Abiding Love Adoptions was created by two passionate women who wanted to make the Birth Mother the center of the Adoption Process. Our Open Adoption Agency does not follow the traditional “Adoption Agency” model. Unlike other Adoption Agencies, we only work with the Birth Mother and or Birth Parents. When creating an adoption plan, we do not work with or represent the interests of the Adoptive Family. This allows us to love and protect our clients as they navigate the adoption process.
Abiding Love Adoptions specializes in Infant Adoption. We are located and licensed in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Our mission is to love and support the Birth Mother throughout the Open Adoption Process.
meet our team
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.
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 20 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 over 10 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.
There’s a line in a song that goes like this, “You make your plans, and you hear God laughing…” This basically sums up my life and relationship with the Lord. It’s been and intricate dance of me trying to take control and God saying, “ Wait, my daughter, and see what I have for you.”
God revealed to me pretty early on that traditional measures of success were not going to provide me with a sense of purpose. I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to choose a profession based on how much money I would make, or how quickly I could climb the corporate ladder. So, I went to college, majored in Math, and decided to become a Math teacher. This turned out to be one of the many times that God said “No.” and sent me in a different direction. Social Work as a profession wasn’t even on my radar when I went to college, and God lead me down a path that ended in me not only getting one degree in Social Work, but two. Since graduating with degrees from the University of Georgia and the University of Alabama, I have worked with women and children in different settings in the social work field.
My husband Josh and I got married in 2013 after having known each other for 10 years. Most of which, I spent trying to convince myself that he was just my friend. Again, God told me “No.” and here we are, happily married nearly 5 years later.
I can always remember thinking about adoption. I didn’t grow up knowing many kids who were adopted, and didn’t have anyone in my close family that had been adopted, but there has always been something in me that has believed whole-heartedly that love doesn’t require a biological connection.
After my husband and I were married, we thought we would have biological children first and then adopt. Again, God said “No.” and dropped the most beautiful sibling group of 5 into our lives. We are now the proudest parents of 5 children and so thankful to be connected to a whole new family. We maintain strong relationships with our children’s biological family, and we have been amazed to see how God brings families together in the most beautiful ways.
Throughout my life, God has continually taught me that He knows best. In the same way I can sometimes get frustrated with my children for thinking they know better when they can’t see the whole picture, I know God has spent much of my life feeling the same about me. I have learned that if we trust God with the big picture, He works it together more beautifully than we could have ever imagined.
In every area of social work that I have worked in, I have been very passionate about Birth Parent relationships. I am so happy to join Abiding Love as a Birth Parent Advocate. I feel privileged to get to walk beside Birth Parents as they make brave decisions in difficult times.
I am a self proclaimed imperfect person, a daughter of the King who relies on His grace every day. I grew up in a small town in Texas where I met my husband, Eli. We later moved to Huntsville, Alabama and have made it our home for over 20 years. I graduated college with a degree in Psychology and I am also a certified trauma specialist. I am a passionate advocate for all people and I have a big heart for adoption, children with special needs and walking with people on difficult journeys.
God gave me three biological children – in four years! Life was crazy and busy but one of my babies was not healthy. She passed away in 2005. Her name is Emma and she left us when she was three. Her life has been the catalyst for a life dedicated to sharing hope with others. I believe God is good even in pain, He has taught me much through my daughter’s life. He is with us in our pain, because he knows our pain. His grace, mercy and hope are what I cling to.
God continually surprises me and in 2011 He led my husband and I to our youngest child through adoption. We didn’t think we would have any more children after our daughter passed away but God blessed us tremendously through adoption. We adopted our little girl from Nikolaev, Ukraine and I have seen a glimpse of God’s heart because of our adoption journey. But I know also know adoption is born of pain and have always loved and supported my daughter’s biological family, for their decisions and their courage. My youngest daughter is a spunky little thing who continually surprises us and has blessed our life. People always say, “she’s so lucky” but no…WE are! Our three children are now much older and life is still very busy!
My dedication to expectant and birth moms comes directly from the love and respect I have for my daughter’s birth mom. She was incredibly brave and I am forever grateful to her for giving life to her daughter and for giving her child a chance to be adopted in the middle of seemingly impossible circumstances.
I am very honored to walk with expectant and birth moms. I am here to listen to you, share chocolate, tears, laughs, help you, and most of all, encourage you. Once long ago, a friend told me she would carry my “bucket” – this was after my daughter passed away – her bucket wasn’t a real bucket but a pretend bucket – for my tears and thoughts. I accepted her offer and she was the shoulder I leaned on – she carried that bucket for many months.
I want to be the “bucket” for the ladies I’m blessed to walk with along the journey of pregnancy. I’m a transparent person with a love of weird 80’s music, nachos (with jalapeños), and a slight obsession to the Amish way of life, but most importantly – I will do everything I can to encourage and advocate for you along the way. I am so excited to be working with Abiding Love Adoptions! It has been a long time hope of mine to work with an adoption agency and I am beyond humbled to be working with Abiding Love. To Expectant and Birth moms, I truly can’t wait to meet you and get to know you.
I’m an Augusta native, born and raised. My heart will forever be in the Garden City that dotes on golf, pimento cheese sandwiches, and Magnolia Lane. My husband and I met while attending Augusta University. Once we graduated, we never left. We truly love our city! We have four children, three biologically and one through the gift of adoption.
Adoption has always been deeply rooted in who I am. From the moment I was able to speak it, I knew I would do two things in life: advocate for people and adopt. I cannot find the particular reason other than The Lord engraving it on to my heart, but adoption is something I have never been able to move away from. It is both a joy and honor to serve with the Abiding Love team as a birth mother advocate. I spent my time in college focused on a degree in social work always hoping and praying that I’d be able to somehow work in the adoption field. I spent over three years working with, serving, and loving both expectant moms and birth mothers. It was my dream job and I was continually amazed at the beauty, resilience, and strength of my clients. I only left to be able to stay home full time after the birth of our first child.
After our (surprise) twins were born, my husband and I both believed that our dream to adopt one day may have to be put on hold. We weren’t closing the door, but our hands were (quite literally) very full. I continued to stay home with our three girls but even so, adoption never left my mind. So much so, that one day in 2016 I blurted out to my husband that I felt like The Lord was still calling us to adopt. I expected to be met with hesitancy but instead found my husband admitting that he, too, had felt the Lord telling him that it was time. We began our adoption process in late 2016.
In early March 2018, after a previously failed adoption, we received the call that we had been matched to an expectant mom. Our son was born a few days later and placed in our arms at two days old. Having served so many birth mothers in the past, I thought I was prepared for the moment we would meet “our” birth family but no amount of having done it before can prepare you for the moment you meet the two individuals who will ultimately give you one of the greatest gifts of your life. I will never forget sharing a hospital bed with our son’s first mom, crying with her, loving on her, and promising to love her son forever. That moment ultimately changed my life and the way I view adoption forever. I realized it was never about the baby but that mama who would leave the hospital empty-handed.
I made a vow to myself after adopting our son that I would spend the rest of my time on earth loving the unseen women behind adoption. Sometimes that looks like laughing over lunch, having hard conversations while drinking coffee, or crying together in the hospital. No matter what it looks like, my heart is to love big and serve long. I am often asked why I love what I do. My answer is simple: my son’s birth mother. I serve because of her. When I serve a client, I ask myself, “How would I want my son’s birth mother to be treated?” That answer ultimately shapes my relationships with my expectant moms. I want them to know that the same amount of love, respect, and commitment that I give to my son’s birth mom will be given to them. They deserve it.
My husband and I live in Stuart, Florida with our 4 young children. We met in college while both attending the University of Florida. After falling in love and getting married in 2004, we welcomed our first baby girl three years later. When she turned one we moved to Stuart, Florida where I was born and raised. I had always desired to return to Stuart someday to raise a family of my own.
Growing up I knew three things for sure – I loved Jesus, I wanted to be a mom to lots of kids, and I wanted to be a teacher. While at UF, I earned a Master’s degree in Elementary Education and became a Kindergarten teacher. I loved my job but after having our second child, I made the decision to stay home and take care of the kids. I missed teaching and always intended to return when the kids got older because I liked having a plan and sticking to it! A third child followed and all was going according to (my) plan until God decided to shake things up a bit the night He asked me to adopt our next child! Wait, say what?? My husband and I had never considered adoption or ever even talked about it. As much as I tried to quiet God’s voice, He continued to speak louder. We prayed together, discussed it, and ultimately decided just to follow the Lord in this journey. He was calling us out of the boat and it was our turn to trust in His ways, His plans…not mine!
The next year that followed changed my life forever. Allowing God to take control was amazing. He led us into an open adoption that opened my eyes to the heroic, brave, selfless, loving women called birth moms. Adopting our daughter stirred desires in my heart that I never knew I had…desires to love, respect, support, and care for birth moms.
Being a part of the Abiding Love Adoptions team is quite humbling. Having the privilege to work on a team that loves, supports, respects, and values birth moms is a huge honor for me. Getting to be a birth mom advocate was never part of my life plan but I feel so blessed that it was God’s plan for my life.
When I was 12 years old, I went to a youth conference with my youth group. I remember at one session this organization came up and gave a testimony of how many young girls and woman are treated all across the world. I was heartbroken that a girl just like me, my age, and so innocent to the world could be broken in so many ways. In that moment, the Lord called to empower woman. I knew that my life would be full of rescuing women out of the mindset that the world has built for them.
I honestly did not know what that looked like. When I went to college, I wasn’t told the thousands of options that were out there to choose from. I thought it had to be wrapped in something medical, like a being a nurse. All along I didn’t know how this would get me to where the Lord had called me to be but, I knew that if I kept walking forward somehow the Lord would get me to where I needed to be. Long story short I received my invitation to nursing school after the first 2 years of college and everything inside knew it wasn’t right. I had no explanation but that I couldn’t accept this invitation. Without any explanation, but only God’s grace and wisdom I declined my seat to nursing school so confused and broken inside. I was frustrated because I felt like I couldn’t get things right. There’s more to the story, but that would take an afternoon with a coffee in hand. I found myself taking a minor in Human Services. It opened my eyes to what the world had to offer. Two years later I graduated with my bachelor’s Human Services with a Minor in Applied Health Sciences with a world of opportunity.
My husband, Conner, and I are newlyweds and got married on April 18, 2020 in the mess of COVID-19. Everything planned was cancelled and went out the window with so many of my tears and confusion on why and what to do. Still I knew that the Lord had planned our marriage from the very beginning and with all that was inside me I knew we had to continue somehow with the date planned in the beginning. The date that was on 300 invitations to family and friends. April 18th came and my best friend and I got married in the field next to the house I grew up in along with 30 of our immediate family. The dream wedding the world puts in our minds is nothing compared to the marriage the Lord has created for you before you were ever born. April 18th was the best day of my life. My most favorite day of the year. Its where I married my best friend, Conner, and where the Lord taught me how to trust His plans.
Since 2016 the Lord highlighted the scripture Isaiah 55:9-11 to me. I encourage you to read those verses and hold fast to it in your life, but the gist of it is that God’s ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts and what He promises DOES NOT return to Him void or fall to the ground. Everything the Lord does has PURPOSE.
That is the same for adoption. With my experiences trusting the Lord and watching Him do amazing things in my life and others’ lives I look forward to working alongside a team of passionate Jesus Lovers and serve Birth Mothers just like Jesus did as they walk the road ahead of them.
I cannot remember a time in my life when I didn’t know that God loves me and when I didn’t feel like I loved Him too. In fact, I have desired to serve God in ministry since early in my childhood. As I grew older, I just knew I wanted to help people and point them to Jesus. I wanted them to experience His love for them through a personal relationship as I had. I am so thankful that throughout my life God has allowed me to do just that.
I graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in Psychology. I then attended Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky where I studied pastoral counseling and met my husband, Sam. Together we have been blessed to serve churches across South Georgia for the last 31 years. During our time at one of those churches I completed my master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Mercer University. While there we also started our family. Our two sons are now young adults who have graduated from college and are pursuing careers of their own.
I have had an interesting variety of jobs as we’ve moved around. However, my favorites have involved advocating for women (and their families) who find themselves in an unplanned pregnancy. I’m very excited to be a part of the Abiding Love Adoptions team and to continue this work that God put in my heart many years ago – helping women and pointing them to Jesus along the way.
“But then I will win her back once again.
I will lead her into the desert
and speak tenderly to her there.
I will return her vineyards to her
and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope.”
Years ago, this scripture jumped into my heart and planted a seed that the Lord has faithfully watered over time and the roots of this Word grew deeper through each season of my life. I was a fiery, quirky, middle child, born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama. My heart for justice led me to pursue a degree in Social Work at Auburn University. A move to Georgia after graduating college led me to various work experiences as a caseworker advocating for the welfare of the voiceless and oppressed in our society. The blueprint for the next decade of my life was beginning to unfold in these early years, but I had no idea that both brutal hardship and rich joy lay ahead as the Lord led me into a desert, where my self-made identity could be deconstructed and the relentless love of Jesus could build me into who He created me to be. After meeting my husband James, the gravity of God’s heart for family and redemption began transforming the eyes of my heart. My husband’s battle with drug addiction and courageous walk in recovery led us to partner in starting an inner-city ministry that aimed to provide community and connection to resources for precious people enduring dark circumstances. It was here that I formed a profound connection with women facing prostitution, addiction, and abuse. As the Lord restored shattered places in my own heart, the message of Hosea 2:14 came to life as I burned for these sisters of mine to know that the Lord desired to draw them to a safe place in His presence. I longed for them to know that their destiny through faith in Christ was to be deeply valued and empowered Daughter of the King. I am passionate about sharing the truth that the Lord longs to release His Spirit of Adoption into our lives and experience family through true community in the Body of Christ. I suppose this truth is what first led my heart into the adoption world years ago.
I was connected with my close friend Carrie Murray-Nellis, a local adoption attorney, when I reached out to her to help one of my friend’s struggling on the streets of Brunswick. I witnessed the power of bold love and redemption as my friend started the process of placing her son for open adoption, so she could have the opportunity to build a stable foundation and have a presence in his life. I have never witnessed a woman make such a vulnerable choice and experience a breaking so deep. She chose to endure the grief of releasing her son into the arms of another woman because she recognized that joining with another mother through open adoption would ensure that the needs of her son would be met. I witnessed a supernatural love as she was fully embraced by the adoptive parents of her son and as Carrie honored her as a woman and mother by advocating for her, and giving her the authority to make decisions regarding her son’s placement. I witnessed my friend grasp hope as she experienced her own birth and placement into the family of God.
The opportunity to work with Abiding Love Adoptions presented itself after my husband and I moved to Birmingham, Alabama. As a mother of two sons, I know that carrying a child and bringing them into a complex world is attached to both profound love and unexplainable fears. To any expectant mama reading this, overwhelmed by what the future might hold, know that my heart is to walk beside you through the Valley of Trouble into a Gateway of Hope. You deserve to never be alone, never forgotten, and always loved.