Q: What motivated you to adopt?
A: I thought for a long time about having a family. As different relationships came and went. I knew that I wanted the opportunity to be a mother. I knew that there were many children who needed “forever homes.” Knowing this helped motivate me to begin the adoption journey.
Q: What drew you to the specific country you adopted from?
A: I adopted from Haiti because, at the time, I was teaching English as a Second Language to adults in Boston, and many of my students were from Haiti. My students were so loving and kind to me. I felt so attached to my class that I didn’t really decide–I just knew that I was going to adopt from Haiti.
Q: How did you hear about CNF and how were you notified that you received the grant?
A: My adoption counselor, Chareyl Moyes, notified me via email. She was very helpful because she forwarded me the information so I could apply for the grant. When I read Chareyl’s email I was so surprised, excited and happy. It was a true blessing. At the time, I was looking into applying for a loan to help pay for the adoption. Receiving the grant lifted a huge burden from me.
Q: What words of encouragement do you have for those who worry about finances with adoption?
A: My words of encouragement would be to work with an excellent adoption agency that has many years of experience, then to work closely with a counselor to learn more about grants you may be eligible for.
Q: Tell us about your adoption journey
A: On October 22, 2019, my son Claudson finally came home. Getting to that amazing day was a long, slow process. As my adoption counselor often said, “It’s like a roller coaster.” In my case, the process took seven years. Throughout those years, I’ve probably experienced every emotion–from excited and hopeful to heartbroken and hopeless. What kept me motivated was my desire to be a mother. I wanted to experience that in my lifetime. I wanted to have a family.
Q: What advice do I have for other waiting families?
A: I’ve thought about this question a lot. Chareyl, my adoption counselor, often reminded me that every case is different and that it is not right to compare. I would like to say that I stayed strong throughout this process with my faith in God, but I had some dark moments. It is a roller coaster and you have to try to hold on. One thing that I wish I had been more focused on was the work that my counselor was doing (not just with me but with many other cases), the small staff in the social services agency in Haiti, the many other cases that they were working on and all of the documents that needed to be processed by different agencies in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
Q: Tell us what your experience was for Cluadson’s homecoming.
A: At the time, there were many riots happening in Haiti. The US Embassy consulates had to return to the U.S. because it was not safe in Port-au-Prince. A country with people who struggle so hard during normal times was put in an even more desperate situation when COVID-19 hit. Stores were closed, so food and water were scarce. And the rioting seemed to settle down and then flare-up again. Claudson would not be here with me right now if it wasn’t for the angels in Haiti that helped him.
During this turbulent time in Haiti where the streets of Port-au-Prince were extremely dangerous, the adoption escorts were very careful but determined to get Claudson home to me. They had to drive three hours to his orphanage to pick him up, and then drive him back to Port-au-Prince. Once they were back, the escort had to get his visa at the Embassy which was very dangerous. All of the stars aligned perfectly for him to come home.
The escort then boarded a plane with my son, and the two of them flew to Miami, Florida, where I met up with them and was finally reunited with my son. We all stayed together for a few hours for Claudson to feel comfortable with me. Later, the escort flew back home to Port-au-Prince, and Claudson and I flew home.
When I saw the escort holding Claudson, I didn’t know what to say to him. I didn’t know how to thank him for everything he did so that Claudson and I could be a family. Whenever I talk about this person, I always say he’s an angel. It was truly only the work that an angel could do.
Q: How is life post adoption?
A: Claudson’s homecoming was a whirlwind. I think I was in shock for some time because suddenly I was a mother. On Claudson’s tenth day at home, I had to bring him to urgent care. Claudson was diagnosed with pneumonia and an ear infection. Thank God the little guy quickly recovered. Changes in Claudson’s diet also led to digestive issues, and he had a condition from contaminated water. He had appointments with doctors and tests done, and his health was my main focus.
During the first month, I dedicated those weeks to bonding with my son. After that, Claudson slowly started to meet different members of his family (grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins). Everyone was so anxious for my son to come home that when Claudson did come home, they were ecstatic. One of my sister’s didn’t mention it to anyone and drove to my house with her baby so she could be the first one to meet her new little nephew. Since then Claudson has spent lots of time at his Auntie’s house playing with his four cousins.
We have many family gatherings, and everyone is always so happy to see Claudson. Of course, it’s a little hard for Gangan and Papa to get Claudson away from playing with his cousins, so we make some 1:1 time with them.
Q: How has your life changed?
A: In every way possible! My friend, Mayra, who has three children, tried to tell me how different my life would be once Claudson arrived, but I had no idea. When I stop and look back on all of the events, I can’t believe it. I’m sitting here typing on my laptop and Claudson is right across from me, sitting on the couch and watching one of his favorite kids’ shows. There’s a huge puzzle of a barn on the floor, lego towers, monster trucks,… This is my new life now, and I LOVE it! Claudson is now going to preschool, and he loves it! All of his teachers are so inspired by this little guy who has adapted so well. For me, the biggest blessing is having this life experience of being Claudson’s mother.
The Stahl family adopted with: Wasatch International Adoption Agency