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Adoption Trip to Russia

Journey to Emily and Amanda

By Christy Romano

Preface:
John and I were married in September of 1997 at Walt Disney World in Florida. We both knew we wanted to try to start a family as soon as possible. While a year and a half is not a long time in terms of trying to have children, we thought it to be an eternity.

Adoption was never far off in our minds. It was something we had discussed several times, not just as an option to infertility, but as a chance to give love to a child in this world who otherwise would not have a chance.

One afternoon after another negative pregnancy test, I was devastated for yet another month. Of course everyone

encouraged me saying “it will happen when the time is right”, and I even gave that advice to someone else wanting to have a child. I was surfing the web and I decided to research a little more about adoption. I knew John was open to the idea of adoption, and I had known in my heart

since I was a teenager that someday I would be an adoptive mom to at least one child.

I looked up the word “adoption” on a search engine and a LOT of different websites came up. One of the sites was about adoption from Russia. Of course at the time I had heard of adoption from China, but never had heard of all of these other countries from which one can adopt a child. I started reading about how there are over 600 thousand orphans in the former Soviet Union and some of the stories were heartbreaking.

I remember I was listening to Christian music as I looked at all of the various websites and I felt a tremendous tugging at my heart as if the Lord was saying “This is what I want for you”.

For several days I had a hard time telling John what I thought was the right thing for us. I mean, Russia, who would have thought in a million years that we would go to Russia let alone adopt a child from there.

Finally, I decided to sit down and tell John. I knew I had to because I really felt this was the calling of the Lord. His first reaction was that we hadn’t tried long enough on our own to have a baby. The second issue was how much it would cost to adopt a child. The third was, how would the family react. The fourth was that he didn’t’ want to get on a plane and travel 10 hours all the way to Russia, a whole different planet to us.

None of those things dissuaded me. I knew this is what we were supposed to do. I continued my research and my heart grew fuller and fuller and more dedicated to the many many children I knew were needing loving parents.

Finally one day, John decided that if this is what I truly wanted, than he would support me totally. We told our families and had an overwhelmingly positive reaction from everyone. My family and his family were very supportive in our decision.

John and I had been dealing with a great agency in Ohio. We began to collect the mountains of paperwork that is required for international adoption. The agency in Ohio was great and helped us a great deal with all of the paperwork.

In July we were almost done with the paperwork end. I always went to a photolisting called “Precious in HIS Sight” on the internet where they had pictures of children who were waiting for parents. I would look at the pictures and pray that these sweet little ones would find a home soon. I never imagined that the Lord had plans for 2 of those little ones to be ours.

In my heart of hearts I wanted a little girl and a little boy. I was convinced we would be getting one of each. But the Lord had other plans!

In July 1999, when my mother in law, Dottie, and I went to Indiana to care for my Mom after her ankle surgery I was on my mom’s computer, again, looking at all the pictures of all the little children. I came across a listing that I had seen numerous times before. It was of a set of ten month old twin girls from an agency in Portland Oregon called Dove Adoptions International. Again, I was convinced that we would be getting a little girl and a little boy, but the idea of twin girls was irresistible.

I decided to inquire on the set of twin girls. I got an email back several days later saying that there had been a family found for the twins. OK, that was fine, it wasn’t meant to be…. But still, God had other ideas.

A couple of weeks later when we were almost ready to leave Indiana, I got an E-mail from Dove saying that the twins were indeed still available because the family they had found decided that the twins weren’t right for their family. We were next on the “list” of people inquiring of the twins. They asked if we “were still interested”? OF COURSE WE WERE!

We went back to New York and a few days later a video arrived while John was at work. I thought “Should I, or Shouldn’t I?” Of course I should!!! I popped the video into the VCR and up came a video of 2 of the most precious, sweet, darling little baby girls I had ever seen.

I was as emotional as I had ever been. My heart knew that these were my daughters. I was afraid that John wouldn’t feel it too. When he got home we watched the video and he too, was in love, but still skeptical.

A few days passed while we pondered whether or not to take these little girls. I knew in my heart what the right thing to do was, I was just waiting on the Lord to show John that it was right.

We decided to accept the girls and immediately started the journey to finish this adoption and bring them home. This was in August. We had to finish a little more paperwork for the new agency, and we waited for our approval from the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

In September we were officially paper ready. We waited for a court date. We were told that it could be any time. So, the days passed. It was Now October, we really were getting anxious. We had set up the nursery, had a baby shower to end all baby showers, everything was done. All we had to do now is wait for the call!

Finally, On Tuesday, October 19, 1999 at around 1:30 in the afternoon the phone rang. We were told it would be another week before we knew anything so I was not “jumping at the phone” as I had been for the last month. The caller ID box said “OREGON”. My first thought was that something was wrong. It was Gail from the adoption agency telling us to pack our bags (which had been packed for a month already) that we were going to pick up our daughters!

YIPPPEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!

We had 10 days to get ourselves ready because we had to be in Russia on October 31, 1999. We were all as excited as we had never been before. We had to buy our airline tickets, get our visas, and we had last minute preparations to make.

Well, we had known all along that the Lord was in this whole process, but yet another thing came along to prove just how much he was. John’s boss at Dyn Air was able to get us FREE round trip Business Class tickets on Aeroflot Airlines with an open ended return date. The return was very important because we really didn’t know exactly how long we would be in Russia. We were told there was NO chance of having the judge waive the 10 day required waiting period. We had planned for John, Dottie, and I to go to Russia to meet the girls and for court, and then come back to the USA. A week later, Dottie and I would go back to pick up the girls. Stay Tuned for day 1 of our trip! (more...)

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