she will have. I was one of those little girls. I grew up in a small farm community in Georgia where most people were married and/or had children young. Well, that was not my story….
After passing “the age of marriage,” I believed I was going to be single and would adopt my first child by the age of 30. Then I met my husband, Nestor, of 17 years. He was a widower with 2 children. Which when I dreamed of my husband as a little girl, that detail was not in it. But it was the beginning of an amazing journey for me when I learned to become 2nd and trust God in the details.
After getting married, I thought Nestor and I would add more children to our family, but that did not happen, at least not in the “dream” sense. We tried fertility treatment off and on for 11 years. I have never had the pleasure of saying “I’m pregnant” because God had a different plan: Open Adoption.
We adopted our first son in 2002 and again, not the way I had “dreamed” it. We were chosen to adopt a 25-week-old preemie with page after page of issues, who teaches us how to love purely. Seven years later—again, not my “dream” timeline—we adopted our second son, who teaches us we cannot follow the parenting rule book, just the Holy Spirit! Three years later, we adopted our daughter, again, not my “dream” scenario, yet Jesus knew she was the one to teach us joy during trials! Therefore, I have my perfect family—just as I dreamed—by letting go of the details and saying yes to being 2nd.
Lots of people believe being 2nd is a bad thing. I learned being 2nd is a place to be cherished. I am the 2nd mama; I did not carry my children or bring them into the world. Their birth parents do not get to be a part of their child’s day-to-day living and can feel 2nd. But working together in Open Adoption, each parent giving something unique and what the other cannot give, makes us both #1 in our child’s life and eyes, all because two sets of parents agreed to place our child 1st.
We all, at some point, deal with a broken “dream,” whether it is infertility or an unplanned pregnancy. We then must choose how we will respond. Being 2nd does not come without heartache for birth parents and adoptive parents, but being 2nd together, through Open Adoption, works out to being 1st to a beautiful baby.
Abiding Love strives to help, to the best of our ability, birth parents realize they are GREAT parents, and walk them through one of the toughest, most heart-wrenching decisions of their lives. When creating Abiding Love, Carrie and I set in motion an environment where our team goes-all-out to protect YOUR rights, YOUR desires, and YOUR adoption plan. We will be there to help you for as long as you need us as we grow into ONE BIG FAMILY.
Serving as a Birth Parent Advocate for the past seven years, I am present to help you every step of the way, including bringing your favorite comfort food or sharing mine: a cold Reese’s cup and cold glass of milk. I look forward to hearing from you.
Direct Line: 912.660.8227
Administrative Director and Public Relations
I live in Roswell, Ga with my husband Kevin and my two children Parker and Kaitlyn, our dogs Beau and Bailey and rabbit Munson. I am also honored to be Step-Mother to Ethan, Emma and Elijah Standard of Homewood, AL. Kevin and I keep very busy with 2 boys in college, 2 daughters in high school and one son in middle school. We attend North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Ga and are very involved in our small group, mentoring young adults together at Amana Academy and I am honored to be completing my certification as a Cobb County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer.
Several years ago I felt called to do something extraordinary, something more with my life. In praying and talking with my husband, I realized that two of the most important things to me was to follow God and be an example to my children of how when God speaks you need to listen. I joined Abiding Love Adoption Agency April 1, 2017 in order to follow God’s will and be a small part of how God is changing lives. As the head of Public Relations my role is to work directly with Hospitals, Counseling Centers and in At Risk Communities to educate and raise awareness for Open Adoption, and to further Abiding Love’s commitment to both Birth Parents and Adoptive Families. I am honored to walk beside the founders Carrie Murray Nellis and Vicki Colls as well as the courageous Mothers and Fathers that love and give unconditionally. Amazing Grace, Unending Love!