Even when they are chosen, the possibility that the birth mother may change her mind looms large before the adoption is finalized. "You learn to guard your heart,” Debra Lee said. "We played the roller-coaster for so long with our infertility, we knew how to be cautiously optimistic.” It is in those times that the adoption agency staff meant the world to Rick and Debra Lee. The counseling element offered by the agency, for not only the adoptive parents but for the children and the birth parents as well, helped the Lees immensely, they said. Debra Lee would call the agency often, asking if a certain behavior were a sign of a larger issue with the adoption. The Lees also keep in contact with Brady's birth mother, sending her report cards and pictures through the agency. Being able to keep that connection with Brady's birth mother also led to a surprise third child, Spencer, who is Brady's biological brother. Brady's birth mother became pregnant again, and didn't want to keep the child, so she asked the agency to see if the Lees would be willing to take him. "That was a baby dropped right in our lap. How could we say no?” Debra Lee said. "We didn't expect to have one child, but now we have three. It is very fulfilling,” Rick Lee said.
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Debra and Rick Lee pose for a photo with their adopted children, from left, Spencer, 4, Brady, 11, and Karson, 5, at Deaconess Pregnancy and Adoption Service Center in Oklahoma City. BY MATT STRASEN, THE OKLAHOMAN