My husband Tim and I had been working toward adopting a young boy from Ukraine that we had met three years earlier during a hosting program. He stayed in our home for two weeks at Christmas and then again for the month of July the following summer. We felt that Artem was a good fit for our family, so we began the adoption process. Little did we know then that, due to minor errors in our applications, it would take us three long years to be approved by the government of Ukraine to adopt. When that day finally arrived, we could hardly believe it! We made arrangements for our five-year-old son, Justin, to stay with friends, and made our way to Kiev.
As soon as we arrived, our facilitator told us that Artem had been placed into foster care thereby making him ineligible for international adoption. Our appointment with the State Department of Adoptions was two days away and we would now be facing a "blind adoption". We were hoping to find a child or children close to our son's age, so our facilitator recommended that we look at sibling groups. He said that it is almost impossible to find a single child in the younger age range who is still available for adoption since many Ukrainian families opt for that same set of criteria. We prayed hard and went to our appointment. We looked at four different referrals during our one hour session and kept coming back to the first set of siblings we had seen. We traveled by train to their region to meet them. They were cute and sweet, but THREE CHILDREN??? And three children we knew nothing about???
We took our time visiting the children, praying, and talking together about our decision. God was faithful in so many ways. He sent encouragement our way through his Word, supportive friends’ e-mail messages, and books we had taken along with us to Ukraine.
By the seventh day of visiting the children, our decision was firm. We would pursue adoption. Our process required three visits to Ukraine. Once we met the children and applied for a court date, we returned to the U. S. until we were notified of the actual date. Again, we returned home while waiting for the conclusion of the 10-day waiting period following the court session. Finally, our last visit included the completion of required exiting paperwork.
We arrived home on September 6, 2014, and what a ride it has been! We enrolled the children in school (Kindergarten, first, and fourth) and began the process of bonding together as a family.
It has not been easy, but God has been faithful. He continues to send encouragement to us just as he did during our decision-making days. Scripture and kind words from friends and teachers have kept us going on the most difficult of days.
There are many joys as well! Hearing everyone laughing together at dinner, watching the children play, and remembering God’s goodness in adopting us into his Forever Family are priceless treasures.
Since our beginnings, An Open Door has always felt a strong call to provide orphan children with loving, Christian homes.
There are more than 153 million children in the world who have lost at least one parent, and there 8 million children living in orphanages -- not counting those living on the streets or trafficked as slaves. Every year, there are also thousands of birth parents who face the incredibly hard decision to place their child with the best family possible. What a humbling privilege it is to be there for these children and families.
Since 1987, An Open Door Adoption Agency, Inc. has placed over 2,100 children. These include 1,400+ children from the state of Georgia and 700+ international orphans. Each of these precious lives represents many more people touched by adoption -- from the birth parents to the adoptive couple to the children themselves. What a great privilege it is to be there for them to complete their desire for a family.