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March 21st

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Crystal & Dustin’s Story: Two More Make a Family


adoption harris1When we found out that we could not conceive children, we were heartbroken. We had wanted a family for so long. We knew right away that we would pursue adoption, but we gave ourselves a little time to grieve first to make sure we were totally ready. — Crystal, two-time LSS adoptive mom

Crystal and Dustin’s story is not an unusual one. They had been married eight years, had two adopted dogs, and were living in Corpus Christi when they began the adoption process. After speaking with several adoption agencies, they decided Lutheran Adoption Services of Texas, a program of Lutheran Social Services of the South (LSS), was “the one that was right for us.”

The couple submitted their application to LSS and prepared to wait. The adoption process for Isaiah took over two years – from the time of application to the consummation ceremony seven months following his birth. In August 2010, Crystal and Dustin got a call from LSS, initiated by a hospital referral, that a baby born five weeks prematurely was available for adoption immediately. They went straight to the hospital to meet him, and happily, Isaiah was doing beautifully. They only had to spend two nights in the hospital before taking him home.

Crystal and Dustin knew they wanted to adopt a second child, so they began the process with LSS once again, assuming it would take a while to be matched the second time too.

The family had moved to San Antonio, and just one week after completing their paperwork, got a call from Tanya Graham, LSS Director of Domestic Adoptions, asking, “Are you ready to adopt a second child?” The birth mother was in a difficult situation and decided on short notice to place her child for adoption. She selected Crystal, Dustin and 20-month-old Isaiah from the adoption books that LSS keeps for birth parents to “meet” potential adoptive families. Their decision to adopt the baby was immediate, and Karina was born a month later. Isaiah was excited to have a baby sister.

Brother-Sister Act

Today, at ages four and two, this brother-and-sister team couldn’t be more adorable, and according to their mother, more different.

“Isaiah never stops moving,” said Crystal.  “He has enough energy to power the planet.” He also has a big personality, loves to cuddle and can’t get enough of being outdoors – running, jumping, riding his scooter and playing in the mud. He likes trains, trucks and his kitchen set. “From the moment we met him, we could see in his eyes that he could take on the world,” said Crystal.

Karina and Doggie

Karina and Doggie

Crystal describes Karina as a little princess – very sweet but sassy. She loves ponies, Tinkerbell and “Doggie,” the stuffed, fluffy pink dog that she carries everywhere. She sleeps with about 20 stuffed animals and follows her Bubba (her name for Isaiah) everywhere. He’s the leader, but according to mom, “they both talk all day long!”

Why Lutheran Adoption Services?

Crystal and Dustin chose to adopt through LSS because “We were very happy with how birth mothers were treated and spoken of so well,” said Crystal. “We were made to feel like actual people rather than just a number on a long list. Tanya Graham was great to work with. She was on top of things and even came to court with us. We know we can always get in touch with Tanya when we have questions.”

LSS was a pioneer in the movement for open adoption, where birth and adoptive parents have the option of staying in contact. It was Isaiah’s birth mother’s choice not to have contact with his adoptive parents, although Crystal and Dustin are agreeable if she changes her mind one day. Karina’s birth mom, on the other hand, receives photos and has chosen to have occasional contact with the family.

Crystal sums up their adoption experiences beautifully:

“It was a long journey that wasn’t always easy, but in the end, it was more than worth it as we were able to become parents to two amazing little children who needed homes. Adoption has allowed us to grow our family when we couldn’t before, and filled our home with more laughter, joy and love than we could have ever imagined.”  

adoption isaiah and karina harris


There are currently 6,000 children legally awaiting adoption in Texas. For information about Lutheran Adoption Services of Texas, visit our website or call 512-459-1000.

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