With two biological sons, ages 2 and 5 years, our family set out to adopt a daughter in 2009. We learned everything we could about international adoption, finally signing on with Adoption Ark. Our homestudy was approved for ages 6-24 months, and we set out to put our dossier together for Kazakhstan. Sadly, this plan did not work out since Kaz slowed their acceptance of dossiers and effentually closed their program in May 2010 when our dossier was the next in line to be submitted!
Having already invested a year into our adoption attempt (both emotionally and financially), we decided to try to wait out Kaz’s change to a Hague Convention country, hoping that it would not be too long before they would reopen and we could proceed with adopting our daughter. It was a long and difficult wait. We kept in contact with our agency, but questioned the choices we were making.
On March 11, 2011 I opened our agency's weekly e-newsletter and saw their featured waiting child. She was living on a different continent (in Hungary) and was already 3 years old (at least a year older than our homestudy approval) but I could not get her out of my mind. All weekend long I thought about this little girl and discussed her with my husband. I was convinced that God had placed this little girl in my heart and that she was meant to be ours. Luckily Hungary’s dossier was a lot simpler than Kazakhstan and we completed everything, including having our homestudy updated to Hungary and increasing the age to 24 months to 5 years, with the single exception of our USCIS approval within 6 weeks. Since we already had a current approval to adopt a child and current fingerprint clearances with USCIS even though they were through an I-600A, we were hoping that USCIS approval would come very soon.
This was a very stressful time because although we had prepared our dossier with the hope of receiving a referral on this special needs child and the Guardianship Authority knew that we desired to adopt her, it was not official until our paperwork was reviewed and we were actually given her referral. In other words, she could have been adopted by a Hungarian family at any time. Although it seemed to take a lifetime, we finally flew to Hungary and met our daughter on October 17, 2011(exactly 7 months from when we signed our contract).
The six weeks we spent in Hungary went pretty quickly even though we had to leave our two young boys (4 and 7 years by this time) home in the States with their grandmothers. The people that we met while in Hungary were so helpful and accommodating to us and went out of their way to make sure that we were comfortable and bonded with Bianka, and she with us. She had been with a foster family since she was 8 months old (about 3 ½ yrs) and they were wonderful people who took very good care of their foster children and were there to help us with getting to know Bianka and her quirks. She is a beautiful little girl who was born 3 months premature at less than 2 lbs. and she has had lots of obstacles to overcome during her short life. She is blind in one eye with impaired vision in the other and has significant developmental delays as well as being stubborn and head-strong in her ways! :) Developmentally, Bianka is like an 18 month to 2 year old toddler with all that entails including temper tantrums especially when she has difficulty trying to communicate with us and gets frustrated just like a toddler even though she is actually 4 years old. Despite her significant developmental delays, Bianka is a very clever child and has learned and developed a great deal during the 7 months that we have been home and although she still has a ways to go to reach the level of her peers, we have no doubt that she will continue to develop and will eventually catch up to her peers.
For anyone contemplating international adoption we can highly recommend the Hungary program. This is a wonderful program and the children who are eligible for adoption are very beautiful, sweet, loving children who receive very good care from foster families. The workers for the Guardianship Authority care very much for the children and will do anything that they can to make sure that the children find good and loving homes. We continue to maintain and treasure the friendships that we made in Hungary with Bianka’s foster family, case worker and case manager and Andrea, AA’s in-country coordinator. Now that we are able to look back, we realize that God was working in our lives when he put up roadblocks to our adoption from Kazakhstan because our daughter was not yet ready to be adopted from Hungary.
The Wills Family, Adopted 11/21/2011-Nógrad County, Hungary
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