After a nearly year-long adoption process, the call finally came on July 21. Sarah and David Olson flew from their home in Minnesota the next day to meet their new baby girl, Tilly Pearl – and a photographer captured it all.
“We prayed that God would bring us a little girl, and there she was, all five lbs. of her.” Sarah said. “Within a split second of holding her, we couldn’t imagine life without her.”
The couple had always wanted three children, David tells PEOPLE. Looking to make their family complete, David, 38, and Sarah, 31, turned to adoption. The journey culminated in their first encounter with little Tilly
Heartwarming photos taken by the couple’s friend, Minnesota photographer Kristen Prosser, show the moment the two parents laid eyes on the infant, born on July 18.
Prosser wrote on Facebook that she had always wanted to photograph the first meeting of an adopted baby.
“I got to be a part of this incredible moment with one of my best friends!” she wrote. “I was so privileged to watch this all unfold. What a perfect example of unconditional and sacrificial love.”
Prosser snapped pictures of the Olsons as they waited at the airport en route to Florida to meet Tilly. But when the parents got to the hospital the camera was the last thing on their minds.
“We were so absorbed with meeting, holding, cuddling and loving this little girl that we forgot anyone else was in the room.”
One of the photos shows the couple at the Tallahassee hospital approaching Tilly’s bassinet. Sarah is near tears with excitement at the sight of her new daughter. In another, Sarah is seen cuddling the little girl.
The photos garnered national attention, with more than 30,000 shares on Prosser’s Facebook page.
The couple tells PEOPLE that their journey to parenthood has always been difficult. They have two sons, Zakary, 6, and 3-year-old Levi, who was born with Spina Bifida – which means his spinal cord failed to develop properly.
“Both of Sarah’s pregnancies were brutal. Neither of our pregnancies were easy,” David said. “We suffered the loss of a miscarriage but still trusted and felt like our family was not yet complete.”
The couple had been trying to conceive a third child when Sarah suggested adoption. They teamed up with an adoption consultant agency. After four potential matches that ended in disappointment, they received the call they had desperately been waiting for.
“Our consultant Katie called, she said ‘Are you ready for a miracle? If you say yes to this situation, the baby is yours!’ ” Sarah said. The parents’ “hearts flipped with excitement” at the news, Sarah recalled.