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Your Adoption Journey

Tom's Story

     Our adoption story was a long one.  We initially intended to adopt locally, but there was an eight year waiting list unless we were willing to adopt a bi-racial child or a child of a race other than our own.  We, of course, thought that was a great idea, but when we approached the appropriate agency, we were told that despite the fact that there were many more children available than homes to place them in, they would not place a child in a home outside the child’s race.  Apparently we could not provide enough culture to the children, which is ironic since the children we did adopt are well steeped in their own culture, despite neither of us being of that heritage. At this point we looked to adopt internationally.  After a number of false starts, we found an absolutely wonderful couple from Russia that was starting their own adoption agency.  We would be their first couple.  We were well into the process of preparing to adopt from Russia when their economy collapsed and it was no longer safe to travel there.  Thankfully, our agency had made contacts in Ukraine, and with only a minor delay, we were back on track and headed in a new direction. We departed for Ukraine with only hopes and prayers, as you don’t know who you’ll be able to adopt, or even if you’ll find the right child until you get there.  Once we arrived in Kiev, we found out that some of our paperwork would need to be resubmitted because previously it had been on blue paper, and ours came through on white paper.  The Soviet bureaucracy didn’t die with communism, I guess.  As a result we had to opportunity to be tourists in a very interesting city for five days.
     Once the paperwork was in place, we went to look at pictures and files of available children, but the computer system was down, so the adoption ministry sent us directly to the orphanage to meet the children.  We arrived a day later in Donetsk, and proceeded to the orphanage.  We were placed in a large room, and 12-15 children were brought in to meet and play with us.  Trying to find the right child sounds much harder than it actually was, both of us chose the same child without consulting with the other.  That boy became our son. We also wanted a daughter, but none of the girls we met seemed to be the right one.  After another day of looking, we decided to take our son and make a later trip to China for our daughter.  At that point the director of the orphanage started barking orders into his phone and a few minutes later, the most perfect little girl(perfect for us, that is) was brought into his office and we knew immediately that we had found our
     After that it was a whirlwind of court hearings, birth certificates, passports, projectile vomiting, a 12 hour train ride, a 22 hour train ride, a 9 hour flight, and more bureaucratic hurdles than I ever imagined possible.  We’ve now been a family for 7 years and I wouldn’t trade even one little bit of the whole experience.  Every February 8th we celebrate Happy Adoption Day, and take the whole day together to celebrate.

Pittsburgh, PA

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