In March 2004, my husband and I received an email from an adoption ministry asking if I could help find a Russian orphan with Achondroplasia dwarfism a home. At the time I was a district director of Little People of America, an organization that provides support and information to people with dwarfism. I immediately emailed the ministry stating that I would be more than happy to help find this child a home and to please give me a little more information on the child. They emailed with the information and were extremely excited about finding this little girl a family. We read the bio on the child and fell in love with her. My husband and I knew that this child was meant to be our daughter and that night, we began our journey through adoption.
Working with a wonderful adoption agency, we were able to complete this adoption from beginning to end in an astonishing 13 weeks. Our church family was extremely supportive of the adoption. They thought it was absolutely wonderful that a couple who already had 2 biological children would feel led to adopt a child all the way from Siberia.
After reading our home study and all of the necessary documents Russia approved us to only make 1 trip to bring our daughter home. On June 23, 2004 we landed in Moscow, Russia. Three days later we flew to Siberia. On Sunday, June 27, 2004 , we arrived at the orphanage to meet the Director. We were told that she never comes on the weekends, but she was extremely excited to meet us and was very happy that our soon to be daughter was going to have a wonderful family to love her. When the director arrived she immediately got tears in her eyes and said in Russian how happy she was for our daughter. She spoke to us about our daughter's medical conditions and history, including issues that she had regarding her dwarfism. After speaking with the director they asked us if we were ready to meet our daughter. We could not believe it; the day had finally come. They took us into another room and brought her in. Trent and I looked at each other and could not believe how perfect she was. She looked exactly like Trent's oldest sister, who happens to have been adopted.
On July 1, 2005 they brought our daughter to our hotel room. Tears streamed down the caretakers face as she gave her to us . Everyone, including the judge, was elated to finally see our daughter receive the family she deserved. On July 8, 2005 we landed in Atlanta, GA. Trent's mom picked us up from the airport and could not get over the fact that we were home with our daughter. When we arrived to Trent's parents' home, where our other 2 children had stayed while we were gone, everyone came running out with excitement. Our 2 children were thrilled and amazed that we really brought a sister home for them. Our new daughter immediately bonded with our son and daughter.
Now that our Anna has been home for over a year, I look back on all of the incredible accomplishments we have made . Last August, she began kindergarten along with her brother. She has made wonderful strides with speech and language, with the help of consistent speech therapy. Family and friends are continually amazed that she has only been part of our family for a year.
Trent and I are truly blessed to have Anna in our lives and without adoption this would not have been possible.
Trent, Amber, Jonah, Anna & Elizabeth
How my daughter sees me and how I see her
Developmental evaluations asses all areas of development: cognitive, social-emotional, physical development and self-help adaptive skills
It wasn't easy leaving home and our lives for 47 days but it was time we wouldn't trade for anything
Many children who have resided in very deprived institutional environments may present with a pattern of autistic-type behaviors
The blessings of special needs adoption
Supported by a team of therapists, her parents and her siblings, Alaina is joyfully learning what she can accomplish.
Studies reveal what parents should know NOW to better advocate for their children
Despite our best efforts, the incessant questions from strangers chip away at our foundation