This family says God and their community brought them all together

LINCOLN COUNTY, Tenn. -  Corey and Brittany Buckner say their story is one of faith.

They both wanted to do mission trips. They both go to church. They both had lists of what they prayed for in a future spouse.

"You can't look at my list and not see Brittany," Corey said. "And you can't look at her list and not see me."

They were answers to each other's prayers. But Corey had prayed for other things.

"I just felt compelled that God wanted me to pray, that if anybody in my family would ever get cancer, God give it to me," he said.

That prayer was answered as well. Corey found a lump on the base of his neck that turned out to be stage two Hodgkins lymphoma, but they kept their faith. After his first round of chemotherapy, he proposed to Brittany.

After his fourth, he called his insurance company to see what he owed.

"I was like 'Just hit me with it. Just tell me what I'm going to owe,'" he said. "I remember, the lady's exact words: 'You don't owe anything. You're paid in full.'" An insurance company had covered all the costs.

Next came remission, then marriage in 2014. Then the next year, they wanted to pay it forward.

They started their nonprofit, Always Endure, to raise money for people in their community going through cancer. So far, they've raised more than  $30,000 for three people with leukemia.

Then came their biggest challenge: They wanted a baby.

"He told us that we had a less than 1 percent chance of getting pregnant naturally," Brittany said.

They tried for months. They tried intrauterine insemination three times, then they saved up for IVF.

"It was the day we were going to pay for our deposit for IVF," Brittany said. "And I ended up taking a pregnancy test and it was positive. We were so excited, but then I miscarried at six weeks."

They then went ahead with the IVF. All the while, they say they kept faith. But after two embryos were planted, Brittany miscarried again.

They say they prayed for months, then turned to adoption. They started a Facebook page to help raise money for the costs. Their adoption agency in Nashville presented them to five birth mothers; all five chose other families.

Then in early August, Brittany's friend saw a post about a baby girl up for adoption in California. They took a chance, had faith, and were chosen. But it wasn't a done deal yet.

"He was like 'You have to be in California in 48 hours,'" Corey said. "We were lacking $20,000."

The money they had spent on the adoption agency wasn't refundable. They needed flights, hotel rooms and time off work. But they say God had a plan.

"The family that we helped with our nonprofit, their little girl who went through leukemia, they recently started a nonprofit," Corey said. That nonprofit, Living for Everything, gave the Buckners $10,000 -- half of what they needed.

They reached out to family, friends, their Facebook group and the next day, they had the rest of what they needed. They traveled to California with an empty car seat and full hearts.

After nearly four years of trying, and never losing faith, they had their baby, Bella Faith.

"I don't think we've stopped smiling since we got her," Brittany said.

They say now they pray that others will hear their story and consider adoption, and they hope to serve as a reminder to never lose hope.

"If I had never prayed to God to give me cancer, all the things that have happened in the last five years, you know, that road has led to her," Corey said.

The Buckners say Bella Faith is their community's baby. They will have a dedication ceremony Sunday to dedicate their family to God and to introduce Bella to the community that came together to make her a Buckner.

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