Parents Fighting to Adopt Their Own Babies Are Thrilled for Their First Christmas as a Family of 5

Now at home in Michigan with their daughter and twins, the "excitement we have around Christmas is magnified times three," dad Jordan Myers tells PEOPLE

Parents Fighting to Adopt Their Own Babies Are Thrilled for Their First Christmas as a Family of 5
The Myers family (from left): Corryn, Eames, Tammy, Jordan and Ellison. Photo: Tammy and Jordan Myers

Two Michigan parents who have been fighting to adopt their own babies are happy to cap off a tough year with their first Christmas alongside their little ones.

Last January, Tammy and Jordan Myers' twins Eames and Ellison were born via gestational carrier — the high point of an otherwise tumultuous 2021, as the Myers are still stuck in an ongoing court battle to legally adopt the twins due to Michigan's surrogacy laws, despite Eames and Ellison being their biological children.

"It has been such a stressful and busy year," mom Tammy, 40, of Grand Rapids, tells PEOPLE.

But now at home with their three kids for the holiday, the "excitement we have around Christmas is magnified times three," says dad Jordan, 38.

Perhaps no one is more thrilled than the couple's eldest child, daughter Corryn, 9, who has "been begging for a sibling since she was 2," Tammy says.

"Since the babies can't write their lists on their own, [Corryn] looked at one of the toy books, wrote down all of the baby toys on flashcards, and held up two flashcards [at a time] to each baby," Tammy adds. "Whatever flashcard they reached for, she'd write it down. It was so sweet, everything from new toys to Puffs to a ball pit — all sorts of things she found on her own."

Tammy and Jordan were already parents to Corryn when, while trying to conceive their second child, Tammy found a lump in her breast, which turned out to be cancerous. After Tammy's breast cancer treatments prevented her from carrying more children — and with a fierce desire to expand their family — they found their gestational carrier, Lauren, through a friend of a friend. The twins were born eight weeks early on Jan. 11.

Parents Fighting to Adopt Their Own Babies Are Thrilled for Their First Christmas as a Family of 5
Ellison, Corryn and Eames. Tammy and Jordan Myers

The babies' early arrival meant the Myers did not complete Michigan's requisite pre-birth order process in time, forcing them, because of the state's restrictive laws around surrogacy, to fight in court to legally be the twins' parents. Even though their gestational carrier, Lauren, legally agreed to the arrangement, the parents have had to undergo rigorous mental evaluations and home inspections and get letters of recommendation for the adoption case.

Complicating matters, Tammy and Jordan had to fight for emergency legal rights to the babies in order to put them on their health insurance, among other things. This was denied, as well as a second attempt at obtaining Jordan's paternal rights to the children. (Even if Jordan had been granted paternal rights, Tammy would have still had to adopt her own biological children as a stepparent because she did not carry them herself.)

The entire process has been "shattering," Tammy told PEOPLE ahead of National Adoption Month in November. "I'd already been through cancer and fought for my life and was finally moving on. I would carry my own children if I had the chance. I wasn't choosing not to carry."

Parents Fighting to Adopt Their Own Babies Are Thrilled for Their First Christmas as a Family of 5
Twins Ellison and Eames. Tammy and Jordan Myers

"We knew there would be paperwork involved, but we had no idea it would be a legal battle for the rights of our babies," she continued. "I'm almost thankful we didn't know. I'm not sure we would have gone this route. But nothing could take away the blessing we have in our lives. We've opened the door to the injustice happening because of this outdated law."

At the center of their case is Michigan's 1988 Surrogate Parenting Act, which makes compensated surrogacy illegal for carriers and intended parents and, even if a surrogate isn't compensated, says that any agreement made between parties won't be recognized in court.

"Michigan's current surrogacy law was passed in the 1980s as a reaction to the Baby M case, where a traditional surrogate who was biologically linked to the baby changed her mind about giving the child to the intended parents," Tammy explained. "She fled across the country with the child and spurred headlines, with the nation watching in horror."

"But the Baby M case is nothing like surrogacy today or the gestational carrier process, which is where the carrier has no genetic link to the baby," the mom added. "Our gestational carrier, Lauren, chose to carry our biological babies out of the goodness of her heart without any personal gain or compensation."

RELATED VIDEO: This Michigan Family Is Fighting to Adopt Their Own Twins, Born via Surrogate: 'They're Trying to Tear Us Apart'

Tammy and Jordan, who are the kids' legal guardians and have had the children home throughout their ordeal, believe a change in Michigan's policy is long overdue.

"The truth is, there have been huge advances in assisted reproductive technology over the past 40 years, making it possible for couples like us to safely grow our biological family through the help of a gestational carrier — but the Michigan laws involving surrogacy of any kind have not kept up with these technological advances," she said.

While dealing with their battle — for which they have created a GoFundMe page here — the parents have used their new platform to call on Michigan's leaders to take action.

Parents Fighting to Adopt Their Own Babies Are Thrilled for Their First Christmas as a Family of 5
Ellison, Corryn and Eames. Tammy and Jordan Myers

"If I could say anything to [Michigan] Gov. [Gretchen] Whitmer, I would say: 48 other states have updated their laws surrounding surrogacy and the gestational carrier surrogacy process, making it possible for couples like us to grow their family in a nontraditional way without facing a legal battle for custody of their biological babies," Tammy said in November. "It is time for our great state of Michigan to rise above these archaic laws and the injustices that have been placed upon my family and pave the way for couples who will someday walk in our shoes."

It's a sentiment that Tammy says has been echoed by countless others since the couple first shared their story with PEOPLE last month.

"A lot of people reached out and offered support," Tammy says. "[Michigan State] Sen. [Winnie] Brinks knows about [the case], and we've talked with her. That's a good sign in terms of getting this law changed."

Enjoying time with Eames and Ellison during their NICU Stay
Jordan and Tammy Myers with Ellison and Eames. Tammy Myers

Tammy and Jordan hope the twins' adoption will be finalized sometime around their first birthday in January. For now, they're focusing on their blessings this holiday season — including Corryn's enthusiasm as a big sister.

"It's cool because Corryn is an age where [Christmas] is still magical for her, but she can also take on a role with us to make it exciting for the babies," Tammy says. "I already see her learning, realizing the meaning of Christmas and saying things like, 'Mom, I want to buy the babies Christmas gifts, and I don't have any money. What chores can I do so I can go shopping?'"

The 9-year-old girl is also making sure her parents pass on traditions that she experienced in her earlier years — especially creating handprint-adorned Christmas ornaments.

Jordan and Tammy Myers with children, Corryn, Eames, and Ellison
The Myers family (from left): Jordan, Eames, Corryn, Tammy and Ellison. Tammy Myers

"Corryn pointed that out early, when we got the Christmas décor out, that she was going to make one of those with each baby," Tammy says.

As for other Christmas traditions, the Myers family plans to make gingerbread houses, deliver cookies to their neighbors and pick out their own Christmas tree and cut it down.

"We got one that was too big this year," Tammy says.

Adds Jordan, who recalls the hilarity of the classic holiday movie National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation: "We kind of Clark Griswold-ed that one."

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