iMOM Adoption Story - Adopting Two Older Children
I’ve always wanted to adopt. I think my desire began at age 15 while I was working with underprivileged kids. There was a boy named Jason that I had the hardest time sending home every night. I just wasn’t ever sure what kind of condition he’d come back in.
I had three children before my 6th wedding anniversary. I still wanted to adopt. My husband, however, didn’t quite share my desire. We did, after all, have three healthy children. I think it is that way for a lot of people. You’re either very passionate about adoption, or it just doesn’t quite register.
I failed at several attempts to interest him. To be honest, failing is putting it mildly. I took him to some adoption classes and that convinced him we definitely shouldn’t adopt.
Plan B kicked in – I prayed for the Lord to take action. I believed it was possible. I shared with my sister that the Lord was going to have to drop a child in my lap. A year later, she called on the phone and asked me to go look out my living room window. I said why? She said “Do you see the church from your window? That’s your lap. They are planning a camp for 30 older children who are coming over from Russia and are available for adoption.” The church was looking for host families for the kids.
My girls and I decided to volunteer for the camp. We played with kids who came over from Russia. Of course, my girls aged 13 and 11 fell in love with two little girls a blonde and a redhead, aged 6 and 5. They begged Mark to go meet the girls in case their host family didn’t adopt them, so that we could. He finally relented, met the girls and while he thought it was crazy to agree to a 5 to 2 female-to-male ratio in our home, he agreed we couldn’t let them go back to Russia permanently. The door began opening!
And then it closed. The family hosting the girls decided to adopt them, so we signed up for the next camp. This time we would host two children, because if we were going to adopt, it would be more fair not to have three biological children and just one adopted child.
When I got the information on the children we would host for the camp, my heart sank. They were exactly the same ages as my youngest daughter and son. It would never work! I would have two girls turning 13 within the year, and all five would be teenagers at the same time! I told the agency that day that we would like children younger than ours. But wouldn’t you know, it was Mark who came home that night and said “Well don’t you think we should at least meet them?” What could I do? If my husband, who hadn’t even been interested in adopting was open to it, who was I to say no.
We agreed to host Yulia and Yura. They arrived a few days after Christmas on a Sunday night and looked pitiful. They came with nothing but layers of winter clothes on. We had bought them clothes and I even chose smaller sizes knowing they would be small, but still missed. Yulia was 12, but size 6x. Yura was sick with a cough and I was already consumed by guilt. What if this didn’t work. The camp was only three weeks and we had to make a decision by Friday so that they could find other families to meet them if we said no.
I woke up Monday morning in a panic. All was quiet. This was miracle number one, as my sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew were staying with us - putting the house total at 11. I sat at my kitchen table in an attempt to get a grip on the panic that threatened to choke me and opened my Bible randomly to Hebrews 11…By faith Abel…by faith Enoch…by faith Noah…by faith Abraham…by faith Isaac…by faith Jacob…by faith Joseph…by faith Moses… I’m not stupid; in other words, by faith I needed to walk through the next four days and see what God revealed. If we decided not to adopt – by faith I would have to trust that God had another plan for these children. Panic gave way to peace.
On Tuesday I took Yulia and Yura to see a friend who spoke Russian. I was dying for a little communication after just 24 hours with them. She chatted away and they were so excited to find someone who understood them. She asked about their parents and how they came to be in the orphanage and then she got a little overexcited. There were 3 more siblings - all younger.
“Where?” I asked. Yura said when he was in the hospital, his sisters came in to get a medical exam because they were going to Florida. That was the only time he had seen them in over a year.
“Florida! What do they look like?” I asked. One had blonde hair, one red.
“What are their names?” They had the same names as the two girls we had fallen in love with in the prior camp. After much excitement and identification through pictures it was confirmed that Yulia and Yura were the older siblings of 2 girls already adopted and living one mile from us.
The agency never guessed they were related; the children had different last names, and were in different orphanages two hours apart. But both sets of siblings were chosen to attend camps in the same city on the other side of the world!
We adopted Yulia and Yura, now named Hannah and Grant. They no longer live hours from their sisters - just one mile away! And, across the street from their two sisters, another family adopted the last child in Yulia and Yura’s family - the baby. It still amazes me that all 5 children are in the same city and I ponder at times what this new life will bring all of them individually and together.
Adoption is an amazing opportunity for a new life.
By Susan Merrill, iMOM Program Director
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