Tell a little bit about your adoption journey.
I’m a single mom who became involved with adoption following becoming a foster parent in 2001. My first three children were adopted through foster care. My 11-year-old came first at three days old and was adopted at age 2. My 14-year-old came next at age 3 1/2 and was adopted at 6. My 9-year-old came last at age 9 months and was adopted at 3.
In between and also before, I parented many other foster children as a temporary placement from anywhere between one night to a year until they went on somewhere else or returned home. When my youngest was 4, we decided as a family to enter the international adoption “world” and bring home another member to our family. Foster care wasn’t as “needed” in our area and we hadn’t had a placement in a couple of years. We also knew we had more room and love to give.
We first hosted a 15 year old from Latvia for a summer and helped advocate for a family for him. His amazement at our little house which was a mansion to him was all we needed to see that though we lived simply, we had much to share. We began searching and felt like God led us to Dillon, but we actually began in the Hong Kong program.
After almost 18 months and being close to a referral, we had to make a hard decision to potentially switch due to Hong Kong limiting adoptions to single parents. We felt again that God was leading us and switched to the Haiti program. We were given our referral of Macy in January 2013. It amazed me that she was born the same week we felt led to enter into an adoption, back in the spring of 2010. We knew this was meant to be and how God planned our journey all along.
What words of wisdom or encouragement would you share with others who are just beginning their Haiti adoption journey?
The wait was difficult. I knew it would be long and was prepared for that. The hardest parts were when things were out of my control and just not being done as quickly as I would have done them myself and I found myself waiting on others for doctor reports, references, or other paperwork.
I focused on prayer, talking with fellow adoptive parents, starting a Dillon Haiti Facebook group, and spent time with my other kids. There were many ups along the way as well when others would travel to the orphanage and send along pictures and stories, bring gifts, etc.
As great as this was it was also so bittersweet, seeing her grow up in pictures and watching as others were there to hold and play with her. Not being able to comfort her when she was sick or watch her laugh and learn were difficult. But all along I knew this was where God had planned us to be. Especially now that she’s home, I KNOW Macy was meant to be ours. She was meant to be part of us. We just took a while to get to each other.
What were some of the challenges and joys you have faced since your daughter’s arrival?
There have been so many incredible joys since bringing Macy home. We have loved all of her “firsts” — exploring the new faucets that keep water coming automatically, all the new clothes and toys that are now hers and hers alone, learning English like a champ, going to a hotel, swimming, amusement parks, restaurants. It’s so fun to see her delight in simple things we take for granted often. Some of the challenges have not been challenges to the extreme by any means.
I’ve read up on trauma and attachment, food issues and bedtime concerns, and we’ve (knock on wood) had NONE of those to deal with. Two weeks after coming home my oldest daughter ended up in the hospital for a week, it was hard to say the least and there was a day I had to leave Macy with a friend. It was hard for her but she rallied back and has done such an incredible job going “all in” with our family.
She has claimed us from the beginning and has not looked back, and we feel the same. There have definitely been times that she has grieved, and does grieve, for those left behind. But it’s such a good thing to see and be able to help her through.
She cared greatly for her house mom and friends and they for her. It’s so easy to tell how very much she was loved and cared for. And that has made such a huge impact that will carry through her life. Her older siblings love her and are so good with her. She is starting to push some buttons and try to get her way but it’s such a typical five year old response that it’s great and I love seeing it and helping her through those feelings.
What are some “firsts” or milestones your family has encountered on your journey?
The first time Macy said, “I love you Mom,” on her own, on her terms, not just repeating back … amazing! One of the funniest times was her first time watching Snow White. She was just appalled that Snow White was going to eat that apple. She kept repeating, “Don’t eat it! Don’t eat it!” so cute!!!
Her showing us how she can write in cursive (they learn cursive very young there) and tie her shoes and fold clothes, things my 9-year-old can’t even do yet … amazing.
Interested in adopting from Haiti? Our Haiti program officially reopened to new families Jan. 15. You can learn more here.