We are Bill & Marie from the Midwest. We have a total of five children from previous marriages. They range from 16 to 25 years old. Our adoption story began about 4 years ago with the birth of our 6th child, Anthony. What a joy! He has really sparked something in our lives and made us feel like being kids ourselves again! This time around, raising Anthony is so different from raising our previous children; maybe we're more patient, maybe we value life that much more as we are getting older? Go figure.
We began to worry that Anthony would basically grow up alone as his closest sibling is 12 years his senior. We decided to try to have another child. Three years, and two miscarriages later... no luck. We had given into the fact that this was not going to happen and this was just "God's will".
My wife has always felt God has been telling her to do more with her life than the present role she plays and she has always been interested in adoption. She started watching a show called "Adoption Stories". That was the start of this all. I was never really into adopting "someone else's child" and shrugged off her casual comments. Little did I know that she has been searching and inquiring on the Internet about available services and children. She began to search sites and see all these little faces just waiting for a loving home. I did not know how emotionally "wrapped up" in this she was. Months had gone by (I am brought to tears just writing this part to you)
One day, she had showed me several pictures of different children that looked like our children and one even had the same name and birthday as her 20 year old son, Michael that had died in 1998. I shrugged off these pictures and gave little thought to adopting.
Up until the day she showed me the picture of Aidana, I had not wanted to talk about any adopting and went on with things. Un-benounced to me, she had found a little girl named Aidana on a web site and printed up her picture. She had also talked to the agency and basically told them she was interested and wanted to proceed further. She later told me that she had hid her picture and the fact she called an agency from me until one weekend when we went camping. She said she was afraid to approach me about her or the subject. (I regret to this day that I made my wife feel uncomfortable about approaching me about anything)
She reluctantly showed me her picture and immediately said "look, she has Anthony's cheeks" Again I shrugged it off. Slowly she approached me again and we then started talking about the possibilities of adoption.
Things came to a point where she felt an urgency to act about Aidana as she felt we would loose her. She bonded with her picture almost immediately.
I will never forget when I was I was driving in my car, just a day or two later and I asked God for an answer to this dilemma. I asked him for just the smallest of signs about what to do because I was inable to make that decision. What happened almost immediately has truly revealed to me there is indeed a God. No sooner than asking God out loud in my car for a sign, I was overcome and overwhelmed with emotions, I had to pullover to the curb and began hysterically crying, not out of fear but out of love for the little picture I had seen of Aidana. I knew instantly this was my "little sign" from God, but he didn't let me know how really big his sign would impact me. I know he knew.
Instantly, I felt a protective, overpowering need to "save" Aidana from her world and was convinced she was actually my child from that moment on. My brain took over and I thought to myself, "God doesn't just give signs to anyone that asks" and started to question those overwhelming feelings I had just had.
I called my mother at work and could hardly speak any words... I asked her if God would actually give someone a sign or an answer to a question? I was in hysterical tears the whole time and asked her for reassurance that God would want me to help Aidana, even though my heart already knew the answer. She immediately told me she has never been so proud of me in my entire life than at that moment. I told her a little about Aidana and told her I had to call Marie now. (She later called me back minutes later and was crying and said that she had felt that she already loved Aidana. (sorry, crying again)
I called Marie while whaling in tears, she asked what was wrong. I could hardly get out the words but I managed to say to her "how could I let MY little girl stay in that country another day and asked Marie to forgive me for being so selfish. We were both in tears.
I was just so overwhelmed by that day, that now through this long process, as I get small bouts of discouragement with all the paperwork, etc., I think back on that day or look at her picture and the fears and frustrations melt away.
The agency said that although she cannot be "legally" held for us, the odds were in our favor once the paperwork process was complete. (She was still on the Kazakhstan availability registry list)
I don't know what we would have done if we aren't able to adopt Aidana. We both felt as if we are already her parents. That was "my little girl" there and I had to do everything in my power to bring her home. We left it in God's hands believed that this was HIS PLAN for us. I can't imagine that I would have such strong feelings for nothing. At least I prayed for that.
In writing these feelings, I have come to the conclusion that this adoption was never about what we felt we needed, but was God’s way of bringing us together and bringing her home had become the most important thing in our lives.
We decided to document our trip from start to finish as much as possible as when we had questions, we were only able to get “bits and pieces” about other adoptive family travels and wanted to give others some actual information and to share our experiences with anyone who was interested.
Why a web site? In the beginning, Marie and I would always get excited about ANY little bit of information or maybe just a picture of the area, just to get any kind of feeling of what we were in for. We thought if we could make it a little less intimidating and possibly encourage just one family to adopt, we would be eternally overjoyed. We will make it our life's work to help others feel this joy by documenting our trip via web sites, e-mails etc.