Adoption Stories: La Familia Gellona Lyons

Adoption stories can help you get an idea of what you’re in for if you are interested in adoption. No two adoption stories are alike. Whether you are struggling creating a family, or if your family just appears on your doorstep, I hope my best friend’s story brings love and joy to your journey. Sarah, Piero, and Leidy live in Santiago, Chile. This is Sarah’s story about their daughter Leidy:

Adopting was never in my plans. I suppose that having kids was, but even that wasn’t a high priority. So when a 5-year-old Haitian girl was abandoned at my door 3 years ago, I had a lot to think about and even more to learn.

First I had to decide what to do with her; I could turn her over to the Chilean version of CPS, or I could file paperwork to try to keep her. I wasn’t thinking about having a child at this point, and I certainly hadn’t considered adopting, much less a child that could already walk, and talk and had a head full of memories. Nonetheless, after spending a few days with her, there was no doubt that I couldn’t leave her to a life of orphanages and foster care, knowing that 5-year-olds aren’t usually adopted very easily. That is when I decided to fight to keep her.

Then I had to learn how to raise her. What can 5-year-olds do? What do they know? Where should she go to school? What do I do with her afro-braided hair? How do I communicate with her if her Spanish is minimal and my creole is nothing?  I started little by little, with a lot of support from friends and family, and a whole lot of Google for help. She’s still alive today, and even more than that she is happy, healthy, energetic, loving and witty, so I must be doing something right (although I think her personality has a lot to do with it!). She gets good grades in school (we could improve on her chatting in class though!), speaks better Spanish now than I do, is rocking awesome purple hair extensions currently, and has so many friends in her school and our neighborhood.

Through the days, weeks, months and now years, we have gotten to know each other, love each other and form what most would consider a totally normal family. It isn’t usually until someone else points out that she is black and I am white (which is often.. racism is alive and kicking in Chile) that I remember that there are some physical differences between us. It is amazing how often people make comments like this or ask us questions that I don’t know how to answer, but at the same time know that adoption is sometimes a hard thing to understand, especially in a country where it isn’t very common.  “But where are her parents?” We are right here, raising her and loving her every day. She doesn’t think of anyone else as her parents, and neither do we, so we are right here. “Do you think you’ll love your own kids more than you love her?” I think it takes a lot of courage to love a child that you haven’t loved since before their birth, so no, I don’t think that I will love my other children (not “my own”, because she is my own) more than I love her.

It is also awesome to see how naturally she reacts to everything. She often says that we are so alike, that we walk and talk alike, that we have the same mannerisms, so “maybe people will get us confused when I am a little bit older. ” Or when people comment on how tall she is, she always says it is because her mom is tall, as if she had my genes. She has even learned how to avoid all of the typical questioning that we get. A few months ago we went to a water park. As we walked in she could barely contain her excitement, so she walked up to the counter and told the man “Hi. We are a different type of family. I am from Haiti, my dad is from Chile and my mom is from the US. I am adopted. Now we would like 3 tickets please to the water park.” No time for questions, sir.

As a family are currently living a totally new experience as we await another baby at the beginning of next year. She can’t wait to be a big sister– only if it is a girl though. She has taken it so naturally, is very excited and not an ounce of doubt or fear exists in her that this baby will replace her or be loved any more being my biological child.

I know that adoption is a big decision, and can be long and costly. In our case it has all been worth it. It has been so natural, so fun and so rewarding to have Leidy join our family.

“Adopting one child wont change the world. But for that one child the world will change.”

“However motherhood comes to you – it’s a miracle.” Much love to my best friend and her growing family. ♥️

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The Infertility Doula

I am a infertile woman with no biological children. My infertility stems from endometriosis and adenomyosis. I work and live in Duluth, Minnesota. I am married with five dogs and have an adult stepdaughter.

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