Josh and Renee Case are northeast Indiana natives that have built a very special family for themselves.

After meeting and talking online, Josh and Renee met for their first date in January 2009, and have been inseparable ever since. They got engaged on Sept. 10, 2010 and married exactly one year later.

Like most newlyweds, the Cases wanted to start their family as soon as possible, but after over a year of trying and a few doctor’s visits, it became clear that they would have to build their family another way.

“We decided that if it was God’s will for us to not have biological children, we weren’t going to pursue fertility treatment,” Renee said. “We didn’t want to sacrifice what it would do to my body when fertility treatments are only a 10 percent success rate. If we were going to put money into adoption, you get a child at the end of the process.”

So in 2013, the Cases began the adoption process, allowing professionals to examine and evaluate every aspect of their life. In 2014, all that work paid off when they got the call that they had been selected by a birth mother who was very far along in her pregnancy. Two weeks later, a quick turnaround according to Renee, their first child, Jacoby, was born.

“We were preparing through it for the whole process but we didn’t expect it to come to fruition so quickly,” Josh said. “It was like, this is happening right now. When Renee told me, I was dumbfounded. I didn’t know what to say.”

Shortly after he was born, it became clear that Jacoby was taking longer to hit the milestones commonly associated with newborn development. Doctors soon identified that he was born with a rare genetic disorder that could lead to sensory issues, ADHD and developmental delays. So began a long stretch of the Cases finding and visiting doctors and exploring treatment options.

When Jacoby turned 2, the Cases decided to go through the process again, this time looking specifically for a child with special needs.

“We knew because of everything we had gone through with Jacoby, we wanted to go through the special needs route specifically,” Renee said.

They registered with the Special Angels agency out of Ohio and one day, they came across a picture of Ivy, who the Cases just knew had to be their next child. As luck would have it, they were selected by the birth parents to adopt Ivy after she was born in May 2017. Due to complications with adopting across state lines, Ivy did not actually arrive to her new home in Indiana until a few months later.

When she was born, Ivy had a semi-duplicated chromosome, which causes delays in development of skills and required even more doctor appointments. Once she was settled in though, they started to see Ivy take small steps toward catching up and learning her abilities at her own pace.

Today, the Cases and their kids enjoy their life in Leesburg. Jacoby, 4, is in his second year of preschool and doing well and Ivy, 21 months, is slowly but surely developing her motor skills. Josh works as a CNC machinist and Renee, an experienced hairdresser, works out of a salon connected to their home.

“Having two adopted children and being a middle-income family, I unfortunately do not have the ability to be a stay-at-home mom,” Renee said. “This is a way we’ve been able to make it work.”

Between work and doctors’ appointments and the everyday tasks of raising two children, the Cases still find time to have fun adventures as a family whether it be going to a museum or the zoo or most recently the circus.

In December, according to Renee, the family will go on its first vacation to Disney World, something every member of the family is already counting down to.

“Josh and I bought our house so we didn’t have a honeymoon,” Renee said. “So this will be the first vacation we are going on since we got married.”

Mom and dad even got the chance this past weekend to spend some alone time together to celebrate their birthdays. While they enjoyed their first date night in a long time, a trained pediatric nurse was with Jacoby and Ivy, which was big step forward for both parents.

“It was something I was not willing to do for a long time because I feel like no one can take care of Ivy like we do,” Renee said. “It’s a short-term sacrifice for long-term gain.”

It may not have been the original plan when they first got together, but the family that Josh and Renee have created, the home that they have given to two children who were left without a family, has changed the very way they define “love.”

“It’s definitely helped it grow even more, even when you don’t think it could,” Josh said. “You see what you’d do for your family members, your children. You bend over backward for each other and we do that as much as possible for our children and for each other.”

“It just makes the word love so much more meaningful because to us,” Renee said. “It has a true purpose. … It’s a love that you can’t understand unless you are living in it and I feel like we love our kids very hard. … We’ve learned that we can’t take things for granted and life is so much more precious.”