ROANOKE (WSLS 10) - A complete stranger is giving the gift of life to a family unable to get pregnant.
MarySusan and Brandon Williams posted a picture on their blog announcing they were pregnant in late 2013.
After years of trying to start a family, they were finally on their way to being a mom and dad to more than just the dog.
"That's the main thing I've always wanted ever since I was a little girl playing house, that's my main dream. I'm a teacher and I love that, love the kids, but my main dream has always been to be a mother," MarySusan explained.
MarySusan and Brandon started a blog titled "Our Journey of Faith" when they made the announcement Danielle Brace would arrive in June 2014.
Unfortunately, MarySusan delivered Danielle stillborn at just 22 weeks.
"I would go through it all over again just to hold her again. Those were the only times in the hospital I felt true peace, because I felt like I had her with me," she remembered. "I'll never regret holding her and counting her fingers and I counted her toes," Brandon recalled.
Despite their heartache and loss, MarySusan and Brandon continued to document their journey to parenthood online.
Not only did they come home from the hospital - just the two of them - but MarySusan lost the ability to carry a child.
"It's been the deepest heartache we've ever been through in our lives," MarySusan said.
During the Williams' time of despair, a couple they had never met who lived over an hour away in Alleghany County, heard about their loss through mutual friends at church. Autumn and Donavan Anderson started reading the Williams' blog.
"It started with them sharing her name and her situation on our prayer list and us adding her into our everyday conversation through that," Autumn explained.
Autumn started regularly reading Our Journey of Faith, but one day she spoke up and shared her lifelong interest in being a surrogate to church friends who knew MarySusan.
"It was something that just kind of landed in our lap," said MarySusan.
It was something the Williams weren't quite sure they were interested in. After losing Danielle, the doctor mentioned finding a surrogate could be an option.
"I remember telling Brandon in the car that I would only consider it if, and I listed a whole list of things that I thought there was no way in the world was possible that anybody would ever meet that criteria. And then Autumn came along," MarySusan remembered.
After Autumn and MarySusan exchanged emails and phone calls, the two couples decided to meet.
Autumn remembered, "We met them at a little diner and had dinner and honestly it wasn't five minutes into dinner that, once they told us in person all the details of their story and what they had been through, it was a given."
MarySusan says Autumn checked off every box on the list of expectations she made in the car - right down to her profession: nursing.
After meeting, the surrogacy process moved pretty quickly and three months after their first dinner together, Autumn broke the news to MarySusan and Brandon in a Wendy's parking lot she was pregnant.
"When we held Danielle and we saw her have my nose and Brandon's feet, that was so special to us and we thought that that part of a dream at least was gone forever and then Autumn has delivered that hope back to us," MarySusan said.
And Autumn is happy to be part of that dream.
"I could give someone a child. Nine months of sacrifice, would change a lifetime for them," Autumn explained.
The Williams' most recent blog post is a pregnancy announcement appropriately titled "It Takes a Village" with a picture of the pair smiling, holding a sign that reads "For this child we prayed."
"Autumn is just .. she's hope. She's given us a dream we never thought we'd be able to realize," Brandon explained.
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