By Dave Boucher
Charleston Daily Mail
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — It’s a rare person who can grasp the magnitude of a moment as it happens.
Julia Preservati is one of those people.
The 9-year-old saw one of those times unfolding before her in September. So she grabbed a journal. Its pages soon became covered by green letters, bulky from the marker she used.
It was important to capture everything from this trip to Haiti.
“This is going to change my whole life,” she remembers thinking.
A new little brother can do that.
The decision to ask now 5-year-old Jackson to join the Preservati family was as easy to make as it was difficult to complete. It took patience. Hope. Sacrifice.
A former leader of the free world chipped in.
Another opportunity presented itself at the same time. There was the chance to represent the people of West Virginia. Both seemed possible. Both seemed like the right thing to do.
But near the end, as the three-year adoption process appeared all but a done deal, it became clear: one choice inherently posed a threat to the other.
Nick Preservati chose Jackson.
For weeks, Chrissy Preservati searched the Internet for a son.
Married to Nick in 2002, she gave birth to the couple’s daughter, Julia, in December of 2003. But they always wanted more than one child.
In 2006, Caroline was born.
“She lived for seven minutes,” Nick said Monday, sitting in the living room of the family’s South Hills home.
They mourned Caroline. They dealt with the impossible situation.
The family still wanted another child. Chrissy, now 47, said she’d thought about adopting for some time, regardless of whether she were able to have another child.
Nick, now 41, said he found Chrissy on the computer every day when he came home. She looked in United States, Columbia, Russia and elsewhere.
“It just kept going and going to the point where I finally said stop. We’re chasing the family we don’t have and ignoring the family we do. It’s not meant to be, let’s stop. No more,” Nick remembers telling Chrissy.
Two days later she showed him Jackson. She isn’t sure why she kept looking. Nick thanks God that she did.
It was 2010. Chrissy still remembers the black and white picture of her future son.
“Two-year-old exuberant young boy, would rather not wear shoes, would rather run than walk, loves to throw a melon sized squishy ball,” Chrissy said, reciting Jackson’s description on the adoption agency’s website.
“And I was like,” she began to conclude. Before she could finish, Nick interrupted: “Perfect!”
Jackson was 2 at the time, and adopting from Haiti seemed to be the fastest option. Nick and Chrissy said they were told it would be a two-year process.
In 2011 Chrissy and Nick visited Jackson at an orphanage in Cite Soleil, an area described in multiple media reports as a dangerous slum near the Haitian capital Port-Au-Prince.
The first meeting could have gone better.
“He hated me. Absolutely hated me,” Nick said…