adoption agency tennessee

Financial help available

pregnant and considering adoption?

Making an adoption plan can be a very empowering choice. Adoption is a safe and loving way to provide a home for your child when parenting isn’t an option. You can give your baby a home, a family, and life. We provide free information about the adoption process in Tennessee. Financial assistance for medical and living expenses is available for the Birth Mother, along with many other benefits.

Call 1 (800) 277-0748 or Text 1 (800) 277-0748

Explore the option of adoption.

our tennessee team



Carrie Murray Nellis

Executive Director & Georgia State Director

Carrie's BIO
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.

Celeste Vernon

Birth Mother Advocate

Celeste's BIO
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.

Tori Perigo

Birth Mother Advocate

Tori's BIO
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.

Thea Barry

Birth Mother Advocate

Thea's BIO
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.

our locations

Chattanooga, Tennessee


Abiding Love Adoptions is an Adoption Agency that specializes in Infant Adoption in Tennessee. Our mission is to love and support the Birth Mother throughout the Open Adoption Process.

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. Start with the AGENCY that puts YOU first!

We provide:

  • Financial Assistance
  • Medical Care & Insurance
  • Open Adoption Planning
  • and much more

Exploring adoption is not a commitment to make an adoption plan. Learn about adoption to see if it’s the best choice for you.

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