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Cancer Survivor’s Dream Come True: I’m a Mom!

Updated On: February 29, 2024

Getting to help share Tamika Felder’s story is an honor for us. Tamika looked forward to becoming a Mom since she was a young girl playing with her dollies. A cancer diagnosis at age 25 dashed her dream of having a baby. Acts of kindness from strangers helped Tamika’s dream finally come true. These former strangers have formed a modern family. We were also thrilled and surprised to hear Stephanie Levich’s family twist during the episode!

Guest bios:

Tamika Felder is a cervical cancer survivor. She founded Cervivor, a global community of patient advocates who inspire and empower those affected by cervical cancer by educating and motivating them to use their voices for creating awareness to end stigma, influence decision and change, and end cervical cancer.

Stephanie Levich is a fertility and family building expert, author and entrepreneur. With over 20 years of experience in the fertility industry, her passion stemmed from her own parents’ journey to create their family through adoption as well as her personal experience dealing with IVF. Stephanie created Family Match Consulting, a world-renowned fertility consulting firm specializing in egg donation, sperm donation, and surrogacy. Family Match is the premier fertility consulting firm for an ever-growing roster of A-List celebrities, CEOs, and prominent sports and political figures who require extra support and privacy as they navigate their family-building journey.

Guest links:

Stephanie Levich’s Instagram

Tamika Felder’s Instagram

Family Match Consulting Website

People Magazine article

cervivorbaby Instagram

Stephanie’s book “From The Start: A Book About Love and Making Families”

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Transcript

Corey: Welcome back to Family Twist. It's Corey here, and I couldn't be more excited for our guests this episode, Tamika Felder and Stephanie Levich. I read Tamika's story, and Stephanie's story, in People Magazine, which I read cover to cover every week, and was just so blown away and touched by it that I immediately Facebook stalked Tamika, and she was gracious enough to agree to come on and share their story.

Corey: So, welcome.

Tamika: Thank you so much for having us.

Corey: Before we get into the nitty gritty, because there are quite a large cast of characters for this story, I do want to ask, Tamika, what was Mother's Day like for you this year?

Tamika: Oh my gosh. I'll cry just even thinking about it. It was beautiful. It was surreal. It was amazing and I didn't even do anything really spectacular. My husband kept asking me like, what do you want to do? He knows I love brunch, but I literally just wanted to hold and snuggle with my baby. It was just, so thrilling, honestly, to be able to hold him and be with him and know that he's ours.

Corey: This story, I love that it sort of helps break through all of the nastiness we hear happening in the world today. To hear about a community coming together, virtual strangers, absolute strangers, coming together to help each other to allow someone to become a mother is amazing. Let's go back a little bit. Tamika, you always wanted to be a mom.

Tamika: Yeah, I mean, I used to play with dolls as a little girl growing up in South Carolina. And you know, you have your dolls and you think one day these dollies are going to be real babies. I grew up, started my career, I wasn't thinking about motherhood and then cancer came in at 25 and literally killed, you know, the way that cancer does, but it killed beyond crushed my dreams of ever becoming a mom. I thought okay, there are other pathways to be a mom, but at every turn, it didn't work. It was also in 2001 where there wasn't a lot of technology for just freezing eggs, but being 25 years old and having to come up with so much money to be able to do it, you know, fast forward being 46 and having to come up with so much money, I felt like I was in the same boat, but what I know now being Chayton's mom and looking back, I told myself this story over and over again, that it was okay that I wasn't a mom, that I was a mom to my survivor community, I was a step mom. But I started telling myself this story as a way of survival. Right? And I didn't really truly understand that until Ginny gave me this gift and Stephanie and this amazing team of people helped my deeply buried dream of becoming a parent come alive. I just told myself that it wasn't in the cards, it wasn't going to happen, and I was going to be okay because I couldn't be a mom.

Corey: Stephanie, where does your passion come from for helping people become parents?

Stephanie: Oh gosh, from a variety of places, but my initial interest in helping people like Tamika become a parent, was through my own parents' journey to having their kids. My mom at the age of 13 needed a hysterectomy because of a random infection that she had, this was long before meeting my dad. And so just like Tamika, she lost the ability to have kids and surrogacy wasn't a thing back then. So they ended up adopting and I came 1st and later who became my brother and my sister, but the idea of helping people like my parents - I've got the best parents in the world. My mom's here watching the kids right now. . They live 5 minutes from me. They've supported me in every way throughout my life. I just love the idea of helping people like them and so, egg donation, surrogacy, sperm donation is the path it took, but then 10 years into my career I was diagnosed with unexplained infertility in my early thirties and IVF is what finally brought me to my two little kiddos. So that only furthered my passion to help people on this really tough journey when you want a child more than anything in the world and every obstacle is in your way, it's really hard.

Corey: For sure. I'm sure you've had to have some very difficult conversations with people through your work, because It's tough, and it doesn't necessarily always work out for everybody.

Stephanie: That's right. Yes, and it's not just the science behind it, but it's also like Tamika said, the finances of what building a can cost when it doesn't happen the old fashioned way. Um, it's just not in the cards for everyone, very sadly.

Corey: Well, Tamika, you touched on something really important a minute ago, and it was your being a mother to the cancer community. Not a lot of people who go through cancer are able to do what you did, which was start helping others who were in your same shoes. What made you decide that was the path you wanted to take?

Tamika: I was pissed off about what happened to me at 25. It came from me, like I wanted to just forget it. I wanted to go back to my career, go back to my life, go to happy hours, have fun, be a 20 something in the city. I didn't want to think about cancer, but I could not stop thinking about it. I couldn't believe what happened to me, and I literally just started ranting and raving about it. And then I was like, somebody needs to do something about it. And someone in the cancer community, he told me, he was like, that someone should be you. And I was like, I don't know what to do.

I just knew that okay, at this point, I want someone to talk about this. This happened to me, I feel like I can't be the only one, and so I started sharing my story, then people started reaching out to me and I wanted people to know that they were not alone. And that's something that's still very prominent in our community, letting people know that they're not alone. And when I bring it home to this whole journey to become a mom... this past month, I've just really been in this kind of reflective place and I'm just like, how did I get to Stephanie? And I know how I got to Stephanie, but it's not just Stephanie. It's what Stephanie's story is and who she is as a person and her journey to being here, her journey to being a mom. I'm just glad that we're able to not only in my nonprofit give people hope in their cancer diagnosis and their quality of life because what I know for sure now, if you want to become a parent, that is a direct reflection of your quality of life. When I look back at the emotional mental impact of burying my desire to become a mom because it was taken away from me, because I couldn't afford it because I didn't think there were resources out there, because I thought that just because I want to be a mom and I can't be a mom and why do I get to be upset about that? I still have a life to live. I have to live. But if you desire to be a parent, that's a part of your quality of life, as well.

Corey: Absolutely. Absolutely. And so, your selflessness and starting a nonprofit that connected you to correct?

Tamika: Mm hmm. Yeah.

Corey: Tell us a little bit about Jenny.

Tamika: Like Stephanie, she is an amazing hero. She gave me the greatest gift I could ever think of. They probably honestly play the most important roles. I didn't know anything, I mean, I've heard of embryo donation, but I didn't really know about it. When she called me, I didn't realize, she had really listened to my story. I knew her loosely from being in the group, I liked her. She liked me. What I now know about Jenny is she saw through that wall of me saying cancer took away my fertility, it sucks, I'm not happy about it, but I have a great life. I have my life and I'm okay. She saw the smoke and mirrors with that. She knew that it wasn't okay. She was angry that I wasn't able to create embryos like she and her husband were able to do, that everything I had given to the cancer community but I have been failed in this way. And here she was her embryo split, she had twins, her family was complete. They had these four embryos and for her to selflessly give them to my husband and I so that we could experience being parents together. I mean, just an incredible gift. And I look at my son every morning and I know how beautiful that is. And I have to believe that Ginny and Stephanie are not the only kind people out there. When you started the show, you talked about the world that we're in. Ginny did her embryo transfer in 2020. She offered this gift to me in 2021. Chayton was born in 2023. We were coming off of some hard years in this world, not just the pandemic, if talk about racial injustice, all of this other stuff, just a lot of things going on. So to have people be so kind and so generous, for no reason other than to help me become mom is just beyond beautiful. And if that does not restore your hope in humanity, if it does not let you know that there are good people out there, I don't know what else... I lived this story, I'm living this story and I literally am blown away and I'm brought to my knees by emotions every time I think about it.

Corey: Well, it does for me, it definitely brings back some of that hope and faith in humanity. We should be hearing stories like this every day. Unfortunately, we don't, but that's one of the reasons why we're doing this podcast is we want to be able to share these good things that people are willing to do out of the kindness of their hearts.

Tamika: And I love that name, Family Twist. I love that.

Corey: Oh, thank you. Thank you. Yeah, we went back and forth and I'm so glad we landed on that one. So, Stephanie, can you talk a little bit about how you come into the story?

Stephanie: Sure, an attorney in the field and surrogacy named Rijon Charne had been in contact with Tameka to talk surrogacy, Rijon had helped draft the contracts for the embryo donation, so that was all finalized, Tameka took custody of the embryos - they were there - and Tameka had been exploring surrogacy for quite a long time before connecting with Rijon again about like, how do I do this? She had tried to find surrogates on her own independently, talked to agencies, but the fact of the matter is surrogacy, even if you can find someone independent, who's not part of an agency, it is very, very expensive. And then if you add on an agency fee, it is insanely expensive, not to mention the fact that if you're so lucky to find a surrogate through an agency, it can take years sometimes. And so, again, with the roadblocks and obstacles, she had all of them in front of her and she was just trying to find a path for these embryos are an embryo to come to life. And Rajan had made the connection for her to reach out to me, I'm the president and founder of a company called Family Match Consulting. I've worked in the field for over 20 years. We help clients through surrogacy and source through different agencies and help match clients much faster, but Tamika was under the impression, hearing from Rajan about me that we could help find a surrogate independently to carve out agency fees. And I just remember seeing the hope in her eyes when we got onto the Zoom, thinking I would be able to kind of solve surrogacy for her. And when I explained that we still source through agencies, it's a much faster path, but these are going to be the fees, you could just see the hope kind of drain from her. Like she thought I was the answer and unfortunately had to give the bad news that I have to give a lot clients, which is, this is expensive and there's no way around it, said look, I'll waive my fees. I want to help you. Your story is incredible, but I can't anything about the rest of the fees. So that was kind of the end of that, but what inspired me so much about meeting with Tamika for that initial Zoom was that, um, it's gonna make me cry. Um. You know, she just everything she had been through and the resilience. And like you said, you know, doing what she did to help other survivors when she herself had endured so much and being unable to fulfill her dream of becoming a mom, but still wanting to help others. And then the stranger giving this incredible gift to her. I'm like, this can't stop here, the story can't stop here, these embryos can't just be there without a happy ending. And so we got off the Zoom and I thought I'm going to figure something out. And I called unbeknownst to Tamika, every colleague I could think of in the field. I called Rijon back. I said, Hey, if I can figure this out, will you do it pro bono? And she said, Absolutely. Another attorney who would represent the surrogate- will you do it pro bono? Absolutely. Brooke Kimbrough, who owns an agency called Root Surrogacy, said, I'll help. All of them said, if you believe that this is a worthy case and a client that you feel we should help, we'll help. Asked no questions. And with agencies, it's hard to even get a discounted fee because surrogates are in such high demand. Brooke said, I'll do it pro bono. So within a couple of hours, I was able to secure, including our fees, I think it's about $90,000 worth of services. And I was like, I have to share the news and surprise her with this, but I got to get her on a Zoom.

Tamika: I was done.

Stephanie: I sent her this email and I said, Tameka I I forgot to ask you a few questions so I can close your file. Is there any way you can hop back on a Zoom at this time? And what she told me later, which we were laughing so hard about was she was in a Starbucks and she gets this and she's like Oh, what does she want? There's nothing she can do to help and she wants me to get back on a Zoom? Ugh! But her response back was sure I'll see you at this time. So it was Rijon on the Zoom, Brooke, myself and she gets on and is kind of looking really confused like who are these people on the Zoom meeting? And I go on to tell her just how inspired I was by her story and Jenny's act of kindness and how we couldn't let the kindness train stop there and how we had secured these services and we were going to help her. And I mean, Tamika you can share what that was like for you, but it was one of the most profound and special moments of my career for sure.

Tamika: I'm sitting here and I'm holding back tears because it's just, I mean, so, so raw still, even, even now, and just so beautiful. So you go from having your dreams kind of crushed again and thinking like, God, why would you bring this gift to me after everything that I've been through and then it's still not happen, then how can get here and this is going to happen. And honestly, even when they all said, yes, like I believed it, but there was this one part of me that was just like I've got my hopes up so many times - is it going happen this time? But I have to tell you with Brooke and Stephanie, every step of the way, even when I was just kind of like, Oh, this isn't going to happen whatever, they found a way. I've literally been looking at emails, I've been going back, looking at text messages and one of the things they did early on they called themselves Team Tamika. And they got me to this baby. They literally got me to this baby. And... I just, I don't know how I can ever thank them. I say thank you all the time. Not that they want it or anything like that, but I hope they know that when I hold this baby, when I look at Chayton, when I see him there is a joy. People ask me all the time, are you as happy as you seem on social media? And they meet Chayton and they see what a little love bug he is. And I'm like, I am. I just, I am. I'm so grateful. So grateful.

Corey: Tamika, what was it like when you first laid eyes on Chayton?

Tamika: Oh, my God. I, I just remember seeing him and his jet black hair that isn't jet black anymore. And then holding him, holding him in my arms, seeing my husband hold him. I remember just how soft he was. At the time, I don't think I put it together until I don't even remember when, but then finding out that he was born on Stephanie's birthday. I mean, when I look, it's no accident he was born on Stephanie's birthday, it's no accident that Stephanie and everything that she's been through to be a mom, the way that, she came into this world with her parents, there just so many aha and surreal moments. I remember him holding my finger on, maybe all newborns do that, I don't know, but I felt like, Oh my God, he's already holding my finger. He's already trusting me. He already wants me. I want him. And those newborn weeks, you know, when people are like the newborn phase is easy. I'm like, no, the newborn phase is the hardest. It's when you have to be up around the clock with them. I felt like a zombie, but, I also felt joy that I to this day cannot explain and I feel like I can explain everything but the joy that that child brings to my life - this morning he woke up and I saw him waking up and turned and I looked at him and he just smiled. We have this thing between us that is just so special and so beautiful and it's a reminder, as Stephanie so eloquently says in her book, that families don't have to match. My son doesn't look anything like me. You meet him, he totally has my personality. but he's my son, he is more than I could have ever wanted in a child, ever. I remember I used to want little girl, and one the first things Ginny said, like, I know you want a little girl and the embryos are all boys. And I don't even think about that because Chayton is just so incredible and I just love him so much.

Stephanie: Well, and that's every child, especially working in fertility and just seeing all the things that can happen and how many things have to go right for a child to be put on this planet, like the stars have to align perfectly. And so you realize what a miracle every walking human is and Chayton personifies that in such an epic way. All the things that had to come together for him to be here and to be your son, he's a miracle. And I will say, it was the best birthday gift I could have ever received for him to be born on my birthday. My birthday means more than it ever has in my life. There's just no greater gift and it's such a profound, thing that we'll always share for all of time. And, I just feel so, so grateful for that and for you in my life, Tamika. I always say this, I feel like the lucky one.

Tamika: Thank you. Thank you.

Corey: Did you find out that day that Chayton was born?

Stephanie: Oh, yeah. Yeah. And Tameka, I don't think you knew I was on a cruise with my family and were about to go to dinner to celebrate my birthday. It was my in laws, my parents, my husband, my kids. And then she sends a picture that he was born and I was like so excited, just like crying looking at it. And then it took me a beat. I'm like, wait, it's his birthday. It's my birthday. It's our, oh my gosh. I mean, it's just incredible. Talk about just full circle. It's just beautiful.

Corey: Absolutely. And Chayton has twin siblings.

Tamika: He does. We're raising them as cousins and when they're older, if they want to identify as siblings, we're going to leave it up to them. But it's so cute, Ginny and Sean have taught the boys how to say, I love hearing them say Chayton, but I also love when they say Auntie Mika.

Corey: Aww.

Tamika: Cause they're two years old and they're so adorable. It's funny, he kind of looks like them, but he also has his own look and they think the same thing too. We were hoping that we would get them together soon, but we probably won't do it until September. And even though it's not that far away, it seems so far away, but I just know it's just going to be an epic time when we all get together because Ginny and Sean will forever be a part of our family. I refer to it as our own version of a modern family. The boys are just incredible. So we do FaceTime, let the boys talk, even though Chayton just babbles, baby babbles for now, but we make sure that they know each other. And it's just beautiful being able to be Auntie and Uncle to her kids and cousins and then vice versa, they're Auntie and Uncle to Chayton. It's just, I couldn't ask for anything more. It's just so beautiful.

Corey: That's such a story, I'm at a loss for words at the moment because it's just, it's so amazing.

Stephanie: I'm constantly at a loss for words.

Corey: Have you started thinking about the first birthday party?

Tamika: Yeah, I have it planned already.

Corey: Oh,

Tamika: No, I am so excited about his party. It's funny, everybody lately has asking me about it because they know I love the party plan. And I was like, well, technically I've had his birthday planned since before he was born. The surrogate did a really good job of keeping me in the loop and we did those things, Ginny told me to do the belly buds headphones, microphone things so that the baby could get to know our voice, were always playing music, so we would send music. I would read stories. I read Stephanie's story to him, we still read Stephanie's book to him cause it's just so great. You have to find ways to be a part of it, so that was one of ways that I got to connect with Chayton. I would tell him about when it's Christmas, when it's Thanksgiving, like mommy loves Thanksgiving and I'm always going to dress you up, whether you like it or not, and I have your birthday planned and all other stuff. That was definitely one of the ways that I kept my mind occupied when things were going great, but also when I was waiting to hear the first heartbeat or there are all these different milestones that you're waiting for and even though there was so much joy, there's all this anxiousness as well. And I'm not an anxious person and this journey to becoming a mom definitely upped the anxiousness level. So planning his first birthday party was a way for me to go on Pinterest and look at stuff and put boards together and keep my mind busy. So I'm excited for his first birthday party.

Stephanie: And Tamika flew out, we hadn't met in person and she flew out with Chayton and we got together with Brooke, the owner of the agency, and myself and Tamika. And we got to hold and cuddle Chayton for the first time. And that was incredible. And brought up the book, so I wanted to just chat about that moment, I got to read to Chayton. This book was a labor of love for me in just trying to put forth the message of families are created from love. So much love came into making Tamika become a mom and being able to read the book to him while holding him was just incredible. I just know we're connected for all of time and of life. Just the friendships and relationships that have come together as a result of this, you with Ginny and her kids and this extended now family that's been created, it's another example of it's not blood, it's love, and this community of love that we all have now in each other's lives, which is just the most special thing in the world.

Corey: Absolutely.

Tamika: And I knew that but experiencing this has taken it to a different level. And you talk about the things that help. So, Stephanie's book came, I can't remember how many months it was published before Chayton was born, but the thing is, even though they were guiding me, that book helped me so much because Chaitin's multiracial and my husband and I are black and even though we love everybody, they're different dynamics. Also it was a way for me to utilize that book in talking to family members. You know, I grew up in South Carolina and I have to say everybody's been great. I mean, my brother wants me to move home. He was like, we have to see him grow up. So he wants me to move back to South Carolina, but it's so beautiful. I gave the book to some people but I was able to utilize that book to help me with my own feelings and not that, because it was always a yes for me, but I think if people don't think about, I'm just going to use this term just for this, transracial adoption and what that means and what that looks like. I think you have to think about those things. I also want people to know if they're looking for different pathways to becoming parents that, you know, maybe your child won't look exactly like you, or maybe it will come in a different way, and that's okay. It also reminded me as a girl growing up before cancer even came into my life, that I always wanted to be like Josephine Baker and have a rainbow tribe. I had forgotten about that for the longest time, and somebody reminded me of it and I went and got my unicorn journal and I looked it up and enough, it was in there. But her book isn't just good for reading to children, it's also great for helping you understand just as an everyday person, what it means for families that don't match, families that may have twist to them It really is great resources and I'm not saying that because I feel like I have to say, and it really is just a great resource because again, I was sitting waiting for this child that came to me through various acts of kindness and thinking, what does that look like and the book was connecting the dots for me. And it also gave me the permission to be okay with it, no matter what outside people say.

Stephanie: Yes, a hundred percent.

Corey: For sure. For sure. So, Stephanie, you mentioned that the book was a labor of love. Can you talk a little bit about it?

Stephanie: Yeah. So having worked in the field for over 20 years now, so many clients would come to me, asking for resources of how to talk to their children about how they came into this world. And there's a lot of books that exist that are fantastic that speak to adoption or speak to surrogacy or egg donation, but there really wasn't anything that encompassed all these beautiful, incredible ways that families are created. And so while those books are so important, I really wanted to create something that would not only kind of tell the child's story, but also kind of put it into the broader context of family building. Like this is how you came into this world, but there's all these ways that families are created and they're all awesome. So any parent, whether you're single in a relationship, hetero, same sex, anybody can pick up this book and read it to their child, and it will tell the story, whether, you conceived through fertility treatments, IVF, egg donation, sperm donation, adoption, surrogacy, and that was the goal. So I had this idea to create it, but I don't consider myself the most creative person. I know family building. So my best friend since high school, she's a mom through IVF, we went through our own IVF struggles together. She is like the most creative person I know, so we joined forces and it took us over two years to, it's a small children's book, but to get every word right and get the illustrations. And yes, it was a labor of love and, I'm just so happy it's now in the world for people to read.

Corey: Wonderful.

Tamika: Why it's so appealing to me, not just because she's this amazing human that I love, but because my story, I feel like it has all these layers, it's just not one thing, so it spoke to all the different layers of my pathway of becoming a parent, this had everything. The book definitely was more inclusive of all the ways.

Stephanie: And I feel I want to just talk about too, the fact that Ginny is in your life and her kids and that extended family, like, not to go too far down this rabbit hole, but I met my birth mom when I was 18 and she's in my life and she lives in a different state, but she travels into town, we all get together. Her sister lives 20 minutes from where we live, everyone was at my wedding, my dad thanked my birth mom in the speech at my wedding, like this extended family of love, andI'm so grateful obviously to her for my life, but for the relationship. My kids call my birth mom, Auntie Amy, my mom is not threatened by her in my life, she looks at it as such a positive thing. I just think the more we can talk about it in podcasts, like Family Twist, telling these stories and de stigmatizing family building because there's no right or wrong way to build a family is so important and it should be celebrated. These relationships should be celebrated because who doesn't want more love in their life and in their children's lives. Like that is a good thing.

Tamika: Yeah, and I've had people reach out to me asking about embryo donation. There's this person who said, my embryo failed, I don't have any more, so now I'm looking at embryo donation. And she's like, I'm seeing you with your son. And can you tell me about it? And I'm like, my God, this is that type of love and awareness that I want to be able to spread. And yes, it's Stephanie's book. you can get itit's on Amazon. It's great to be able to give people a resource where they can go. Because I'm still learning about embryo donation and all the things like I knew surrogacy on the surface, but not in this very intimate way that I know now. And I'm blown away by the number of people who have reached out to me wanting support with IVF, wanting to know more about surrogacy. Someone who, I mean, it was shocking to me, but I felt honored that they felt safe enough to reach out to me saying, I have two more embryos, maybe I try with one and maybe I use a surrogate for the other. And especially people of color. I love when people of color reach out to me and they want to know more about this experience. And, as much as I share my cervical cancer story, Stephanie will tell you when this story first came out, she literally kind of had to virtually hold my hand from California. Like she's calling me six o'clock in the morning. It was nine o'clock my time. So at six o'clock, I'm like, first of all, why are you awake right now? But she's just like, the story published, this beautiful story. I'm like, don't tag me in it. So,

Stephanie: The first Insider article?

Tamika: Yeah, yeah. And I know it was one because I was scared, what if it doesn't work? What if I don't have this baby and everybody gets excited and something happens, so that fear, right. But it was also like, everybody's going to know everything about the story, it was so overwhelming and the response was so tremendous and so wonderful and people had a lot of questions and they still do. But it was a way for me to kind of like rip the band aid off of this. And it's the weirdest feeling because you have this thing that you're so excited about and you want the world to know, but you also have this thing that you're so excited about and you kind of want to keep it to yourself. And so that's the other part of it, Stephanie was able to kind of help me get through that. Like I'm on the floor tapping myself like, Oh my god, everybody's gonna know.

Stephanie: Well, and now, Chayton has his own Instagram page. He's sharing the story everywhere. I, I agree with you said at the start, which is that it feels like a story that needs to be told because there's just so many layers to it just in family building and kindness and like these acts of kindness that can change a person's life in such a profound way, small and big ways. It's just the lesson of just be kind, do nice things. Ginny couldn't have ever imagined the day she called you on April Fool's Day, even though, it was no joke that this would be the ending. The happy ending. Nobody can know, you just do nice things and the universe, I believe, kind of takes care of the rest in some way.

Tamika: Mm hmm.

Corey: So speaking of books, Tamika, which is going to come first, the book or the movie?

Tamika: I don't know. But listen, Hallmark, Lifetime, somebody call OWN, this needs to be made into movie. So I don't know which one is coming first, but seriously, now I'm just like, share the story, let the love, let the kindness spiral, let that domino effect happen. If someone is so moved by this, we may know about it, we may not, but I'm telling you, I haven't come across anyone yet who isn't moved by the story. And it makes me feel so honored to be the recipient of not only Ginny's gift, but the kindness of Stephanie and Brooke and Rijon and the whole team, but also to be Chayton's mom. So, yeah, I want everybody to know about this story. I want them to feel inspired. I want them to feel the love and want them to feel moved that if they're able to help someone in some type of way, for them to do the same.

Corey: Wonderful. Well, you've definitely both touched my heart and this is just a wonderful story.

Stephanie: So Tameka, if Oprah calls, will you

Tamika: Yeah.

Stephanie: You

Tamika: Absolutely.

Stephanie: know, what do we say? Like, put things out in the universe you know, it takes care of So, know, putting it out there, Oprah, give Tameka a call.

Tamika: Listen, I used to tell myself, Oprah's not a mom and she's okay, I'm going to be okay, even though I'm not Oprah, but used to tell myself that. You know, Oprah always says I was on cruise, girlfriend's cruise that I participated in that she was hosting. And she said, I raised all of y'all. And it's like, it's true. And even she has these African girls that she's helped raise. That's her twist on a family. That's her way. There are all these ways when we think about it, that people can get what they want. And I think a lot of times, or maybe I'll speak for myself, we get in our own way. Maybe I'm worried about what some people will think, which isn't my personality, but when it came to this, I'm like, What are they going to say? Maybe they'll say, why didn't you just adopt or why didn't you do this? This? Not that adoption isn't an important thing because it is, but it also is a financial barrier for many, too. I've just been thinking about the different ways, but yes, Oprah can call. I'll answer the phone and I've got a lot to tell her and let's get her on phone right now. Oprah, hello!

Corey: Right. Oprah, if you're listening, you're welcome to be guest on Family Twist.

Stephanie: Welcome to the FamilyTwist Podcast.

Corey:

Tamika: Join us.

Corey: Wonderful.

Corey: Thank you both so much. This is such a beautiful story. I've been so looking forward to this conversation and it did not disappoint.

Stephanie: Oh, thank you so much for having us.

Tamika: Yeah, thank you because we appreciate it and I hope many people listen to this, but if it's that that's looking for that sign to move forward in a different pathway, this is the sign.

Stephanie: Amen.

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