After tragically losing son, couple seeks to adopt again

Austin and Valerie DeArmond with their daughter, Addison and son Gabriel.

Austin and Valerie DeArmond had their prayers answered in 2018 when they adopted their daughter, Addison. Four years later the couple, who believed they were unable to have children on their own, was blessed again when Valerie became pregnant with their son, Gabriel.

But tragedy soon struck.

Gabriel, who was born in January 2022, passed away in January of 2023 due to complications related to a complex febrile seizure.

“We had a wonderful year with him, 366 days to be exact,” Austin said. “It is the greatest tragedy of our lives but we constantly remind ourselves what a rich blessing it was to have that year with him. There’s deep pain but also immense gratitude. We know Gabriel did not have to be. Yet, he was. We will forever be grateful for the time with our precious son and believe the longest chapter is ahead in Heaven with him.”

Gabriel passed away due to complications related complex febrile seizure.

After Gabriel’s death, Austin and Valerie are looking to adopt once again. The couple says their daughter, now 6-year-old Addison, has been one of life’s sweetest and richest blessings. And she was a great big sister to Gabriel. They’d love to give her another sibling.

“We believe God has called us to move forward and adopt again, stewarding Gabriel’s legacy along the way,” Austin said. “I don’t believe my wife is done mothering a baby. She really came alive seeing and watching our two children play and love on each other. I remember her saying as she watched our two children play together, ‘This is it. This is the best thing in the world.’ I want her to have that again.”

The couple have always been committed to adoption because they say it’s a picture of God’s love, helps children and families in need and truly blesses families who cannot have children through normal means.

In 2018, the couple was quickly connected with Addison’s birth mother and everything went smoothly from there.

“We became parents with Addison’s arrival. There’s so much joy, life, and love within our home because of Addie,” Austin said. “She is spunky, bold, funny, kind-hearted, and loving. She loves cats, doing art projects, a good Disney princess movie, and playing with her friends.”

This time, their adoption journey has proved a little more difficult.

“We’ve had potential connections that have fallen through. That, of course, is just sadly part of the process,” Austin said. “We say it is a win either way—we get to adopt a precious child or a mom makes the decision to keep them, raising and loving them. We have an adoption attorney in Baton Rouge and are just praying for the Lord to provide the right opportunity in the right time in the right way.”

Most adoptions utilize agencies that connect prospective parents with a child and provide legal help. However, that’s a costly process. Austin said the price can range anywhere from $20,000 to $65,000.

“That’s an excessively large number,” Austin said. “We have a private adoption attorney who is committed to providing all of the services you need for an adoption without taking large amounts of agency and facility fees. We rejoice that the Lord led us to him. Adoption should not be a money-making scheme but it sadly is for so many agencies and attorneys.”

Because the couple is undertaking a private search, there is more of a responsibility for them to  get the word out that they are looking for a child to adopt.

“We get the word out and pray,” Austin said. “Our attorney also has a Shutterfly book about our family so if a young lady comes in, she can check out our book for herself.”

If you or someone you know is interested in having their child adopted, Austin can be reached at