A Blessing in Disguise

Tiffany Ayala with her adopted baby, Melody Rose, at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Tiffany Ayala with her adopted baby, Melody Rose, at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

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Just a year ago Tiffany Ayala, the school’s activities director, would have never imagined the blessing that was to come her way. A self-described workaholic, she’s usually running around, setting up events, organizing her ASB students, and managing Link Crew, which left her little time for herself, let alone anyone else. That all changed on November 1st  2015, when she became a mother to a beautiful newborn, Melody Rose Ayala.

She was not pregnant prior to that date, so was this an immaculate conception?  No, Ayala is in the process of adopting her brother’s daughter. Since her brother and his partner were not in the best place to care for the child, Ayala stepped in to make sure the baby stayed in the family. In order to prevent Melody from going into foster care or an adoption agency, Ayala decided to take custody of the baby. Ayala said, “It was like an instinct to take her in, I didn’t put much thought into it, I just knew it was the right thing to do”.

Before taking Melody into custody Ayala was required to take classes on Saturday mornings. “I actually enjoyed going to these classes, learning about how a child (newborn) senses what is going on and how it later affects them. During class I couldn’t help but think of some of my own students, I was understanding why some need more attention and love than others,” she said.

Melody was born prematurely on October 6th and weighed only four pounds. She then was placed in a NICU under intensive care due to her prematurity. ”It was difficult but I always rushed to the hospital after work just to be with her,” said Ayala. “It was good bonding and the nurses thought a lot about her and how to best care for her.”

Ayala decided the best way to care for Melody was to take time off from work. “In the time I took off to be with Melody our relationship flourished. Doing day to day motherly duties like feeding her, changing her diaper, and playing with her all seemed like second nature to me, which I enjoy.” It is no doubt that Ayala’s life has drastically changed, “What changed wasn’t my life but the way I perceived life did. I now understand myself and my students a lot better,” she said.

Many say being a mother definitely means your life no longer revolves around you. That happens to be more than true for Ayala. Many of her views have changed. “I was the one who was always ready to go out and travel,” she said. “It’s funny I was at a New Year’s Eve party and left around 12. I was freaking out, “How can I be driving on the road this late with a baby?!” she said. “It’s all those little things you don’t think of until you have a child.”

Ayala has been the mother of beautiful Melody Rose for three months. “Mothers usually have nine months to prepare for the baby, I only had a few weeks,” said Ayala. She was under pressure to pull everything together before the arrival of Melody. “Luckily, I was blessed with such a supportive group of friends and family that helped me through preparation, both emotionally and for the well-being of the baby,” explained Ayala. She then had to take a devastating three month break from work. “At first I thought three months without work was crazy! It’s what I love and where I spend most hours of my day,” she said. She then had to come up with lesson plans for the time she was absent, making sure her ASB students carried out school activities. “Every other day I would check in on my students. Knowing they were doing what they were supposed to made me incredibly proud”, she said.

As the time came to return to school Ayala felt uneasy.” It was nice to come back and face the challenge of balancing all my responsibilities”, she stated. “The three months flew by but I knew being a stay at home mom was just not for me. It was a bittersweet feeling, but having such a good babysitter definitely helped,” she said.

On January 11th 2016, Ayala returned to school. “I feel happier and just want to understand my students on a deeper level,” said Ayala. She realizes how much a child can definitely change a person 180 degrees. “I’m still myself of course, but I just have this greater desire of pushing my students to be the best they can be, just like how I want Melody to be the best she can ever be,” stated Ayala. “Having to pick her up from daycare after work, having the extra responsibilities a child brings is worth the change in my lifestyle.

Moving forward, Melody’s parents have eighteen months to prove to the courts that they are capable of giving Melody Rose the life she deserves. When those eighteen months are over, two options are possible: Melody Rose legally becomes Ayala’s child or she goes back in the custody of her biological parents.

Ayala explained that Melody was nothing but a blessing in her life, “She has taught me balance and to not stress over the little things,” she said. “I have to constantly remind myself that it is what God wants, if she stays with me or not. I have to remain strong and put my all my faith in him,” said Ayala. Melody Rose is an infant, but she is so much more- she was a blessing in disguise.

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