In 2013, Holly and Darren suffered an unimaginable loss when their unborn twins, Brinly and Jude, passed away at 18 and 21 weeks, respectively. The following year, the couple’s family headed off to the beautiful Multnomah Falls in Portland, OR, to hold a memorial service for the babies. Little did their family know that Holly and Darren had a gigantic surprise in store…

You see, soon after the twins’ passing, Holly and Darren’s friend volunteered to carry some of their remaining biological embryos as a gestational surrogate. The transfer was a success, and twins were on the way — but the couple didn’t tell their family until she was 24 weeks along. They decided to reveal the big surprise at Multnomah Falls in the most brilliant and unexpected way. When they’re all in position for a group photo, a pregnant woman in a blue top interrupts the shot and takes her place front and center. You can imagine the sense of confusion and awkwardness. In addition, Holly had a “stranger” videotape the family’s reaction when Holly touches the pregnant woman’s belly and introduces her as the couple’s surrogate; the babies inside her belly are Holly and Darren’s twins! And the stranger behind the camera is actually the surrogate’s husband!

Just. Brilliant. Here’s this complete stranger barging into their family photo and acting like she’s part of the group. But once they realize the truth, the tears start flowing and the surrogate is warmly embraced by the family. “It was one of the most amazing things a human could have done for us,” Holly told LittleThings. “The lady that did it was 46 at the time and refused to take any money from us. In fact, we had agreed we would pay all medical bills, but her and her husband paid the $5,000 C-section bill as a gift.”

On November 14, 2014, just three days short from the day Jude was stillborn the year before, Holly and Darren welcomed beautiful twin boys, Noah and Beckom. In trying to describe the impact her surrogate has made, Holly says, “I cannot express how much this woman and her family have changed our lives.”

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