Kristen Grae Williams decided to adopt a baby when she was 39 years old. While sharing her inspiring story Kristen mentioned to HoB: “I was 39 when I felt like I was done with dating. I hadn’t found ‘the one’ and I didn’t want to settle. I was happy being single and my job as a teacher was fulfilling. The only thing missing was motherhood! I always dreamt of being a mom and just because I didn’t have a partner, I didn’t want to miss out, so I decided to adopt!”
But being a single mother is never easy. And, hence Kristen asked herself the tough questions like how will she manage as a single mother. But soon she realized that any child would be happier at home than at an orphanage. But her adoption journey was anything but difficult. She shared how she faced many difficulties while adopting a kid.
“Being a ‘single female’ looking to adopt restricted me. So, I opted for an international adoption. I applied to Nepal, paid 28,000 dollars and even got accepted, but when the US department of State suspended adoptions from Nepal, I was heartbroken. Still, I’d pray for a miracle. And then one day, I got a call from an Indian agency. They said, ‘You’re clear for adoption from India, but it will have to be a child with special needs.’ “
And then with determined mind, she shared how she came across a profile of a 5-year-old girl named Munni.“Her profile said she had behavioural issues because of abuse faced at the hands of previous caretakers. She had scars on her face, but also the most heart-warming smile. A smile that jolted me, I knew it then, Munni was my daughter!”
Further adding how her dad wasn’t too excited about adopting Indian kids, Kristen mentioned: “Dad wasn’t too thrilled, he asked, ‘Why aren’t you adopting a white baby?’ I was hurt, but when I was short by a few thousands to pay the agency, he covered me with a cheque at the bottom of which he had written, ‘For Munni Grae.’ Grae is our family name; I was touched.”
Finally the day arrived, when Kristen Grae finally brought Munni home on Valentine’s Day in 2013.
“Munni finally came home on Valentine’s Day in 2013. I vividly remember the moment I first hugged her…I didn’t know I could feel so much for another human being. As she got treated for her scars, our bond grew stronger. We’d paint each other’s nails and walk our dog. Back then, all she’d say was, ‘Mamma-Munni’; it was everything! But as I watched her grow, I knew I didn’t want her to be a single child. So, I geared up for my 2nd adoption. A week later my agent called and said, ‘There’s a 22 months old girl. She’s healthy, but she doesn’t have a nose. Do you want to pursue this?’”
While sharing the story of her second child Roopa, she mentioned: “That little girl, Roopa, had been abandoned on the street and by the time the orphanage found her, dogs had eaten her nose. I saw Roopa’s picture and passed the phone to Munni. She glanced at it and excitedly asked, ‘Is this my little sister?’ I said ‘yes!’
Roopa and Munni filled Kristen’s life with so much love, that she wanted to bring change to other orphaned girls too.
“I loved being a mom to my girls and if I could get more girls’ to be addressed as ‘daughter’ instead of ‘orphan’, my life would be complete! So that’s what I did and within 2 years, Mohini and Sonali joined us and made our little family slightly bigger!”
To raise 4 girls on a teacher’s salary was getting tough, so she got into real estate. And, later with the desire not to miss their childhood, she opted for work from home. “My 4 daughters kept me on my toes. On weekdays, Mom Dad helped, but eventually, I opted for work from home; I didn’t want to miss their childhood! And honestly, I enjoyed every minute of the chaos–from the singing performances to the messy food fights. Hell, I’d join them! My wish for a big family had come true, I felt content!”
In January 2020, she adopted Snigdha, who suffers from down’s syndrome. While sharing how content she is about her life, Kristen mentioned: “I love seeing my girls so tight! I always tell them that people will come and go but sisterhood is for life and they live by it. You should see the way they celebrate every little milestone, something as simple as Sonali losing her tooth will have them host an ice cream party! It’s astounding how a child can blossom with love and stability. I tell my girls that the 6 of us are like different puzzle pieces that came together to form a beautiful mosaic. I started creating this mosaic when I was 39, at 51 it’s complete. 12 years! These 12 years will always be sacred, because in these 12 years all 5 of my daughters found their way home.”
At IFORHER, we are I awe of Kristen and her heart-touching story of giving a home and a beautiful family to five orphaned girls, who had no one to take care of them!