Open Hearts – Stories of Adoption
Kaz & Maureen Grzeslak and Maria
Adoption was simply a miracle of life for us. It allowed us to overcome infertility!
After realizing our family would not grow biologically, we investigated our options and chose to adopt. We had a negative image of adoption - bad press, a lengthy and bureaucratic time-line, the unforeseeable surprises and disappointments along the way. However, once we accepted these challenges and decided to jump in anyway, we began the count down to growing our family, God willing. It took us some time to change gears and be at peace answering our own questions. (Is this just what we want, is this what God wants? Do we have the faith and stamina for this? Go domestic or international?)
After discussing and evaluating our options, we chose international adoption. Coming from two different cultures and experiences (american and polish), it just fitted our comfort level the best. While it added time to the process length and paper-chasing parts of adopting, it also gave us a projected time-line and end point, even if loosely based (and certainly not guaranteed).
After about two years of interviews, document gathering and translating, collecting letters of reference, health certificates, proof of employment and insurance, background checks, fingerprinting and waiting, we finally had a name and a face (interestingly, the name and the face was from a different continent than we had originally thought we would adopt from). Three months later we were able to meet and hold our daughter-to-be, and began hoping and waiting for the day we could bring her home but first we had to return to the US without her as the paper work was not finished. We didn't know when we parted, but it would be another 6 months before the legal process would be completed. In the end God gave us a beautiful gift that brought us a new life and refreshes us continuously as she grows.
Tim & Lynn Mark and Family
Tim and I were married at St. Marie in 1994. We welcomed into the world our first biological children, Abigail in 1996 and John in 1998. Soon thereafter, I saw an ad on television about China adoption and proposed to Tim that we could adopt and that we should try. In 2002, Anna Xiu-Ting, age 10 months, came home from China. We thought how wonderful it would be if we could adopt another daughter, specifically so that the girls could share their story of abandonment and be friends as well as siblings. Our decision led us to bring home Sarah Chen-Guo, age 3 ½, in 2005. Sarah and Anna, just sixteen months apart, have very different personalities but are very good friends. The following Spring, inspired by the Holy Spirit, Tim felt the desire for another son. We decided to adopt from Korea this time and eventually found Aaron Min-Chan. We adopted him in early 2007 when he was just five months old. That same year, I conceived a baby. We lost that son, Tobias John, through miscarriage but through the many prayers said for us, we found healing very soon thereafter. In 2009, I gave birth to Leah Kateri.
The one thing that Tim and I would want people to know is that whenever God puts adoption on your heart, He will always provide the means necessary to make it happen. It is a beautiful way to build a family.
Marc & Kitty Larochelle and Family
After a year or so of just being friends we began to date each other in the spring of 1985. As we began to learn about each other our discussions eventually led to our hopes, wishes and dreams. A repeated topic we discussed was our shared desire to have a family and that children would be a blessing no matter how they entered our family!
We were married on Valentine’s Day ‘88 and were quickly blessed by our first son, Christopher, that same year on Christmas Day. In January ’91 he was paired with our second son, Timothy. We were thrilled with the nonstop energy of our two boys but continued to pray for a daughter. God blessed us with a six year “gap” to regain our energy for another set of boys, Jonathan in ‘96 and Nicholas in ’98. How humorous God’s plan for our family seemed to be but we welcomed and were very grateful for what some referred to as our little baseball team. All through this “boy” time, however, we repeatedly joked with our family that our daughter was awaiting us in China (we even jokingly referred to her as Ling-Ling Larochelle).
One quiet night Marc came to bed to a sobbing wife. “There’s someone missing”, Kitty said. “I feel like there’s something missing in my heart”. “We need to have a daughter!” For sixteen years Marc had heard similar words from Kitty but that night he was finally convinced and agreed to look into adoption…
Answering God’s call to an oversea adoption, our journey began in 2004 to adopt an infant girl, Chong Ai Juan, in the province of JiangXi, China who needed us as much as we needed her. After a year of paperwork, adoption training, fundraising, fingerprinting…we left our four boys in the care of friends and family for three weeks to fly half way around the world to China. In February of 2005 we received into our arms the missing piece of our family’s heart, Karina Rose Ai Juan. Karina immediately melded with us and her four brothers and our family forever. Our family was complete…or so we thought. God had other plans!
In 2008 we took a risk to close on a larger home for our family without selling our current home (typical conditions for a short-sale). The week that our home went for sale, the stock market crashed causing home sales to come to a stall…we were very concerned! After nearly two months of hardly a “nibble on our old house God took away our worries by “speaking” to us at mass on 11/16/08. God clearly whispered into Marc’s heart that “There is one more”, meaning another child. The Gospel reading that Sunday was Mt 25:14-30, the parable of the talents. This scripture reading, in combination with Fr. Marc Montminy’s homily, made it so clear that God was going to find a buyer for our home because he was calling us to “invest” some of the proceeds (talents) of the sale of our home to adopt another child. After four months of paying two mortgages we had run out of cash. In God’s perfect timing it was then that we found a buyer and closed on our old home-praise the Lord!
Kitty wasted no time and immediately began the rigorous process of bringing our new daughter, Feng Xin Xin, home. In May of 2010 we were once again standing in the JiangXi province receiving our second daughter, Maria Violet Xin Xin. Just like Karina, she came home and immediately blended in with her new family. Maria has completed our family! …or at least as far as we know today.
The one who had received five talents came forward bringing the additional five. He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents. See, I have made five more.' His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’ Matt 25:20-21