Church members discuss the process of adopting children outside the United States in this online exclusive.
“In the Russian adoption process, parents are required to make two trips to Russia. The first trip involves visiting the orphanage and meeting your ‘referral.’ The second trip is for a court date.
“After we returned from our first trip, we discovered I was pregnant (total shock). All we could think about was how we could get back to Russia to bring our son home. I don’t recommend traveling to Siberia while pregnant.
“We adopted Judah from an orphanage in Krasnoyarsk in July 2006. We brought him home in August. We had our daughter, Shiloh, on Dec. 18.
“We praise God for these two miracles and the way he put our family together.”
Dr. Bruce Dennis is an elder of the Fittstown, Okla., church. He and his wife, Sheri, have adopted a son, Ryan, from Haiti.
“We are on the board of the Haitian Christian Foundation and are supporters of the Petite Anse School and Haitian Children’s Home, which is under the oversight of the elders at Southwest church of Christ in Ada, Okla.
“We adopted our son Ryan from the orphanage in 2004, after traveling to Haiti on several occasions. Ryan was taken into the orphanage when he was 2 weeks old and he joined our family two years later after a lengthy adoption process.
“He is now almost 6 years old and our adjustment has been very easy. Our church family and community have been very supportive.
“We have three biological children — Zac, Holly and Coleman. Our older children have been on several mission trips to Mexico, Colorado and Katrina relief efforts. They were old enough to participate in our decision to adopt and it seems very normal to them to have a little brother that looks different than they do.
“Our experience has been so positive that my wife’s brother and our sister-in-law are now in the process of adopting three from Africa.”
Jessica Moore teaches in the Kinesiology department at Harding University in Searcy, Ark., and directs the women’s intramural program. She has adopted two girls, Aiden and Caily, from Vietnam.
“I’m a single mom — never married, but felt called to provide a home for children living in an orphanage in a communist country. More than likely, these children would never hear about Jesus or God …
“I had often been told I would make a good mother, and felt that God had blessed me so much that I wanted to use the talents he gave me to minister to these children without a family or home. It wasn’t a matter of my biological clock ticking … but a realization that I had the means to do this and I would not be listening to God if I didn’t do it.
“My sister, who is also single, had previously adopted two daughters and I had some knowledge of the changes adoption would bring to my life. She was a good role model!
“I was 41 when I made the decision to adopt, and 42 when I traveled to Vietnam to adopt my daughters. Aiden and Caily were born in Phan Rang, Vietnam, and lived in an orphanage that was built by my adoption agency — Ventures for Children, International of Fayetteville, Ark.
“Aiden and Caily were just a couple of months old when I began receiving pictures and videos of them. … Both will turn eight the end of March and attend first grade at Harding Academy. We are members of the College Church of Christ.
“I know of at least three other children, now living in their new Christian homes in America, whose parents were influenced to adopt because of my experiences. A family at College church adopted an older daughter from China because they had been moved by a story in our local paper that was written about my trip to Vietnam. It included a picture of me holding my new daughter, Caily, for the first time with a 15-year-old resident of the orphanage in the background.
“The caption of the picture mentioned that, when she turned 16, the girl would be forced to leave the orphanage with little or no prospects of a future. Many of the children are forced into the sex trade and taken to Thailand and other Asian countries upon their release from orphanages.
“One family was moved by the article and called me the day it came out, asking about the possibility of adopting that 15 year old. Unfortunately, she turned 16 and left the orphanage before they could complete their paperwork, so they ended up adopting a girl from China.”
April 1, 2007