By Sarah Johnson
After meeting through a mutual friend, Alissa and Rafael Perez had their first date. Alissa decided to be honest from day one.
“On our first date I told him that the Lord had called me to adopt,” Alissa said.
That was July 2007 and the couple was married one year later in August of 2008.
“Over the first year of our marriage, the Lord worked on Rafael’s heart as well,” Alissa said.
The Perezes started the journey to begin their family in 2009. They had never heard of Inheritance Adoptions, but one of Rafael’s patients had adopted from the Christian adoption agency.
“We began to look into this option for our family,” Alissa said. “We always had intended to pursue adoption while having our own biological children. However, in the fall of 2009, in the midst of our excitement to start our own family, we found out we had some infertility issues. We continued on with the adoption plan and while we were dealing with our own personal issues, we finished our Inheritance Adoptions paperwork to become adoptive parents.”
To their surprise, the Perezes were chosen right away by a birth mother who was expecting a girl in August of 2010. They attended the prenatal visits and were busy getting the nursery ready. Their hopes were dashed, however, when the birth mother changed her mind. In December of the same year, another call from Inheritance Adoptions gave them renewed hope. The birth mother had again changed her mind and wanted to place her then three-month old daughter with the Perezes. The couple met the sweet little girl and they made plans once again to bring the baby home.
One month later, the birth mother ceased communication and had obviously changed her mind once again.
“Needless to say, we – especially me – were devastated,” Alissa said. “This was definitely not the plan we had, yet it was perfectly in line with what God had intended for us. We remained in the waiting period – a very difficult place to be – but a necessary place.”
By March of 2011, Alissa said the Lord had been working in her heart toward a new direction – adopting though Child Protective Services.
“My husband and I went to an informational meeting and left it in Gods’ hands,” Alissa said. “On a Monday, May 2011, we received a call from a from a friend that there was a boy who was in CPS and would be up for adoption. Two days later, we received a call from Inheritance that we had been chosen by a birth mom who was expecting a little girl in June 2011. We met her that Friday and the next week began our certification for CPS adoption.”
Annabella was born June 24, 2011. Gavin came into their home Sept.8 of the same year.
“Our family was complete,” Alissa said.
Or was it? Perhaps the Lord had different plans.
Alissa planned to have a hysterectomy in November of 2011. Her clinic quit taking her insurance, so the couple decided to switch insurance carriers in January and then have the hysterectomy afterwards.
“We changed our insurance the end of January 2012 and two weeks later, on Feb.12, 2012, we found out we were pregnant,” Alissa said. “Shortly before, I had told my husband I felt like the Lord was telling me we weren’t done yet with our family.”
And they weren’t. Cruz was born Oct. 1, 2012.
Leslie Howard, executive director of Inheritance Adoptions, remembers Alissa’s initial struggles.
“I can vividly remember Alissa thinking she would never have children and the agony she felt,” Howard said. “Now she is a witness to God’s power and perfect timing. Only God knows when and how to bless you with a child. Inheritance Adoptions is here to enable God’s work to be completed.”
The Perez children are now 7, 6 and 5.
“We have three precious children, as any mother would say,” Alissa said. “Gavin is smart and detailed. He loves crystals and boxers and King Tut and anything Egypt right now. He is a natural born leader and loves taking command of any situation. And occasionally has to be reminded he is not in charge. Annabella loves to just spend time with people, she loves her Bitty Baby and helping mama cook/bake. She loves to help her brothers. She has a servant’s heart and thinks of others often. She currently wants to go to Faith Refuge to read books and give Bibles to the children there. I prayed for Cruz to be a happy child, the desperate cry of a mother with two infants with a third on the way. And the Lord fulfilled this prayer to overflowing. He is naturally joyful and full of energy. He does everything with a smile on his face and can err to the side of mischievous. He loves to make people laugh and is a passionate, energetic child who loves to love. He gives the best kisses and provides the best stories for these parents to share with others!”