Magnolia's parents tell Motherly they are happy she's spreading joy during this trying time.
We've seen her face and now we're hearing the story of how this beautiful baby girl became a viral sensation overnight.
Little Magnolia Earl turned one this month and she also turned the heads of an entire nation after she was named this year's Gerber Baby. The month of May meant non-stop attention for the birthday girl, who was seen everywhere from the TODAY show to the New York Times.
Motherly reached out to Magnolia's parents, Courtney and Russell Earl, to see how they feel after watching their youngest daughter become a viral sensation and baby celebrity.
"[It's been] surreal to say the least!" The Earls explain in a statement to Motherly. "It is fun to see the level of joy that she is bringing to so many people during this very difficult time. She brings us such incredible happiness, and we are so very grateful. It has been amazing to hear from so many people near and far."
Gerber chose Magnolia to be the 2020 Gerber Spokesbaby from more than 327,000 entries submitted by parents across the country, and Magnolia's story is as beautiful as her smile. The Earls have grown their family through adoption, and Magnolia joined older sisters Whitney, 12, and Charlotte, 8, one year ago.
"On May 9th, 2019 we received a call from the Adoption Agency that there was an expectant mom that was in labor and wanted to talk to us! We pulled off the highway, got a chance to connect with her amazing birth parents, and a few hours later, this sweet baby girl was born." Courtney explained when Magnolia won the contest.
The proud mama is thrilled that her baby girl's story is highlighting how families can be formed in many different ways and that family members don't always look the same.
She tells Motherly: "Adoption is such a special part of the way our family was created. We look forward to the day when adoption and the incredible selflessness and bravery of birth parents is truly celebrated. They are the real heroes in our story. Unfortunately, often when we are out and about, people will stop me and question which of the kids belong to me based on appearances. No child should ever have to hear this. We all belong to these children. All of us."
Courtney knows that Magnolia's story went viral at a time when so many of us needed a story of hope, and she's grateful her family could be that beacon during the pandemic. She tells Motherly that having Magnolia chosen to represent Gerber in the iconic contest is "a great reminder that anything is possible."
She continues: "Just over a year ago, my husband and I didn't even know if it would be possible to grow our family again, and today we are here with our three tremendous daughters. We often tell the girls, 'Trust the unfolding of your life. You have no idea what is waiting for you!'"
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