Wonder Woman: Single Mom Adoption and Entrepreneurship
Intro by: Jill
We often hear stories of single mothers being born out of necessity and not by choice. It takes an incredible woman to take her future into her own hands and become a mother on her own terms. Lisa, our newest wonder woman, had a pivotal moment in her life and dared to take on the challenge. Lisa shares with us how her adopting journey unfolds while masterfully multitasking her 3 businesses that bring more love and joy into this world.
Here is her story:
I was 41, divorced, and children were just not part of my life plan at that time. I always was drawn to adopting a child and it was something that I knew at one point in my life. There was a pivotal point I came to where I knew I wanted a family and I knew it was the right time. There are so many children who needed homes and so I started looking into it. I met with social workers and kind of went from there. Then all of a sudden I knew that this is what I would be doing and I was drawn specifically to Guatemala. Although I had other options from other countries, Guatemala is where ultimately my future son was.
Adopting as a single mom 14 years ago was pretty tough because there were so many couples who were looking to adopt children. Guatemala was open to adopting to single parents and I was always drawn to the culture so it kind of fell into place. I just had a knowing that my son was there. It was inexplicable. I just knew. I didn’t question it. So I didn’t look into other programs or other countries. I just knew. It’s difficult to wrap your head around that feeling and that sense of just “knowing” and when I saw his picture? Immediately I knew.
Going through with adoption is such a long process, the paperwork and what you have to go through to prove that you are a fit parent, local clearance, state clearance, federal clearance, fingerprinting, background checks to prove that you are going to be a good parent for this little one. It takes time for notarizing and communicating with the embassies. From beginning to end… it was about a year long process. During this time I would receive monthly updates from the time he was a newborn and I saw his first picture until the day he came home when he was a little over 6 months old. My brother actually traveled with me to Guatemala to pick him up and bring him home.
Those First moments:
The single most wondrous moment in my life was meeting Mateo for the first time face to face. It was powerful. Time stood still. I held him and I could feel his little heartbeat for the first time and I just I cried. The rhythm of his heart and the stillness of that moment was an absolute miracle. That's where I drew on this moment for my Many Hearts One Beat - an adoption keepsake company. Because there are so many people involved to make this happen, at that moment, all the hearts on this journey, all that love came to that moment and all beat into one. However you become a parent is a miracle and it can be so hard to try and put into words those first moments other than it was just an absolute miracle.
I had 100% support from all of my friends and family on this journey. There was not one person who discouraged me or was negative about adoption on any level, in anyway. Going out of the country to adopt, people can hear the likely criticism of, “Oh there are so many children here in the US who need to be adopted”. In my book, there are no boundaries to love and a child needing a family. There are no state lines, country lines… kids are kids and they need homes. Whether it’s someone down the road or someone 5,000 miles away, a baby is a baby and a child is a child and so many kids need homes. No one in my family or friends discouraged me; in fact, I could not have done this without them all. They were an amazing support system. I am very fortunate that I have great family and friends.
Ever since I was a kid, I would sell apples and berries in a little roadside stand so I have always had that entrepreneurship in me. When I moved from Florida to New York, I almost worked with an ad agency for design, but something in me wanted to see if I could make it happen for myself first. I started Many Hearts One Beat (Adoption Keepsakes) about a year after my son came home. I was inspired to give everyone little keepsakes from those who helped my son and I on this journey. So I decided to get my own thing going and offer that to other families and I have been doing that for 14 years now. It’s a secondary business to my core business - Carpe Diem Designs, Inc. - a design firm.
I am touched and honored by my customer’s feedback. It happens a few times a year when I get an email that will tell me the impact it had on the receiver of the Many hearts One Beat adoption keepsake. Our gifts encompass all in the adoption triad...birth families, adoptive families and/or the adoptee. Whether it was the birth mother who was giving the gift to their adopted child, it’s absolutely humbling to hear them opening up and telling us about their stories. It means the world to me just to know that our gifts were having such an impact as keepsakes. Those moments solidify it for me, to make it work and keep working on what we are doing.
I started this company with my sister, we were brainstorming one day. She lives in California, we are in New York. She transplanted out there and with kids and families scattered, we talked about the need to send a little something to people whether it is friends or family. Just to let them know that you are thinking about them. You can go on Amazon to look for something or go to the store to shop for something but because of the day of age of the internet, it is easy to just go online. We thought it would be interesting to bring something to the table for when someone wants to send something a little more than just a card. More meaningful than a gift card and more sentimental than just sending flowers. So we started brainstorming about how cool would it be to come up with a little gift box company that is all inclusive to make it quick, simple, and easy to send thoughtful gifts to people. Our gift boxes can be inspirational, humorous or used to lift spirits so that’s how Wee Box of Cheer was born! It is a lot of hard work because we are pretty new right now. We do the fulfilling, my sister is the buyer so she is getting all the products; she then ships it to me and I do all the packaging and shipping for the boxes that are ordered. There is so much variety in our Wee Box of Cheer that customers get to pick and customize for just $25.99. You can complete your order within minutes.
Words of Wisdom:
If you could go back to the beginning before the starting these companies and before adopting your son… what is one piece of advice you would give yourself?
Personally, what I would say to myself is to slow down and not put so much pressure on where I should be at a certain point in my life at a certain age. I don’t think that is what it's about and I wish that I had known that. I wish I did not put that on myself. I would tell myself to slow down and enjoy the journey allowing everything play out as it should. Your past goes where it goes, to some extent, you have control over it and to some extent you don’t. It doesn’t matter if you have your first child when you are 20 and it doesn’t matter if you have your child at 40. It doesn’t matter if you start a business at 25 or if you are 60. You don’t have to label it like that and you don’t have to get caught up in that mindset. I think that is the one thing I would’ve changed. It’s important to work hard and have goals but do not restrict it to what you think it should be.
Check out Lisa’s businesses here: