It is a chapter we have been trying to write since we first married, twenty-one years ago. But we don’t control time, and we are only co-authors of our lives. It seems that this is the time and the Hand of God is writing furiously. Once we had made up our minds that it was time to investigate the possibility of adoption, the cogs caught and the wheels began to spin.
We discovered that we would not be eligible to adopt from Poland, as we had hoped, because our family is so large. It seems that it is possible, but that the wait would be considerable – smaller families are chosen first, from what I understood. The agency we were working with suggested that we consider Ukraine, and referred us to an agency. It just happened to be one local to us (serendipity!).
I rang them up and explained why I was calling. Karen, the director of Good Hope Adoptions (don’t you just LOVE the name?) asked me some questions about our family, and about the kinds of children we might be interested in adopting. She said she thought she had the perfect sibling set and sent me information the next day. We prayed and prayed to be prudent in our decision – we fall in love so easily. But we knew that these kids were perfect.
We looked around for a homestudy agency, and found one 20 minutes from home, and made an appointment over the phone to get started. And Karen arranged a phone call with the Ukrainian facilitator who knows our children. We talked for an hour. We both agreed that we should go ahead with everything required to bring these children into our family. She felt that we would all be a very good fit. We arranged to begin sending photos and letters, and soon phone calls or Skype sessions.
We asked for a blessing from our pastor (and Brian’s boss), Fr. David. He is so supportive and enthusiastic – like a grandfather would be.
And then the paperwork began. LOTS of paperwork. Forms, forms, and more forms. Checklists. Documents are piling up (which is incredibly satisfying to see). The older children have had their share of various forms to fill in – CORI checks, FBI fingerprints, DCFS child abuse checks… And they’ve been beyond amazing.
Caroline filling in her form for a DCFS check…
Officer Gaylord was so sweet. Curious about our adoption, cheerful, and very kindly let me snap a few photos of Cate, Jack, and Brian having their prints made.
I ordered books to create a unit study on Ukraine, and asked for help from friends – one who is of Ukrainian descent, and another who is an Eastern Catholic clergyman. We have collected a nice selection of resources covering history, culture, religion, food, and crafts. We have always felt that we would adopt the culture of our children’s country of birth – just as they will adopt our respective cultures (Brian’s and mine). It is what makes a family a family.
This beautiful traditional Christmas story from Ukraine inspired an idea for a photography project…
For the older children – a non-fiction and a novel.
And now, I suppose, I should introduce our beautiful children:
S and A. They are 17 and 12. Being 17 means that – ordinarily – you have aged out of the orphanage system and must make your way on your own. I won’t horrify you with the statistics, you can look those up easily enough if you’re interested. In the case of our children, S is staying on a bit longer in order to not be separated from her brother. She is a good student and hopes to go to college, she enjoys helping the staff at her orphanage with the younger children. We are working on arranging English lessons for her ahead of her homecoming. It should help her acclimate more quickly, prepare her for further schooling here, and perhaps get her driving license. He is also a compassionate child – and loves to play soccer. If we can arrange it, we will have him join in for English lessons to smooth his transition.
One of the things that Liliya told me is that she has been taking S to church with her. Despite not having had that in her life before, she has embraced faith. She has been praying every day for a family to take them in and give them a life. And we have come – God heard her cries and called us.
More recently, a friend that I have made in the process of investigating adoption from Ukraine, sent a link through a group we both belong to. It was a link with information about a young man who is waiting to be adopted. S is 15 years old. He has been passed over for adoption, despite his intelligence, kindness, responsibility, and abilities. After reading about him, and watching a brief video interview of him, we think he’s just amazing. And we are praying about the possibility of adopting him, too.
And we have enlisted these intercessors to help us:
St. Olga of Kiev
Fr. Michael McGivney, servant of God. Founder of the Knights of Columbus.
Now, phase II of paperwork commences – immigration forms and dossier compilation. And if everything moves as swiftly as it has been up to now, we have been told that our children will be home to celebrate Christmastide with us. What greater gift is there?
It will take a miracle for us to raise the funds that quickly. But we believe in miracles. If you feel called to be a part of that miracle, please visit our shop and choose something to purchase. Or make a contribution through Paypal (nissa_@_gadboisfamily_._com). Make sure your note says that it is for our adoption so that we can keep it separate. We don’t keep a penny of it – everything goes to the adoption agency, the facilitator, the orphanage(s), and both US and Ukrainian governments.
And we’re thinking about some other fundraising ideas – some fun things for folks to participate in while being a part of giving the greatest gift in the world to some fantastic children.