Monday, May 13, 2013

52 People Project - Liliana Gullo Ross

This is part 3 of my 52 People Project where I reflect on individuals who I have had the honor to walk side by side with in this journey called life.

Liliana Gullo Ross

In 2005, I started volunteering at Crisis Pregnancy Outreach. It was around July when I picked Liliana up to take her to see her doctor. She was quiet but engaging. She told me a few details of her story and had an entertaining conversation with my 3 year old, Foster who kept calling her Ms Arianna instead of Ms Liliana. From our conversation, it was pretty clear that she had made up her mind to parent the son she was expecting and she had selected a family as her Plan B. 

Jason and I had chosen to pursue adoption after struggling with infertility. Crisis Pregnancy Outreach is an agency that places children in families through Open Adoption. Birth mothers get to chose who will parent their child and an open relationship is established between the birth mom and the adoptive family. I was drawn to this concept because I believe there is so much power in honesty and openness and adoption is an amazing act of LOVE! 

In December, our phone rang with the news that there was a girl who wanted to meet with us about placement. I was told that I may remember her...her name was Liliana, that I had given her a ride to a doctor's appointment months earlier. She had given birth to Caleb in September. She loved him deeply and felt that adoption was the right choice for her son. There was something so special about the moment we sat down with Liliana, her parents, her sister and baby Caleb. We instantly felt like family.

A day later, we learned that we were chosen to be Caleb's parents. 

On December 27th, several cars pulled into our long driveway. Liliana arrived with Caleb, her parents and her 5 siblings. It was a emotional time as Liliana so bravely handed me her baby boy and trusted that I would love him with as much deep tenderness and genuine love as she did. I was honored and humbled by her trust. 

When Liliana drove away that night with her family and I held Caleb in my arms, I ached. My heart broke for the pain that Liliana must have been feeling. How could I ever truly thank her for this gift? We were not sure exactly what the relationship was going to look like. She asked for time to heal and I respected that. But only a few days later, she called me and we talked. Our friendship began and we developed a genuine love for each other. 

Liliana and I have been friends now for over 7 years. I love her more with each passing  year. She is married to an amazing man who spoils her rotten ;) They have 3 boys who keep her running. We typically find time to spend each holiday with the Gullos...we basically find any excuse to get together and eat good food and laugh. They feel like an extension of us. I love them like family. 

Liliana is an amazing birth-mom. She does a great job making sure Caleb AND Foster know that she loves them. Caleb knows that he was in her tummy and knows that I am his "mom". It seems normal to him. He feels so special knowing that so many people love him. 

There are no amount of words that I could string together to express how thankful I am for the gift Lilana gave us. I love her with all my heart and I am so thankful for the steps we have shared on this journey!

Until next time, 

Today happens to be her birthday! Happy birthday Liliana. XOXO!!!

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