Reporter and advocate Christina Mora Dettman on her journey to motherhood
By Mariah Kline
Christina Mora Dettman has gone off-script, and then back on. In recent years, the WLKY reporter took a step away from television while bringing together her family of six. She just recently returned as a freelancer to the station, where she is bringing awareness to Kentucky’s child welfare system.
When her career began, Christina didn’t set out to be an adoption advocate. She and her husband Brian began trying to have a baby shortly after getting married in 2012, and they moved to Louisville in 2013. After trying for over a year, they sought fertility help and pursued in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intravaginal insemination (IVI).
“Nothing was working,” she says. “After a couple of years, my husband said, ‘I can’t watch you like this anymore. We’re going to have to change our route.’
“He’s agreed to do any crazy thing I’ve wanted to do from day one,” she adds. “I’ve talked to other women who say, ‘My husband isn’t on board yet. How do I get him on board to adopt?’ And that just breaks my heart. I was so lucky to end up with him because he was ready to jump into this full force.”
In October 2017, Christina and Brian became foster parents to two boys, and eight months later, they received the news that they could adopt twin girls, Francisca and Prisca, from Malawi, Africa. The boys, who she refers to as J and K, have not yet been formally adopted and are still technically in the foster care system. Though the girls were two years old when they were matched with the couple, Christina and Brian were not able to bring them home until they were four.
“That process was excruciating,” she says. “The fact that they’re here is nothing short of a miracle.”
So, what is it like to go from being childless to the parents of four in a short period of time?
“We went from organized chaos to just pure chaos,” Christina says. “We’re still learning a lot. We have a village who helps us, and without them, I don’t know how we would do it. The boys have made incredible progress. When I look at how they were when they first got here to where they are now, they’ve done amazing. The girls didn’t speak English when they got here, and now they’re doing amazing. There have been really, really hard times and it hasn’t been easy, but it’s just so rewarding for us.”
While navigating parenthood, Christina began sharing her family’s experiences through her blog, Off Script Mom. She has shared the stories of how her family came together, her battles with infertility and her knowledge of foster care and adoption.
“It’s been a way to help other women going through the same things so they don’t feel like they’re alone,” she says. “People have reached out to me asking, ‘Should I do domestic or international adoption?’ or they’ll ask about IVF, and I’ll just say, ‘Here’s what I know and here’s what we’ve found.’ When you’re going through all of that, to feel like you have someone to talk to and other women are doing it, it really does make a difference.”
Her family has come a long way, but Christina doesn’t gloss over the challenges she and so many others have faced with infertility, fostering and adopting.
“Each of these processes is very hard,” she says. “You’re going to be heartbroken. With infertility, I became a shell of a human, but you just have to keep going because you have a dream to have a family. This journey is going to be hard and that’s OK because if that’s what you want, then it’s worth it. And it’s ultimately about what’s best for these kids.”
Christina recently returned to WLKY after working for the public affairs department of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services. While splitting her time between Frankfort and Louisville was difficult, the job allowed her to advocate for the state’s children and learn even more about how she can help.
Now, she is furthering her work with Wednesday’s Child, a nonprofit organization that supports children who are waiting to be adopted and recruits adoptive families. Through WLKY, Christina shares the stories of older children who need families and hopes to engage with more potential parents.
As she shares the mission of Wednesday’s Child and manages her own family life, Christina knows that her experience has made her who she is today.
“This really has changed my life,” she says. “When we took the classes to become foster parents, we learned so much. I was very naive before. You learn about trauma and how it affects these children’s brains for life… I’m not the person I was before all of this. Once you see the kids who are in the system who need a family, you can’t go back.” V