INDIANAPOLIS - Since getting married 10 years ago, Erika and Kirk Mulroney have dreamed about being parents, but their journey toward parenthood, which included fertility treatments, was filled with challenges.
"It came to a point when (fertility treatment) wasn't getting us anywhere either," Erika said. "So we had some decisions to make. But none of them quite felt like what we were supposed to do. We just didn't know why."
The Mulroneys said the answer became clearer about six months after their final unsuccessful fertility treatment, when Erika was rushed to St. Francis hospital for emergency open heart surgery.
"Had I been pregnant, both myself and the baby would have died, and I would have been about five months pregnant had that (last fertility) procedure been successful," Erika said.
Cardiologist Polly Moore was on call, and she helped save Erika's life.
"I truly believe that God put me in the right place at the right time," Moore said. "(Erika) had a critical, acute illness that was life threatening, and identifying it immediately and getting treatment immediately is key to survival. And that's what happened with Erika."
A few years later, Erika found herself in the hospital again with a non-cancerous tumor, for which she needed surgery and years of chemotherapy.
"There was never once that I doubted she would make it through," Kirk said.
Erika says she feels her prayers to become pregnant were answered, but the answer was no.
"In the midst of all of that .. in those two years, we had decided to start the adoption process. We had visited a high-risk doctor who said there is absolutely no way at this point that you can carry a child," Erika said.
After years of heartache and health problems, Erika and Kirk's dream of being parents finally took off -- half way around the world in Ethiopia, where they were approved for an international adoption.
They first laid eyes on their son, Brooks, last April.
"It was surreal to be in another country knowing that that's where our son was," Erika said.
Brooks was abandoned in a forest as a newborn, and a farmer found him and turned him over to an Ethiopian police officer. Brooks lived in orphanages until the Mulroneys legally became his parents.
"The nurse just took him and kind of threw him into my hands, and just to hold him and squeeze him and just to see how peaceful he was… it's like, 'This is our son,'" Kirk said. "This is the son God had picked for us from the beginning."
In June, the Mulroneys were able to bring Brooks home to Indiana for good.
Brooks, now a bubbly toddler, will be 2 years old in May.
His mom and dad say they feel like Brooks has been their son from day one.
"I'm not a very emotional guy, but this kid, he's unbelievable, and he has touched me," Kirk said. "I just can't describe."
"There is that saying that everything happens for a reason," Erika said. "I think in so many instances we don't get to see right away what that reason is. An in our instance, it didn't take very long before God showed up (and said), 'Hey, this is why.'"
Brooks' middle name, which was given to him by the police officer in Ethiopia, is Bereket. In the native language it means blessings.
His mom and dad say his name is no coincidence, because each day with Brooks is filled with blessings.
"It has really been a fun journey to think about how we are going to get to go through life with this little boy," Erika said.