Josh and I have often talked about adoption. I know that sounds insane, considering I ride the crazy train frequently with the three I currently have, but we still talk about the possibility that when the boys are older we may grow the family once again. I am not sure, but I do know that families like Mike and Ruth are special. I love their story of pushing through infertility and becoming parents to three beautiful children from Ukraine and Bulgaria. They make the unfamiliar adoption process a little less overwhelming. They are wonderful parents. And love their children fiercely. I hope their story gives you hope if you are considering adoption, or are patiently waiting and praying for God to give you a child. He is faithful.
This is a story about how our family came to be. Mike & I were married when we were both 28 years old. We waited to start trying for kids. When we finally decided to start trying, nothing happened. (I mean, something happened, but nothing to show for it).
After testing each of us & things checking out OK, I was diagnosed with “Unexplained Infertility” – an actual name of a true diagnosis. We didn’t want to go the poking & prodding route, so we began talking about adoption. So, this is how we became the parents of three beautiful children.
Aaron: adopted from Ukraine, April of 2002 when he was 14 months old – now 13
Ukraine’s way of matching you up with a child is to do it for you. You give them some parameters: sex, age, whether or not you are willing to take a child w/ special needs, etc. You don’t get a picture, just a short bio which includes height, weight and health info of child.
When we arrived at the orphanage, our agency representative/translator sat us down & told us to wait. She proceeded to have a very aggressive verbal match with the orphanage director in her office, so we became worried (we didn’t understand much Russian then). After this died down – they came out as if nothing happened & introduced us to Bogdan (our Aaron). We marveled at this little guy & spent some time getting to know him. He was a sweet, funny & bright child! We were later told that Aaron wasn’t the kid originally assigned to us. The boy promised to us was given to an Italian couple that arrived a few hours earlier. So our child became Bogdan (Aaron) – no doubt he was promised to another couple that hadn’t arrived yet. This didn’t really freak us out too much, as we had been asking God to give us the child He wanted us to have (we didn’t want to choose – that seemed so “not our job”) I still marvel at God’s timing & how he deliberately matched Aaron to us, down to the last hour. So all those delays . . . God’s timing is perfect, profoundly perfect. Coincidentally, Aaron was the 7000th child to be adopted out of Ukraine. I’m sure in Gods’ economy & with His interest in numbers, that means something!
Issac: adopted from Ukraine, January 2005 when he was 2 yrs, 2 mos. old – now 12
This time around, we were going with the faith that God would show us our Isaac (just like Abraham’s servant in the bible was sent to find a wife for Isaac, Abraham’s son). We believed God would do the same for us. Since we had said we would accept a child with minor special needs of the physical nature, this proved to complicate things. As a generalization, people from Eastern European nations (former USSR) have a tendency to be dishonest, underhanded, and often lie to their own advantage. Understandably so, this was a form of survival in a Communist setting. We were told the child we were going to meet had an extra finger & missing a few toes – no big deal. (I think she thought if we could just meet this little sweety, we would fall in love with him. . . so a few little lies wouldn’t hurt).
What we found was the sweetest little guy with a very twisted & shorter leg, with only 4 toes on that foot. One of his hands having 4 fingers & the other only 2. He could only crawl, dragging his bum leg along. Honestly, and ashamedly so – it took us awhile to realize he was ours. His special needs concerned us & “we weren’t sure we could handle it” – sounds so dumb now. So glad God didn’t let us screw that one up. As I was praying for this little guys parents to come forth (couldn’t stop thinking of his little, crooked smile) – we finally realized we were the answer to that prayer – a little slow we are! Aaron knew all along,(he came along with us, he was 3 ½ at the time b/c in his words “He’s my brother -he laughs at all my jokes!”)
Round 3 . . . Rachel: adopted from Bulgaria, May 2010 when she was 3 ½ – now 8.
Now that we were somewhat accustomed to the “physical special needs” idea, we again said we wanted a physical special need – but a girl this time. “Anna” was offered to us at the age of 3 ½. We went to meet her in January. She was described as healthy, only that she was missing her arm right below her elbow. Bulgaria has a 2-trip policy, which means after meeting your child, you leave the child there & come back when they say, to finally retrieve them for good. This time period was 5 months!
Seems like a good way to introduce the orphan to the whole idea of family/parents! You meet, play with & fall in love with your child. Then you leave them for 5 months. Meanwhile, kid is thinking this is what parents do – this is love. You finally come back, child has forgotten you & everyone is calling you their parents. And I have to go with them forever, starting tomorrow in an airplane??!! Wow, what a trauma-filled event for a 3 year old.
We weren’t sure if “little orphan Annie” would be an issue with her name, so we gave our daughter a new name – Rachel! Right away, we knew we had a talker & a girl “on the move.” She would rattle on in Bulgarian, even with our cluelessness as to what she was saying. (Unlike Isaac, who didn’t talk for quite a while, after he realized we didn’t understand him. When he finally opened his mouth again – he was speaking English! His brain had made the switch!) We quickly learned the basics in her language to get by. Rachel is so very outgoing & happy with an infectious smile & giggle. What a joy she is!
Rachel rejected me at first. All her caregivers in the orphanage were women, so it was some kind of “caregiver blues “ or something. She only wanted to be with Dad, the boys and men in general. Over time, I have become her preferred go-to person. I think Dad feels a little unsafe to her because he teases her un-mercilessly. :)
This is just our story of how our family came about. Simply put, we wanted to have children and to be parents. I still cringe when I heard someone say to me, (when we were considering maybe pursuing child #4), “Well, you can’t save the whole world!” – Ouch! Yes, there is a certain satisfaction & fulfillment we get from adopting or “saving a child,” but honestly, we just selfishly wanted a family, like most couples do. And you know, I can now honestly say, thank God we weren’t able to have children the “normal way” – or we wouldn’t have these 3 unbelievable blessings! Can’t imagine life without them!
If you have questions about international adoption, Mike and Ruth would be happy to be a resource!!! They have a wealth of experience with child separation and bonding issues for those of you who are currently getting to know your knew little person. Comment or email me if you would like their info!!!
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