The adoption process for LaShanda (Quin ’01) and C.J. Del Balso became an opportunity for soul searching about how they would start a family and what they could offer a child.
“The hardest part of the process was being honest with ourselves about what challenges we were willing and able to commit to,” LaShanda says.
The Del Balsos share their story as we continue our series about Abilene Christian University alumni who have followed their hearts to adopt. LaShanda works in risk management for the Union Pacific Railroad, and C.J., is director of technology for Prince of Peace Christian School. They live in North Richland Hills, Texas, with their daughter Chassity.
Love that Transcends
My husband and I met in Abilene in 1999 when I was an ACU sophomore and he was a sophomore at Hardin-Simmons University. After graduating in 2001, we moved to California. In 2010, our lives changed again, when we returned to Texas. I thought it was a simple job relocation; however, larger divine plans were at work.
After having some very candid conversations, we decided to explore adoption. What initially began as an “exploration” quickly became our first option to start a family. We joined our church’s adoption support group and learned more about the adoption process. Once the decision to adopt was reached, we moved forward by choosing an adoption agency.
The hardest part of the process was being honest with ourselves about what challenges we were willing and able to commit to, in regards to children with mental and physical disabilities. For me, my heart broke every time we declined to move forward with a proposed child. It was truly a heart-aching time, but a purely genuine and honest reflection on what is in the “best interest of the child.” We even experienced the rejection of not being chosen as the adoption parents.
We also encountered the decision of transracial adoption. Our interracial relationship added the unforeseen hurdle of adopting a child that will look different from one of his or her parents. If African-American, the child would look different from his or her father but just like his or her mother, and vice-versa. After 13 years of marriage, race differences had become a nonissue. The adoption process forced us to evaluate our decision based on what we could offer the child by way of unmitigated love that transcends defined racial barriers.
Throughout it all, we learned that children are a blessing uniquely designed for a family. On Nov. 21, 2014 – National Adoption Day – Chassity became a permanent, legally recognized member of our family. We were so delighted to be able to finalize our adoption on such a special day.
In the weeks to come, we will introduce you to other alumni who help make a real difference in the world – and enrich their own families – by adopting and fostering children. If you have an adoption story or photos you would like to share with us, please email Robin Saylor, firstname.lastname@example.org, by Dec. 24.
You can follow new stories in this series on the ACU Facebook page.
See previous posts in this series: