meet our team
My Mother tells a story about me at the ripe age of 7. She found me pacing up and down the driveway with my suitcase full of necessities (i.e. dolls, toys, etc) in hand. A family friend happened to be out for a run and stopped me thinking I was planning to run away. He asked: “Carrie, what are you doing?” With the innocence of a 7 year old I simply answered “Mr. Stan don’t you know Jesus is coming? Are you ready?”
And with that I seem to have never stopped asking the same question to all who would listen. As I grew older I realized simply loving people was more effective than words – but when God opened the doors the question remained the same – Are you Ready?
I graduated from Wheaton College with degrees I would never use, but my time at Wheaton furthered my passion for others and a thirst to discover how my talents & passions fit into the body of christ.
My sweet husband, Gil, and I married fresh out of college. Only three months into our marriage when literally I woke him up in the middle of the night to say “God is calling me to go to Law School.” His response was as surprising as my impromptu announcement – He said “me too.” And with that we quit our jobs and went to Mercer University School of Law together. Throughout our time at Mercer I admit I was jealous of Gil. He was focused. He knew his calling was towards Tax law and Estate Planning. For three years I continually asked God “Are you sure I heard you right?” “Why am I here?” His steady voice continued to say “Just wait.”
After Graduation, I worked for a small general practice law firm in Savannah, Georgia. I was blessed with great partners who genuinely loved me, but I was lost – still not knowing why God had called me to practice law.
Within my first year of practice, I had my first Adoption case and a fire inside me started burning. Shortly afterward The Murray Nellis Law Group was born. I quickly became involved in Juvenile Court cases and saw an opportunity to serve my clients by not only fighting for them inside the courtroom but by loving them outside the courtroom walls as well. But as many do, I became disillusioned with the Juvenile System that so many times it fails our children and Birthparents. The Lord showed me that through Open Adoption children would have an opportunity for a stable safe upbringing and Birthparents would have the opportunity to reclaim their dignity and know what it means to be truly loved.
And so one thing lead to another – years have gone by and the Lord allowed my law practice to become exclusively centered around Adoption Law.
In 2016, the Lord called us to start Abiding Love Adoption Agency. It is our passion to serve Birthparents and to serve them well by loving them FIRST! I consider it an honor that God chose me to love on such special women and men during one of the most difficult times of their lives.
I am a Bostonian now happily living on the Space Coast of Florida. I love the sway of a palm tree and any excuse to buy more sunglasses. I am married to my husband, a quadriplegic and a passionate disability advocate. I parent one teen daughter who lives life on the spectrum. Those two, along with my three dogs, keep me pretty busy! I am also a published writer in several publications and have authored two books (and counting). Running is a hobby I enjoy a lot. I am also a longtime weight lifter. I might be the best athlete, but I am determined. This is a skill I have learned to embrace about life in general: Do it fast or do it slowly, but don’t give up!
I am deeply committed to adoption as a viable option for an unexpected pregnancy. I know this is true because I became a birthmother 11 years ago. Coming to terms with the fact that adoption was the best choice for everyone in my unexpected pregnancy situation was humbling and scary. Thankfully, I had loving people come around me to support me through the process, alleviate the fear of the unknown, and strengthen my faith as I walked through this. There were many questions along the way. I had doubts too. I want to be there for the next woman contemplating adoption for her unexpected pregnancy. To replace fear with confidence. To strengthen her feeble knees as she walks through the unknowns of adoption planning. I want to go before her to pave the best way possible for a healthy experience. That is what I hope to do. That is what gets me out of bed to do this work in the morning. I don’t know what every woman who does this is going to go through. I know the journey is a lot better for her when she knows someone understands and can show her the way to go through the lens of shared experiences.
I have an open adoption and a great relationship with my biological daughter and her family. We have more of a relationship than any of us planned on, which makes it all the more special. My advice to couples seeking adoption; be honest about what you want in an ongoing relationship with a prospective birth mother to your child, but make sure to leave room in your heart for more.
My work in the Pro-Life arena concerning adoption takes me to many stages to share my story and advocate for adoption. It is has been my joy to help raise awareness about women just like me in how we can change how society sees us and what we can do to make adoption more of a conversation in Pro-life circles.
It is my joy to serve the next woman seeking to make an adoption plan. God has been gracious to me in allowing me many opportunities to do that outside of Abiding Love, and now as an advocate for an organization I love and respect so much.
I look forward to sharing a safe space and supporting one another as we navigate life after adoption.
My hope in joining this team is to bring tangible love and support to Birth Mothers while also bringing a better understanding and acceptance of them to society as a whole. Destigmatizing the view of Birth Mothers is a big part of the healing process for those of us who have walked this path and dispelling hurtful myths has been an ambition of mine ever since being exposed to the misconceptions personally all those years ago.
I placed my daughter in her family back in 2001 and am so very blessed to have worked with an agency that was Christ centered and offered multiple avenues of support during my pregnancy and post placement. My goal is to ensure all Birth Mothers have that same level of advocacy and encouragement, if not more!
Through the relationship I had with my agency, I was able to spend years of my life volunteering in the adoption space. Once I experienced first-hand how beautiful adoption could be, it was life changing and I knew that was what I was called to do. I spoke in high schools and Pregnancy Centers, I regularly attended birth mother support group meetings to share my experience with expectant moms considering adoption, I sat on panels of birth moms for Adoptive Parent orientations, I even lobbied legislators in IL to help support pro-adoption causes. While I had planned on completing my degree in social work, life took a different turn for me, which is how I ended up in North Carolina, not living my purpose.
When this opportunity with Abiding Love presented itself, I knew God was giving me a second chance and I am so ready to answer that call! To say I’m excited to be a part of this program would be an understatement. I can’t wait to see where we go and the blessings that flow from our work!
Born in Nashville and raised right outside the city my whole life, Middle Tennessee is home for me!
My love for adoption started as growing up as an only child for most of my childhood/adolescent years. I had always wanted a sibling for as long as I can remember and prayed for one constantly. It wasn’t until middle school that the Lord led my parents to adoption. At age 17, I finally became a sister. I was able to travel to China with my family where we picked up my almost 2 year old sister.
I went on to graduate with my bachelors degree in International Relations with a double minor in Asian Studies and Organizational Communications. A few years later, I received my Masters in Theological Studies. All through my 20’s, I’ve worked in various non-profit and ministry roles.
After seeing my parents go through the adoption process, I knew I wanted to work in the adoption field and also adopt myself one day. After three and 1/2 years of marriage to my high school sweetheart, we adopted our first baby, Jubilee Faye. When she was 10 months old, I became pregnant with our first bio baby, Theo Isaac.
Shortly after becoming mom, I was blessed enough to land a job in the adoption world. My biggest experience in that field was pouring into prospective adoptive parents and adoptive parents once they were placed.
I love sharing about adoption with people who are in the process and post process. I specifically love discussing open adoption and what that can look like between adoptive families and birth families.