• Cecil Lewis Jr.

Decisions: Live’s Forever Changed

Updated: Jan 3

I was thinking the other day about how decisions we make can impact our lives. We are always making little decisions; like going to a certain place, where you meet someone you eventually hire or striking a conversation up with a stranger that later becomes a good friend or taking a different road home and you end up avoiding a major accident. Then there are the really big decisions, like buying a house, buying a car, taking a new job or having a baby. In one way or another most of our decisions have some impact on our lives.

It goes without saying that our actions on our decisions always come with some type of consequence or positive outcome. I have had my share of both. I remember as a child my parents saying, “make good decisions” or “make good choices” and I carried on that advice by recanting the same message to my children over the years.

For my blog, I thought from time to time I would share some stories about decisions that I made, or friends have made that may inspire or make us pause to think about some of the decisions we have made or will make in the future. I will call it……Decisions: Live’s Forever Changed.

For my first story, I wanted to share with you a story that I think is pretty awesome about my friend Peter and his wife Crystal and how a decision they made nearly two decades ago forever changed their lives and the lives of two very special children.

I believe it was about 16 years ago when Peter and I first met. I had joined a software company in Detroit and Peter was working there. It was a start-up operation and there were only a handful of people working there, so we all came to know it each other pretty well and Peter and I became good friends.

After a couple of years, Peter left the company and a short time later I also moved to another company. In that Peter and I were in the same industry we would see each other from time to time at trade shows and industry events. Then as fate would have it, the company I was working for was acquired by the company he had joined several years before and we both work for the same company today, some ten years later. I suppose certain people are just meant to be connected to our lives.

While working together at the software company in Detroit, from time to time Peter’s kids would drop in with Mom to say hi to Dad. That is when I had the opportunity to meet Peter’s children. I think they may have been 4 or 5 years old at the time. Jenny, a cute little girl with a whole lot of personality and her brother Alex, a somewhat shy little guy. I did not give much thought at the time to their ages (as they are generally the same age) or the possibility that this family was unique in some way, as they all seemed to be happy crew just as like any other family I knew.

It was after some time that Peter and I came to know each other, that he shared with me that his children were adopted. He further explained that he himself was adopted and he and his wife could not have children. So they embarked on a journey to adopt these lovely children and forever change the course all their lives.

What is special about their story, is that their journey took them to Romania. I asked Peter how it came about that this process took them to Romania. He explained that the adoption process in the U.S. was very complex and there was a multitude of stories about adoptions gone wrong. Often, there were very long waiting periods and many times it came down to convincing a 16-year-old girl who had found themselves in a difficult situation that adoption was a good choice. He further explained that he and Crystal were not the youngest at this time and they decided on pursuing children from an eastern Europe country for a number of reasons at that time and it just seemed right for them. He visited an adoption agency in Dearborn, Michigan and he said, “everything just clicked amazingly well and we were off to the races”. As he told me the story and shared a video that he had made about their journey to adopting their children, I was inspired by the love and passion that it must have taken for he and his wife to embark on this path to have a family.

As we discussed this, I recalled previously seeing a news report on an American television news show called 20/20. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romanian_orphans This show reported on the orphan crisis in Romania and the large number of orphans the country was facing and the poor living conditions in some of the orphanages. Romania had a big problem on their hands. I cannot express how much respect I felt for this man and his wife, as I knew they had done something very special for two little children, as I knew this was something I or most of us would never do.

Over the years, Peter and I always remained in contact, even after I was transferred to Europe. We always see each other a couple of times a year, as Peter is often in Europe for business and attends an annual trade show with me in Berlin. During these times, I always get an update on the family and ask how things were going with the kids. There was one time the kids came along on lunch meeting that I had with Peter while I was on a visit to U.S. and I remember another time I spoke with Jenny while at a trade show on some cellular video conference application on Peter’s phone (perhaps Skype or Facetime). Keep in mind this was several years ago and I didn’t even use that stuff. On a side note Peter is a bit of a techy (or some might say a nerd), he always had the latest gadgets and so did the kids, he even had a 3D printer in his house before most companies had them.

I watched the kids grown up over the years, from their Facebook posts and Peter’s updates. I am sure most people would never know about their story or that the children were adopted, as they were just the normal American family making their way through life.

Jenny, Crystal, Peter, Alex (left to right)

As they raised their children, Mom and Dad let the kids explore their talents and exposed them to the many possibilities that life had to offer. During this time, Jenny and Alex found a real love for hockey. Peter and Crystal took the name “Hockey Dad” and “Hockey Mom” to a whole new level. Jenny excelled in the sport over the years and even played on the Boy’s high school varsity team. Alex played hockey for years as well and pursued his talents around music. He studied the and played the violin, which took him to travel throughout Europe for two recent summers.

So how does this story end? Well, it is still ongoing. Today, Jenny is in her freshman year of college at Elmira College, in Elmira New York and yep you guessed it……she is on the girl's hockey team. A team that that has been voted the number #1 top-ranked women’s college hockey team in the United States according to both U.S. College Hockey Online (USCHO) and D3hockey.com national polls. And now get prepared to get a couple of goosebumps (German = gänsehaut)…….that shy little guy Alex from Romania is serving his country as a member of the United States Marine Corp.

Get ready to rumble!!!

Alex, thank you for your service.

This was an example of a decision that was so special it still touches me to this day and if you knew Peter and Crystal, they really don’t make any fuss about it. “What? Oh that!” Come that’s no big deal” …… yes that’s how they roll. I am pretty sure that none us wake up in the morning and say, “I am going to make some bad decisions today”. We all make our decisions with the best intentions and sometimes when you make a decision you have to just go for it and well, the results like in this story can be pretty amazing. I am honored to know this family. Peter & Crystal thanks for letting me share your story.

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