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Haiti Adoption

Summary: Seeing Jesus in the light switch single adoptive moms bond through Heartbeat Ministry.

“Life has been like nothing I had ever imagined,” says Christy Bain, as she scoops daughters Mimi, 5, and Violet, 3 ½, into a bear hug. “We became a family quickly, it seems.”

Christy, who is single, adopted Mimi and Violet from Haiti last May. Christy’s first trip to Haiti, in May of 2001, was an exploratory journey. Interested in adoption, she went “with an open mind” to volunteer at an orphanage in Port-au-Prince. There, she fell in love with biological siblings Mimi and Violet.

“I tried to look ahead a couple of years and imagine how I would explain not bringing them both home,” says Christy. That thought swayed her. The night the girls arrived home a year later, “they crawled into bed and hugged each other as they fell asleep.” At that moment, Christy knew that adopting both girls was God’s intended plan. “They sing and dance and talk together all day long,” says Christy.

As the family settles into their new lives, Christy continuously guides her daughters through what she describes as “an enormous cultural adjustment. They’d never been in a car or a grocery store. They’re fascinated by running water and by anything electrical, like the refrigerator, dishwasher, and microwave,” says Christy. “When Mimi first turned on a light switch, she was convinced Jesus was in the light switch because, in her mind, that was the only way the lights could possibly turn on.”
Throughout her journey to adoption, Christy has received support from participants in University Presbyterian Church’s (Seattle) Heartbeat Ministry. The goal of the ministry is to “hold people’s hearts” – to share Christ’s encouragement with those who wait for a child through birth or adoption.
Two years ago, Christy attended Heartbeat’s Exploring Adoption workshops – a series of classes intended to acquaint people with the adoption process. “After taking that class, I was like an adoption reference book,” laughs Christy.

Upon completion of the class, several single women who had attended the workshops formed a support group. They’ve been meeting twice a month ever since. Some of the dozen or so women who attend are evaluating whether they want to become adoptive parents; others are actively pursuing adoption; still others are new moms.

Their format is informal and inviting – they often meet at a restaurant for dinner and update each other on the progress of their adoptions. Other times, they lounge on the “comfy chairs” in UPC’s Narthex. One night, they examined their own biases about adopting children of color. Another time, they discussed the pros and cons of single parenthood, and they strategized ways to include male role models in their children’s’ lives.
During what is often a long and rocky adoption process, participants uphold one another in love. “Whether we meet that week or not, we’re in close contact with each other and are really supportive of one another,” says Christy.

While parenting is at times overwhelming, Christy has discovered advantages to adopting two daughters. “They’re close in age, so they’re happy to play with each other. I even have some time to talk on the phone,” she marvels. Like most parents, Christy reflects on the past year and comments, “It has gone so fast I haven’t had time to think. The girls are happy and healthy, and I feel so blessed. It’s been wonderful…sheer happiness.”


Single moms discuss adoption

By Laura Christianson

At one of their meetings, participants in a singles adopting support group discussed their thoughts about parenthood.

Why did you intentionally decide to become a single adoptive parent?
For the same reasons that anybody decides to become a parent. I’m starting out without a partner, but I may not remain so forever. For married parents, the future is also uncertain – they don’t know whether their child will get sick or die, or whether their marriage will end in divorce. My desire to become a parent supersedes my fears about becoming a parent.

What are some of the challenging aspects of becoming a single parent?
Finding daycare. Because adoptive parents don’t have a specific “due date,” it’s often difficult to get placed on a daycare center’s waiting list.
Feeling isolated. When I was waiting for my child, all my friends offered to help. Once my child arrived home, most of those friends were too busy with their own lives to help. The Heartbeat support group is great, because, as more of us become mothers, we can trade play dates and rely on each other to understand our unique parenting challenges.

Defending my child against racial discrimination. My child is the only person of color in her Sunday school class. She gets a lot of attention showered on her because of her color. If I were walking around with a white child, I would never be approached. Some people ask me if I’m baby sitting, and others I’ve run across subtly use racial innuendo. That hurts.

What’s the best thing about being a single parent?
My parenting is consistent. Experts say that when you bring a child into a relationship, it tests the marriage. With single parenting, there’s no arguing about discipline strategies. I love the one-on-one time I have with my child, too.


These stories were originally published in the UPC Times, University Presbyterian Church, Seattle, WA. Laura Christianson is a freelance writer who specializes in adoption issues and the mother of two adopted children. Visit her adoption blog at http://adoptionblogs.typepad.com.

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