Season 3 is Here! Tell a Friend!
April 06, 2022
Worth the Wait: How Adoption Changes a Family's History | S3 E13

The Family Business sits down with David Roman and discuss his amazing story of adopting two beautiful daughters, and unearth the lessons of love and devotion he and his wife Paola discovered as they fought to become a family.


For over 400,000 children in the foster care system in the United States, having a family that loves and cares for them is a dream they can only hope to experience.

But family is always everybody's business, even when circumstances aren't ideal.

So we're highlighting the story of one of the dear friends in our family business, who has stepped forward to bring two precious children into a family they can call their own.

Today's guest, David Roman, and his wife Paola, always desired to raise a family of their own. After a long and arduous battle with infertility, they made the decision to consider fostering and adoption. They now have two daughters - Karis and Dawn - who have a forever home and parents that know the power of patience and sacrifice. 

In today's discussion with Steve and Chris Alessi, David unpacks the powerful lessons and principles that helped him and Paola to persevere as they fought to form a family based on love, patience and devotion. You'll be inspired by this story of adoption and see how it makes such a huge difference in the lives of both child and parent.

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Transcript

Steve Alessi  

Hello, and welcome to another episode of The Family Business with the Alessis. I'm Steve Alessi, and today I'm joined by some great people, one being my son, Christopher Alessi, and the other being a newbie in the podcast booth. David Roman, good to have you both gents.

 

David Roman  

It's great to be here. 

 

Chris Alessi  

Good to be here,

 

Steve Alessi  

We're going to have fun. Well, we're at least going to tackle a subject that I think is endearing. I know it's close to your heart, David. And because of the way you have responded and handled this, it's close to our heart, because we've been able to come alongside of you in the journey. Now, before we get into the weeds of it all, you are the brother of John Roman, who happens to be handling all of our sound here with our recording. And so, family is what we do around this place in Metro.

 

David Roman  

Most definitely. And I always like to ask people who they think is the youngest, because his beard is much bigger than mine, and makes him look older. But I think I look wiser.

 

Steve Alessi  

Did you say wider or wiser? I'm sorry? No. And, of course, Christopher's here, my son and, Chris, glad to have you in the podcast booth as well.

 

Chris Alessi  

Always glad to be here.

 

Steve Alessi  

Always have something to say about it. Now, here's what we believe happens with our podcasts, we say the tagline is, "family is everybody's business." And we have a nice family field, what we do in our line of work, which is our church. And part of it is because, our staff, we try to stay connected in one way or the other to long-term relationships. And you have been around here for 20+ years.

 

David Roman  

Yes, actually, my wife and I started coming to the church before she was my wife. We were dating and engaged.

 

Steve Alessi  

And you were a part of, not only our staff, for a little bit, but at one point you were leading our college ministry. And that's when you, and Christopher, I guess Christopher was about 13, or 14 when you first met him. And 20 years later, he's...

 

Chris Alessi  

Yeah, it's been a long term relationship. A long time. You led, at first it was Sigma Gamma Pi, which was, like, what we did for just our college age. But then, we also added a service element, which I think at first we just called 18 to 35.

 

David Roman  

Yeah, we were not that creative. And then we tried to be really creative.

 

Chris Alessi  

But it fitted the time. 

 

David Roman  

It did. 

 

Chris Alessi  

It was a weird time. 2010 was a weird time, but then, it was Relate, and I remember we would get young adults to come out from that age group. And it really was before its time, because, I mean, when you think about what young adults like doing now, that's what we were doing in Relate, back in the day. It was just getting together, having deep convos, and going at it, and connecting, so it was great.

 

It was very Miami. 

 

Very Miami. 

 

David Roman  

Very much a byproduct of the feel of this church, all about being relationships, because it was people who didn't know if I liked you, but I wanted to get to know you. So, let's go grab something to eat, and talk about the Bible. It was a fun time. 

 

Chris Alessi  

Yeah, it set me up well for Bible college, too.

 

Steve Alessi  

It did. I remember you go into him, and him, because he would help others, you and Charlie, he would help others get scholarships, or get any kind of loans, or anything good set him up for college. And I remember Chris, and so many others, coming to you, and especially Chris, trying to help him get established, to make that transition from high school to college. 

 

David Roman  

Yeah, there are waves in any church, I think. And there was a wave that we were a part of, where all the adults had kids, and their kids were going to college. And so...

 

Chris Alessi  

All at the same time. 

 

David Roman  

Yeah, we needed to help them. So, I remember organizing Saturday lectures where we would help kids write résumés, and letters, and how do I apply for scholarships, and college, and what are deadlines, and I think we might be hitting that wave again, pretty soon.

 

Steve Alessi  

Yeah, they go and get it on their computer. That's the problem, no? The personal relationship, they'll watch it on, whatever. But here we are, thankful that you've hung with us for this long. And this is why I love long-term relationships, because we can go back, and we can talk about those shared experiences. And quite frankly, there's people today that are now married with children of their own that were part of that college group all those years ago. 

 

So, it's really cool to see that thing keep them connected over the years. Now, here's where I'd like to go today because we talked about family, and family being everybody's business. Your family is unique and precious, because you and Paola embraced first, foster care, but then, adoption. And the Lord has opened the door for great, two beautiful little girls, Charisse and Dawn. 

 

And so, I'd like us to talk about adoption, and how it benefits the individual that says, you know, I've been given so much in my life, I'd like to share it with children who, either, I can birth of course, but maybe I can't. And so, therefore, let me still use what I have to be a real blessing to them. And so, first, I'm thankful that we've had a part of you and Paola's journey, seeing it firsthand, and you've really embraced it. So, to start this off, tell me what adoption means to you?

 

David Roman  

Well, I think so many people don't understand the gift that adoption is, not to the child, but to them, to the parents. People that become parents. And so, for me, adoption really is this gift that I had no idea I needed. And it became the means by which my family and, literally, my family was formed. And I could not imagine having a family any other way at this point.

 

Steve Alessi  

That's beautiful. And the girls, charmers, amazing that they carry your name. They look like you, even little Dawn, she has looks, when I look at her, I can see your wife sometimes in her features. And it's a gift that you've been given with these children, because you have made a way for them that they didn't have a way before.

 

David Roman  

Yeah. We've been very open with them about how they were not in Mama's belly, yet they were always in Mommy and Daddy's heart. They're seven and six right now, so the conversations about adoption are very superficial. They kind of understand it, but they still don't. And part of it is because our youngest daughter is multiracial. So, her skin is a little darker than ours. 

 

And we know that, if anyone's ever going to be like, "Oh, yeah, you adopted a kid," they're going to think it's her, and not both of them. So we've had to have these conversations. And for them, they understand mom and dad on a very amazing level. Like, they just look at us, and you are the guys, and the gal, that loves us unconditionally. And that's what it is. I mean, that's what family really is, when it's all boiled down.

 

Steve Alessi  

Some of the challenges?

 

David Roman  

Oh, man, I took a deep breath when you said two girls, and I think the challenge is, you know, we all understand family based on where we are in our lives. So, right now, Pastor, you are a father, and you're about to become a grandfather, and you have adult kids, right? And Chris here, he just got married. But he's transitioning from family as a son, to family as a husband. 

 

And I didn't understand what family as a dad meant. And for us, I think, naturally, you get nine months to prepare. For us, we got a phone call. And it's like, there's a baby at the hospital. Come get her. And one of the challenges has been, kind of, I've always felt like I'm, kind of catching up. And I never caught up.

 

Steve Alessi  

Well, as much as you think, even when you birth them, you think that you're up to speed and ready for them? Oh, gosh, you're not. It's like, somebody says, "Well, I'll have a kid when we can afford them." Good luck with that, because I never remember being able to afford Christopher, Stephanie, Lauren, or Gabby.

 

Chris Alessi  

Especially Lauren and Gabby.

 

Steve Alessi  

They're more expensive later on in life, but I never felt prepared enough. Which, that's the fun of parenthood. And I wish parents would understand that. You're never going to be really ready for what kids bring to the table, adopted or birth. They're going to be unique.

 

David Roman  

I think the other aspect of adoption is, not that there's a stigma in our world, but because it's not openly discussed. And it's usually discussed, like, "I adopted a kid from a faraway land, and their world was so horrible, and I rescued them." And it's a weird way to think about family. 

 

Really, I've had to come to terms with, how am I going to let my daughters know that, yes, they are blessed because they're in my family, but more than that, they are prepared for life in a way that, if I hadn't stepped in, they wouldn't have been, and how does that then turn into their responsibility to pay it forward? In many ways.

 

Steve Alessi  

About that, right there. This goes in with raising all kids. There's got to be conversation constantly taking place in the home, whether it's a marriage, it's a newly married couple, whether it's a newly adopted child, there's always challenges that you're facing. Every situation, life is filled with challenges, things that hit you. Without the conversation ongoing, I think we leave people to try to form their own mindset, their own opinions about things. 

 

And they're not always the best. Because the mind does not naturally go towards positive. Naturally, it goes towards the worst case scenario. That's where fear comes from. So, with children, even with a new marriage, when they start to feel something, like trying to describe Dawn, you're darker than your sister, you're darker than your parents, having the conversation, not just one time, but ongoing, helps the person formulate the right kind of opinions. You think that's true?

 

David Roman  

I think that's very true. And I think one of the things I've learned just by being around you, and even you, Chris, is that it's important to, kind of, speak what's on your heart, honestly, and openly. And I think back to some of the conversations we had when you were growing up, and I remember the first time I met you, I think at 12 or 13-year-old kids' ministry. 

 

And at the time, I didn't know you were the pastor's kid, and I was on the floor acting out some sort of Bible thing on a Sunday morning. And what I really appreciate is that after it was done, you came up to me, and you're just like, "Thank you. That was fun." And I didn't know I was doing it, right. 

 

And as we talked about kids, it's like, it makes me look at my daughters. And I'm like, I hope I can put them in a situation in an environment where there'll be a grown up, that they will see something happen, that that grown up does, and they'll just want to go up to them, and say, "Thank you."

 

Chris Alessi  

That was fun. Well, I keep getting the image now of being grafted in, I was just talking to Armando about, you know how you can literally take a branch from a different tree, and as long as you set everything up right, it will continue to live on a different tree. You can take a branch off, and that's the image used in Scripture to describe Gentiles. 

 

It's, you are a part of the family of God, just as much as the Jews were, because you've been grafted in, not, "Hey, we decided to include you," but you've been grafted in. And the truth is, in adoption, I mean, your daughters are your family, as much as they're anybody else's, because they've been grafted in to the Roman legacy. And so, yeah, they might not look like our tree, your tree, they may come from a different tree, but that doesn't make them any less a part of yours. 

 

And that's such a powerful, powerful image. And so, you know, my dad says that they even look like you. Well, the truth is, psychology will tell you that if you adopt a baby, before they're six months old, they will take on physical characteristics of you. And that's the whole nature and nurture conversation. 

 

It just shows how powerful the nurture is when you graft these children into your family, put this branch on your tree, they do take on characteristics of your tree, and we see that in your kids all the time. 

 

David Roman  

So sweet. 

 

Chris Alessi  

And so, there's no reason to believe they wouldn't, at the end of the whole time, say, "Man, I like being a part of this tree." Yeah, there's no reason to think that at all.

 

Steve Alessi  

And David, you mentioned the stigma that goes with this communication, talking about it. If we keep something in the dark, we're afraid of it. But if we bring it to the light, it becomes normal. And having the conversation with children that are adopted, can it help them see that this is really normal? This is good?

 

David Roman  

You know, I'm glad you talk about stigma, because it happens on two sides. So, yeah, my daughters have a potential of being stigmatized. And the more we talk about it, the more we normalize it, because it is normal. Like, there's so many people in South Florida, let's not just say the world, but just Miami, that for them, they would have wished to have been adopted, they went through the foster care system, and no one ever came and adopted them. 

 

So, they're missing out on something that is so consequential on creating individuals, like humanity, like having a mom or a dad, a safe space in a home. I talk to adults now that were fostered, that were never adopted, and they have this emptiness inside of them, because they don't know what it's like to be called, "son," or "daughter." 

 

And so, there's that stigma. But the other stigma happens as an adult. So, you know, usually, when I talk about adoption, everyone assumes it's my wife that was the reason, or had the issue with fertility. And it wasn't, it was me. And so, I know for me, one of my biggest hesitations to wanting to adopt, is because I felt like a failure. 

 

And there was this thing in my brain, this defeated thinking, that I don't know where it came from, because my father never told me I was a failure for not being able to have children naturally. My mother never said, my brothers, they were all like, "Alright, what are you going to do?" But there is something inside every man, I think, and maybe it's changing, I don't know. 

 

But inside of me, let's just talk about me. Inside of me, there was this voice that I had to contend with, that said, "You can't do something that hundreds of 1000s of other men can do. So you suck, you're a failure." So, the stigma in my heart had to be like... And I fight this every now and again, when I feel less than good dad, like, "Ugh, it's because they're not yours." And I'm like, "I gotta check that thought right away," like, "No, they're mine." You know, they're misbehaving...

 

Steve Alessi  

I'm glad you bring that up. I appreciate your transparency on that right there, because it brings me to this, because as you're talking about adoption, the blessing of it is so much bigger than you, first and foremost. Because you're giving something. As Chris mentioned, you're passing a legacy to children that would not have had it, if you didn't step into their world. 

 

So, the hero's status is there. But the personal mental battles that you would fight, kind of pulls you out of that role of hero to almost zero, because now you don't feel like you're that. So, you're very transparent by bringing that to the table right now, which I so appreciate. But here's the question. And I learned this from another family in our church, when they were told that they were having a son, and he had a chromosomal disorder. 

 

They were overwhelmed. And they ran to somebody that was helping counsel them through it, and they said, "We will not have a normal son, and it breaks our heart." And the counsel looked at them and says, "What's normal? What's normal? Who's defined normal? Who made normal what normal is?" And if we look at it in light of this, especially today, where we're so aware of different people who have adopted in their lives, and their challenges. What is normal?

 

David Roman  

You know, when you say that, it makes me think that you're right, like normal is this thing that we throw out there, we say, to be safe. But the truth is, when we think of families, when I think of families, I think of my brothers and their families, and there's nothing normal about any of them. There really isn't. 

 

And it's funny, but I think about, like, one, all of my brothers married up. Yeah. Like, how did you get that girl? I think the same thing about myself. I look at their families, and the things they're dealing with their sons and their daughters, and it reminds me that, man, they're dealing with the same thing I'm dealing with.

 

Steve Alessi  

Wow. 

 

Chris Alessi  

Well, we're both, you know, intellectuals, we both like to read a lot. And we've had a lot of these discussions before. In fact, a lot of our conversations are like drive-by’s. But they're like, "Hey, I happen to read CS Lewis," or insert, whatever. So, we know that in the psychology world, in the philosophy world, they will always ask you when you make a claim, "Okay, relative to what?" 

 

So, when you say, there is no, or there's a lot, they'll say, "Great. Relative to what?" Even the word, something like, central, if I put that water bottle at the middle of this table, it's central, but relative to what? So, you have to ask, what are you comparing it to? 

 

Well, I remember meeting with a family in our church, they had adopted children. And they bought into the stigma so much on a personal level, that I think they actually created an extra level of stigma, where they almost created self-fulfilling prophecies, where they kept saying, "I know when he turns 18, I know when this happens, that they're going to really, really, really struggle, and I'm afraid of that." 

 

And I remember at a young age, just, I don't know where this level of confidence, maybe it was arrogance, came on me, but I was like, "You don't know what it's like to raise a normal child, so you genuinely can't compare it. But if you could compare it, you would see, they are really nervous about their 18-year-old, too."

 

David Roman  

That's so good, Chris.

 

Chris Alessi  

And they're absolutely fearful of what's going to happen the day they turn 18. Your fear is, you know, what are they going to think? Their fear is, what are they going to think? What are they going to do when they leave? Because you can't compare it, you feel like it's something that is completely isolated, and therefore you feel like you're drowning. 

 

But most families feel like they're drowning when it comes to their kids. And when you really do compare it, and you say, "Oh, okay, I feel like there's a stigma." But there's a lot of families right now that are very broken, and they had all their kids, but their families are way more broken than the Roman family is. And you just start to see, you know, maybe I should recognize, my situation is better than I think. I mean, yeah, I'm not going to struggle as any more than they will, in their context.

 

Steve Alessi  

Can't give into that stigma on either side, because like you said, Chris, I like that idea, or that thought. If we feed into it too much, then we create even another layer of it. And I see this with people that are raising multiracial children, or that are raising children that may be special needs, that we— Where almost to the place of, as a parent, we're offended if somebody makes any statement, or looks at our kids a certain way. 

 

And because we're offended, we go to the defense of our kid. And they're not offended, they don't understand that it's anything about their skin color, or the way they process with their their words, or whatever, they don't understand it. They just know they're being— they are in a kid's world. And quite frankly, kids worlds are cruel sometimes, because—

 

Way more cruel than the adult world.

 

It prepares you for the cruel world of adults, but a parent will run in, and they will make the issue, now, an issue. Instead of being able to step back and say, "Hey, this is life. We have our challenges. Everybody has their challenge." And this is something, and we help them prepare for life on the bigger stage, not the life that they're going to live with certain limitations that are being stigmatized, because of their specific situation. We all have. In one way or the other.

 

David Roman  

And Pastor, what I think, as you're speaking, it's the value of relationships. And it really is, we live in an amazing time in history, where people can come together and have open conversations about, I mean, you did it to me. And there was like, there was no hesitation, you took me out to a cup of coffee, and said, "Hey, Joker, have you thought about starting a family?" 

 

And I was like, "Yeah," and it was like, "Well, have you thought about adoption? Because that's one way you can start a family." And I think, we're not too far from a generation where that conversation would have never happened. Because it would have been seen as, maybe, disrespectful to the character of a man, or it would have been— that would have been somehow frowned upon. 

 

But we live in a great time where that conversation can happen, and it's a powerful conversation. And it was empowering to me, it was like a switch in my brain, that allowed me to dream bigger about what my future would look like. But at the same time, we live in a world to what you were saying, where that freedom also has created people to say weird things, because they are free to say it, and you're like, "What are you talking about?" 

 

You know, you talked about challenges. And, you know, one of my daughter's, she's half Haitian. I don't know her full history, because I only know about the mom, I don't know about the dad. And, you know, I remember going to pick her up from school, and giving the person, the pickup, the name, and she comes walking out, and like, the person at the school looked at me, and looked at her and was like, didn't want to give me the kid. 

 

Steve Alessi  

No way. 

 

David Roman  

And I almost felt like I had to go on my phone, and like, "This was Christmas. This is me dressed up as Santa Claus. This is..." And I understand because— 

 

Chris Alessi  

She calls me Dad. 

 

David Roman  

Again, because the world we live in, has put that person with a preconception of what family looks like. And it was, I could have been offended and taken it like, "You jerk! You know, what's going on with your thinking?" As opposed to saying, "Oh, yeah. She looks like her mom," and defusing the situation, you know, and just given them out, and just being gracious enough to give them the out to be like, "Yeah, she looks like her mom."

 

Chris Alessi  

Well, to that point, with the divorce rate now, and then the remarried rate, I mean, there are a lot of families where there is a kid in the home that does not, "naturally belong to one of the parents." I mean, and that's sadly, almost more normal, than a home where both parents have been married their entire lives, and have had all their kids naturally. 

 

So, again, it goes back to the comparison thing. I mean, I loved how you said that at the end. "Yeah, she looks more like her mom," because today that is normal. Yeah, the multiracial couples are more normal these days, and families look different than they used to. And so, I appreciate that. And the way you responded to that, a lot. 

 

But, you know, back to what you were saying too, about how we can make some things bigger issues than they actually are. They'll tell you when you're raising a kid, that there's firstborn syndrome, second born syndrome, only child syndrome and stuff. If you look at the majority of families, the first child is probably a crier. 

 

And the third, or the last born, is probably tougher. Like, and part of that is because the firstborn, when they fell, the parents would run to them and be like, "Oh, no, no, no, you're okay." Or at least the mom, "No, no, no, no, no, you're okay." And by the third child, when that kid fell, you were like, "Come on, get up. You're okay." 

 

But what we've now learned through psychology, is, when a kid falls, they have nothing to associate the pain to, but they associated to the parents' response. So, when the parent responds, now, they go, "When I feel this pain, you cry, which means I should cry, too." By the time they get to the third kid, they just know, "It's just pain and I move on." 

 

So, it's kind of like, when our kids are experiencing things, when our next generation or new Christians, whatever it is, when they respond to things we recognize, "Okay, the way I behave, you're going to now associate with the feeling you have, I can't rush in and make this an issue, because if I do, you will become a larger carrier of the flag of that issue, than even I am." 

 

And so I have to recognize, "Okay, you fell for the first time? You're going to be okay." "Hey, weird interaction with the teacher? Hey, that's going to happen, who cares?" But people call us the wrong things all the time. People call my wife white all the time, and she is not. I mean, it's just it's a thing now. So, it's important to recognize the power we have, especially when we're raising, whether it's raising children, or new Christians, whatever it is, we got to be mindful of that association.

 

David Roman  

Yeah, but I love what you're saying. Because it goes back to the point on relationships, if it wasn't for me being connected to you, and seeing how you'vs defused situations, and even how you've defused situations, and just being gracious with other people, and being like— because if I would have made a thing of it, or if I would have taken offense at it, my daughter would have seen, you know, she would have caught that offense for me, as opposed to just handling the way it was. My daughter was completely oblivious. And we went home and got Slurpees.

 

Steve Alessi  

Tell me, what do you think about your wife? Here she is. She's adopted these precious girls with you. And what does that just make you do? 

 

David Roman  

Well, I already told you. We, all the Roman men, married up. And so, when I think of my wife, she was very patient. It was, I mean, we were married for 10 years. We thought we'd start family around year five. And there was a season of five years where, you know, we were trying to have kids. And I enjoy trying. But, you know, around that 10-year mark, it got, like, hard. 

 

And she's said this story before, you know, my younger brothers have had children before me. And when my brother John had his child, I remember on his registry, he had this really expensive Eddie Bauer edition, bassinet. And I remember one thing, "And this joker? He could buy that for himself." 

 

But then I also thought, you know, talking about faith, you had the time that, this church is all about faith. And one of the conversation was like, "Well, you sow a seed into where you want to be." And my wife tells a story, and she reminded me about this, because we're having a conversation with another family that's considering adoption. 

 

And she tells it much better, with tears and everything. But I just want to say, when we saw that registry, we're like, "You know what? We don't have kids right now. But we're going to buy this. And we're going to sell this into my brother's family. And it's going to be the top of the line, the best of the best. Because I know, one day, we're going to have a daughter or a son." 

 

And this is kind of like a seed we're planting. We're sowing faith. It hurt. Every time we'd go to a baby shower, it would hurt. We would make up excuses not to go. All of our friends were having kids, and we were the only ones not. And so, when it happens at year one, and they're newborns, that's great. When it's like, year three, and they're on their second, not only do they have a three-year-old, but now they're about to have a second child. It breaks our hearts.

 

Steve Alessi  

David, it's life. That's the crazy thing. It's life. Because, we could say the very same thing about the young man or young woman who has all of their friends getting married, and they still have not.

 

Chris Alessi  

I watched that parade.

 

Steve Alessi  

Right, yeah, it's a parade, it's part of life. Anytime we have one of these situations where we want to look at ourselves, and I don't mean this in a bad way, it's not towards you. But we can start to feel sorry for ourselves, because we don't have what they have, we can very easily take away the alternatives to life that could bring another measure of joy, that you're just as joyful, is just is coming in a different area.

 

So, the young girl who's not married yet, she doesn't just sit home and get down about not having a boyfriend. She goes, and connects with some of her girl friends, and said, "Girls, we're going to have a great time together, and we're going to have some travel together, make some memories," or she doesn't just sit home and, "Oh, poor me," lick her wounds, she goes out and pushes herself to get past what would be the obstacle that's keeping her from that joy, that she's looking for, that fulfillment. 

 

And it's the same thing with a couple that can't have a child and says, "Okay, I can either sit here and feel sorry for myself," or I can turn around and say, "let me adopt," because the opportunities are there for adoption. And yours were pretty miraculous, the way yours came to you. 

 

David Roman  

They were 

 

Steve Alessi  

It was like, you know, I try not to be preachy on this, and not refer to the Bible too much. But it's like the heavens opened over you, and, boom. Two angels fell out of the sky, and into your family, the way that both of those happened. 

 

David Roman  

Yeah. And our deal is, we were ready to adopt through an adoption agency. Mercy Ministries of Americas, we got connected through you. 

 

Steve Alessi  

Yep. 

 

David Roman  

I think your sister had the connection, and we were ready to go that route, when we became foster parents, and we had no intentions of becoming foster parents. But, can I tell you? You know, the way I thought my family would have happened, and the way it happened, I wouldn't change it for anything. 

 

I would not change it for anything. And so, when you say like, heavens opened up, I remember doing the classes to become an adoptive parent, and they asked you, do you want to be a foster parent, or just an adoptive parent? And I'm like, "No, we're taking these classes just to be adoptive." And the woman was like, "Are you sure?" Because the need was so huge, and not that they were guilting us, but they're like, "Listen, the need is so huge. Here in South Florida, There is so many children that are in need of families. And you guys..." 

 

You talked about my wife. My wife, she's a VP of a developing company, and not for profit, they develop housing for homeless, formerly homeless veterans, and folks who are aging out of foster care. I don't call her St. Paola, but I know other people do. But when we were thinking about fostering, we were like, "Nah, that's not for us." 

 

And then a situation happened, where we were invited to be part of someone's miracle. And we did become foster parents. And then we said yes to fostering an 11-year-old boy who needed foster parents. And just stepping in for him in, that opened us, put us on a list, put us in a situation where we got a phone call on a Wednesday morning, and saying "Mr. & Mrs. Rome, you're foster parents. There's a newborn baby who is in the foster system, but will need to be adopted. Do you want her?" And we're like, "Yeah?" And we got in a car and went down to Jacksonville, didn't have any car seat, I had to borrow one. Because it just happened like that.

 

Steve Alessi  

David, we were there, I so appreciate the opportunity that me, Mary, our family, our staff, had in witnessing all of this. And to see you, and Paola's heart, so big to say, "Yes," when the opportunity arose, just showed us the selflessness that you have, which makes the world so much better. And I would just say, to people that are struggling with this in their life, they're trying their best to have children, they can't, or they've already raised their kids and they're looking at another alternative. 

 

Adoption is a blessing, done with the right heart, and at the right season. For you, that will open up blessings in your life, and fulfillment that you may not be able to get otherwise. And what I see in you, the whole story, and the reason I wanted you on the podcast today, was because this was so much bigger than just the Roman legacy. 

 

This was also the legacy of two younger girls that didn't have a real, healthy looking, wholesome looking, legacy. But when you stepped in, you rescued them off of that road they were on. And you gave them a gift of a legacy that you and Paola are able to provide to them. That it's more of a gift to them. It's more of a gift. It's a blessing. 

 

David Roman  

It's not only a blessing to them. But it's been a blessing to so many other people. And this is the thing I didn't anticipate. So, I'm on this podcast talking to you, and Chris, about this. And I know this is going to go out and there's a guy right now dealing with, "Man, I'm a failure as a husband, I'm a failure as a man, because I can't give my wife this natural thing." 

 

And, there is— We're in a place in our world where there is no, "I can't have a family." It's, "How do you want to have a family now?" 

 

Steve Alessi  

Good. 

 

David Roman  

There's, again, a generation of people, that wasn't an option. We're not that far from people who really could not. But like, to say, "We can't," No, you can have a family. It's, "Are you willing to do it?" Like, you know, I love people who are willing to do the hard thing, because then it's not hard anymore. And for us, fostering was hard, but then it wasn't. So we did it again. And that's how we got our second daughter.

 

Steve Alessi  

Love it. Yeah. 

 

Chris Alessi  

Well, I just want to say to that point, I saw something cool the other day. You said people have way too much freedom, and they're saying weird stuff. Well, now, you know, Christians are very— we are pro-life. And there's an attack on that, right now, on social media, in the world that, "No, you're not. You're just pro-birth," which doesn't make any sense. 

 

It's a change in semantics where they think it makes sense, and it does not. But, there was a post that went out recently of a pastor, who's attacking that direct thing, that you think we're just pro-birth, not only do Christians support orphanages, at a rate of 80 to 90%, across the globe, which means every other people group only makes up, at most, 20% compared to Christians. 

 

But, Christians are the largest people group of adoptions across the board, we represent 5% of them. The next largest people group is like 1.8%. So, that means, if you pull together 25 Christian families, one of them has adopted somebody. And when you consider that that's absolutely, I mean, the next biggest one would be a group of almost 60, to get one, when you consider what that does, and how abortion hurts the heart of God, when you consider that it's Christians who are putting their money where their mouth is, to bless the heart of God in a way that no one really can. 

 

And then when you consider, it's not just American Christians, it's worldwide, which means there are a lot of Christians who aren't even financially able to adopt. So, the numbers, especially in America, are larger than just 5%. The Christians of America are blessing God's heart by doing what you and your wife have done. And, for an issue that so matters to God, to be on the front lines, fighting against the world's accusations of us. 

 

I just I honor you guys for that. And all the other families who have stepped into that role, and will step into that role, because of your story, and already have because of your story, but will because of this today. They bless God's heart in a way that they don't recognize.

 

Steve Alessi  

Very good. Well, we hope you have enjoyed The Family Business podcast with Alessis, and anything you may want to ask, any questions you may want to have, contact us, and the information is below. I would be glad, and I know David and Paola will be glad to connect with you, and help you with some of those questions you may have about adoption. Thanks for joining us today.