This year's Gerber baby shows that love is the most important part of building a family.
Magnolia Earl, who will celebrate her first birthday on Saturday, has made history after being announced on the 3rd hour of TODAY Friday as the latest Gerber baby, a tradition that dates back to 1928.
The company said Magnolia is the first Gerber baby who was adopted, becoming the company's latest groundbreaking spokesbaby in recent years. She follows in the baby steps of the first Gerber baby with Down syndrome and the first one of Hmong descent.
Magnolia's parents, Courtney and Russell Earl, were joined by Magnolia and their older daughters, Whitney, 12, and Charlotte, 8, for the sweet surprise on Friday.
"This is incredible," Courtney Earl said. "It means that when people see our families, or if you see a family that doesn't necessarily match, that you don't have to question the belonging of anybody in that family."
"Mommy always says a family is built on love," Russell Earl said. "We may all look different, but we're one family."
After having previously adopted Charlotte, the Earls brought home Magnolia a year ago after waiting six months for the phone call that she would be joining their family.
Courtney said they are still in regular contact with Magnolia's biological parents.
"We celebrate adoption in our family every single day," Courtney said. "The real hero in this story are Magnolia's birth parents. They chose her life, and they sent her on this incredible journey."
The proud mom said she spoke with her little girl's birth parents on Thursday about Magnolia being a Gerber finalist.
"If you could hear the joy in their voice of how proud they are of this little girl," Courtney said while holding back tears. "Together with them and our community and our family, we all this love this baby girl so much."
"She brings so much joy and happiness to everybody," Russell added.
The Gerber baby tradition with Ann Turner Cook, now 93, who has remained a beloved presence for the company. Cook even met 2018 winner Lucas Warren in person.
The selection of Magnolia, who is from Ross, California, comes on the 10th anniversary of the annual Gerber Photo Search, inspired by all the photos sent by parents who see their baby in Gerber's iconic logo.
"At Gerber, we have always recognized that every baby is a Gerber baby,'' the company said in a statement to TODAY. "In the 10 years we have hosted Photo Search, we have been proud to feature babies of diverse backgrounds. This year is no exception by featuring Magnolia, our first adopted Gerber Spokesbaby."
Magnolia will be featured on Gerber's social media channels and marketing campaigns for the next year. Her family also won a $25,000 prize and will be given $1,000 by Gerber Childrenswear, $1,000 from Walmart and phones with a year of unlimited free service from Verizon.
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