Secondly… when we first started the process… there were so many people who immediately want to tell you the horror stories and speak yuckiness about what “could” happen and I feel like it is so important for the good stories… the stories of healing… the stories of God’s faithfulness to be shared so that others can be encouraged and challenged and open up the adoption conversation for more families.
And honestly, the last reason for me moving forward to share these stories… is this whole process really has been stinking hard and I think it’s easy to feel defeated and discouraged but yet there is something about the stories of families who are on the other side of this process… the ones that have made it through… those are the ones that keep me encouraged. I want the series to post on Mondays… Mondays are the days that Jax has had visits with his birth momma and those days are stinking hardest for us so it seemed like the perfect day to seek out some inspiration and share it with others. I feel like we are still in the midst of the beautiful heartache of foster adoption and we still have a lot of story left to write in our adventure but I began thinking about who inspired us to learn more about adoption for our family and I believe there are so many incredible adoption stories and I can’t help but want to be the one to share the good stuff… the stories of families radically changed forever by the blessing of adoption. I want you to find those stories here! You can read more about our story by clicking here…
Tell us a little bit about your family…
I am Melissa, aka mom. The muti-tasker, social planner, cupboard and drawer organizer, emotion driven, non cooking parent in the home. I am a special education teacher by day and crafter by night. Married to Juan, aka dad. The calm, logical, non organized, but gourmet cooking parent in the home. If you were peering through the windows of our home, on most nights you would find our daughter Ellie dancing to Disney princess music while mommy and daddy laugh and clap along or you’d find us chasing after our soccer ball dribbling 2 ½ year old. It’s a busy, loud, crazy life we lead, but we love it!
– What drew you to adoption?
When we used to take walks during the 5 years we dated before marriage, we always talked about our dream of having a family. Juan is 1 of 5 children and I am one of 2. We both grew up in and continue to be a part of very tight knit families. One thing that attracted both of us to one another was that family was a priority to both of us. We both wanted to be parents and even though nobody on either side of our families had ever adopted, interestingly enough, during those long walks and talks, adoption came up. We naturally assumed we’d have some biological children and adopt others in need of a loving family. We were married in 2006 and started trying to make our little family instantly. After almost 5 years of not conceiving naturally, we turned our focus on growing our family and making our dreams come true through adoption.
It was never on our hearts to do any fertility treatments or seek more in depth answers from doctors. We accepted that we could not have children. We both knew in our hearts that the most important thing was being able to parent and it didn’t matter how our children came to us, just that we had the opportunity to share life with children giving them unconditional love. We wanted the opportunity to teach them to be kind, generous, and sensitive to others while being confident enough to stand up for what is right. We’d hoped to be able to impart to them honesty, integrity, and the value of hard work. Most importantly that they would grow up to be God fearing people who contribute to their community for the betterment of those around them. We also agreed that since we were to be first time parents, we really wanted the experience of raising a child from birth.
So then the question remained, what do you do next? Where do you go? Who do you contact? We prayed fervently that God would show us some sign and lead us forward to our next steps. And those prayers were heard and answered BIG TIME! Through crafting, I came in contact with a gal who’s now a dear friend of mine. Her and her husband ( who later became our pastor) had two children that they’d adopted through Bethany Christian. Just days after that, I got a facebook request from a gal whom I didn’t know, but I could see she “liked” Bethany Christian on her fb page. So while fulfilling her crafting request, I casually mentioned what her link was with Bethany and she told me that her son was adopted with the help of Bethany Christian. So there it was, right in front of us like blinking neon signs pointing in the direction we needed to go.
Those first two contacts came in late Fall of 2009, in January 2010, Juan and I attended an information seminar at Bethany Christian to begin the process. It was a whirlwind getting the papers finished, interviews scheduled, CPR classes done, fingerprinting passed, physical exams completed, and finally the home inspection done. We were all ready to create our “waiting family” profile by Spring and it didn’t take long after that to be chosen by a birth mother. On our way home from a couples retreat down south, (on the I-5 passing smelly Coalinga to be precise) we received a call from our fabulous social worker to ask us if we’d like to meet a birth mother that had chosen our profile. OH MY LORD…all I can say is our faces hurt from smiling and there were instant tears of joy, we were so excited! So a week later in the middle of May, we met the young lady who would change our lives forever. What was awkward and nerve wrecking walking in, turned into something that felt like a family reunion. It was truly amazing and we both know without a doubt, it was orchestrated by God. We left that lunch meeting in awe. Before we had left our birthmom had already told us that she didn’t want to wait, she didn’t want to meet anyone else, she was certain we were “the one”.
Two weeks after that, on June 11, 2010 our sweet angel was born. We were so blessed to be there in the wee hours of the morning as she took her first breaths and it’s one of Juan’s most precious moments feeding her for the first time. Those hours and days in the hospital had so many ups and downs emotionally and of course, we were so tired. We treasured the time spent with our birth mom. While initially we’d planned to have a separate room at the hospital, it didn’t work out that way because they were impacted and didn’t have space. (another GODLY orchestration!) So during those middle of the night and early morning hours, it gave us time to sit and talk about life and learn more about her and her journey. I will never forget those conversations as long as I live. Through those open, honest, tearful conversations, I grew to love this young lady much like a sister. Learning her journey helped me to respect her so much more than I already did. She was a wealth of wisdom and maturity, something we know for certain we weren’t at that age.
The day of discharge, the day we thought we were looking forward to, ended up being one of the hardest in the whole adoption process. It was time for us to go our separate ways. Honestly, this was the part neither of us had thought about and yet, it was the most difficult. Watching our birth mom slowly, carefully, and tearfully walk out of the hospital empty handed as we waited to sign paperwork brought a surge of emotions so strong that I, as a mother, could not stand. Many people do not talk about this grief, this sadness, the guilt that one person is giving you a gift so precious that you could never have the words or any gift to return to Thank them. This woman carried and cared for this precious life for 9 months and we were left to celebrate with our loved ones and carry this bundle of joy out those hospital doors and care for the rest of our lives. I felt like my heart was being ripped out of my chest, sobbing, heaving, I couldn’t breathe. The only comfort I found during this time of sadness was reflecting on one of those middle of the night conversations in that hospital room between she and I where she told me “I didn’t know how this happened to me, I didn’t understand why God would let me get pregnant when he knows my struggles, but after I met you two, I realized why. I realized it was God’s plan all along for me to meet you and give you the family you’ve wanted for so long, and I know you will be fabulous parents.” With that locked away deep in my heart and with the constant prayers over us from so many, we were able to make it out those hospital doors and on the road home.
-How did the adoption become official and how did you feel when you knew she was home to stay?
The finalization of the adoption actually took us quite awhile! Since our family was united in 6 short months, we hadn’t finished paying off the fees just yet. So we made monthly payments and finally in May of 2011, we were ready to head to the courtroom and get those papers legally signed by the judge. For us, this was just a process, a time when the papers would finally match what our hearts had already decided long ago, that this was our daughter!
– What has God taught you through this process?
Many things, first off, we’ve learned that HIS timing is not our timing and that HIS plan is always FAR BETTER than anything we’ve planned or imagined for ourselves. We’ve learned to be patient and wait on HIM. Even know as we talk about starting the process again and bringing home a brother or sister for our Ellie, we know that it’s not about our plans, but HIS and when the time is right, HE will lead us. We’ve also learned so much more about HIS love for us, HIS grace and mercy. Interesting how the journey of parenting and learning to work with blossoming personalities helps you reflect on your own personality and how much we are loved and forgiven time and time again by God, our Father. When we say “blossoming personalities”, keep in mind, our Ellie is 2 ½ years old now, so you can see that “blossoming” is a kind way of putting this time in her life J We do our best to have patience because we know HE has patience with us everyday. We know that God is good and HE is faithful and we pray that when HE feels we are ready, HE will bless us again with another child.
-Reaching out to others-
During and after our adoption journey, I felt a prompting on my heart to help other families like us who were not familiar with adoption. I contacted a dear friend and together, we formed the group Families like Us. Families like us is a local (central valley) group of people that meet monthly to discuss the lifelong journey of adoption. It’s for those considering adoption, going through the process of adoption, or raising adopted children. We gather to discuss the journey, to learn information so we can be advocates in our communities for adoption, and to gain strength through relationships with one another. We have several social events throughout the year, guest speakers, and fundraisers. You can find us on facebook at FAMILIES LIKE US or contact Melissa Lozoya or Alicia Klippenstein.
Thank you… Thank you… Thank you to Melissa & Juan for sharing your story! I love that every story is so powerful and I am especially thankful for the way you guys have loved on and supported your local community as others go through this too!
And for more information about Bethany Christian Services… You can contact them at (530) 224-7700 Bethany Christian Services
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