Stranger on plane adopts struggling woman's baby after 'chance encounter'

When Samantha Snipes found out she was pregnant at the age of 24, she was convinced her allegedly abusive boyfriend would change his ways. She prayed the pregnancy would bring them closer together and things would slowly get better — but she said it never did.

One day, when things once again got physical, Snipes decided it was time to leave. 

“I was scared. I was 3 months pregnant with this man’s child and feared him,” Snipes explained in a post published on the popular blogging site Love What Matters. “I left that night and never looked back.”

Snipes flew to her mother’s home in Arkansas to heal and learn “how to love [herself] again.” She then weighed her options, briefly considering abortion before deciding on adoption. She started researching adoption agencies in the area.

“I was discouraged and depressed,” she explained. “I was trying to imagine a place where my child was going to be nurtured and grow.”

She found comfort online, chatting with a man from North Carolina over a game called “League of Legends.” The pair grew close, and though she was eight months pregnant at the time, he told her he wanted to meet. So, she packed a bag and headed to the airport.

“We only had an hour together, but I felt as if we had been friends for years.”

– Samantha Snipes

“I ended up missing my [connecting] flight; little did I know it was for good reason. There is always a plan, a grand plan, even if we don’t exactly understand it at the time,” Snipes said. “This is where the light starts to radiate.”

Her “boyfriend” made some calls and found her another flight on standby. She took the first available seat on the next flight. She ended up sitting next to a cheerful woman named Temple Phipps, who befriended her instantly.

“Nervous as I was about the flight, I found comfort in getting to know her. We only had an hour together, but I felt as if we had been friends for years,” Snipes recalled.

On the short flight, Snipes discussed her heart-wrenching decision to put her child up for adoption and Phipps revealed she had always wanted children, but the opportunity just never presented itself. When the plane landed in North Carolina, the pair exchanged phone numbers.

“She knew I didn’t know anyone else in the area and before we parted ways, she gave me her number,” Snipes explained. “She told me to call should I ever find myself in trouble, in need of anything or if I wanted to talk more about adoption.”

Three days later, Snipes went into labor. After 12 minutes of pushing, she gave birth to a beautiful, 6-pound baby boy.

“She was in disbelief that I even asked her, a stranger, but a stranger that felt more like family to me than anyone.”

– Samantha Snipes

“He was healthy, and that is all that a mother could ever want,” Snipes wrote. “Yet, I still didn’t feel like a mother to the point that I should.”

The next day, Snipes decided to give Phipps a call.

“I told her I had the baby and needed someone to talk to,” Snipes said. “She agreed to come see me and keep me company.”

Phipps met Snipes in her hospital room, gushing over the newborn baby, later named Vaughn. She took Snipes up on her offer to feed the boy — and as she rocked the baby and a bottle in hand, Snipes saw a “light at the end of the tunnel.”

Samantha Snipes

Temple Phipps (left) Vaughn and Samantha Snipes (right) do a cake smash for Vaughn’s birthday.

 (Samantha Snipes/Instagram/@sammi_snaps_)

“We talked while she was there visiting and during our conversation I asked Temple if she would like to adopt my son as her own,” Snipes said. “She was caught so off-guard. She was in disbelief that I even asked her, a stranger, but a stranger that felt more like family to me than anyone.”

With tears in her eyes, Phipps agreed.

Now, nearly two years later, Snipes is happier than ever. She moved to North Carolina to be with her boyfriend and to visit Phipps and her son, Vaughn. The women live just an hour apart and talk daily.

She said she wanted to share her story to give other struggling women out there hope.

“I want everyone to know that even though the walls may feel as if they are closing in on you, if you just trust your heart and have faith, it will get better,” she advised. “I have met a love, as well as meeting a once in a lifetime friend. I couldn’t be happier!”

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