Monday, March 21, 2011

Adopting Twins, a Russian adoption story - part 1.

All babies were swaddled and covered head to toe - my girl's were seeing their
toes for the first time.
Adopting twins was overwhelming in two ways:  The first was that it was overwhelming.  The second, was that it was overwhelming.  Sounds a bit overwhelming, doesn't it!  Seriously,  adopting twins came with two beautiful blessings and one mom who didn't have a clue what she was doing.  I have four beautiful children now - two by sea and two by land.  A funny way of saying that we adopted twins internationally and I gave birth to twins seven years later.  Here's part 1 of adopting twins:  

The story started in 2002 with a realization that after nine years of marriage we still hadn't realized our dream of becoming parents.  We prayed continuously for an answer and finally found it in adoption.  I am an adoptee and always wanted to adopt, but I hadn't expected that I would be adopting before trying all the various fertility methods of conceiving first.  At the time, it just didn't seem right to spend a fortune on something that may or may not lead to a child.  In retrospect, these feelings towards fertility procedures were the main reason that led us to adoption first.  It was at this time that a program opened up through The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, for which we are members.  We knew they had a domestic adoption program, but an international one?  We were intrigued. 

I was certain that open domestic adoption would make me uncomfortable.  Like I said, I am adoptee and the thought of having close contact with the birth family was frightening to me.  These are not my feelings now, but back then, I was greatly fearful of this open adoption process and this is what led us to international adoption.   I was adopted with a sibling and I was certain that when we adopted, we too, would try for a sibling group. Interviews and paperwork flew out our door for the next six months! 

We originally chose to adopt from Kazakhstan.  A country with impeccable history of upstanding state-run orphanages.  We were shocked at the stories coming out of Russia and determined that Kazakhstan was the perfect situation.  We were almost 8 months into the process and just weeks away from finally finishing the long process; all our paperwork documented, notarized, and apostilled.   It was at this time that a new rule came down through the agency's that regulated no more than one child per couple could be adopted from Kazakhstan- unless they were siblings.  Unfortunately, there was no guarantee that there would be a sibling group.  We had three choices:  Switch to Russia where sibling groups were more prevalent (we also considered adopting two, non-siblings) or start over with another country.  With prayers in our frustrated minds and hearts, the answer came undeniably that we should adopt from Russia. Transferring our dossier to Russia meant that the paperwork would be minimal as Kazakhstan and Russia shared the American Embassy located in Moscow.  

It didn't take long for Mr. C to take on the name Daddy!
First Visit 2003

Miraculously just a few days after our dossier and paperwork were completed, the referral for our two lovelies arrived at the adoption offices.   The trip to the offices was momentous and exciting.  We arrived and minutes after we were handed their photos and information.  I equate that moment in the adoption offices to when each one of my boys were put in front of me after their birth - it was that wonderful.  this   To think that they had already been born and living a life outside our own was killing me.  We were close though and we could feel it.

Our paperwork and Visa's seemed to sail through all the channels needed.  In April 2003, 11 months after walking into the adoption offices, we were cleared to take our first trip to Russia and meet the girls.   We flew first into Moscow where we meant our translator.  We slept for a couple of hours and then caught a flight to Kemerovo where we would meet them for the first time.  Not knowing the ins and outs of Siberian flights, we were stuck in the back of the plane with what seemed like your neighbor in front of you right in your lap.  It was a fear felt flight and one I choose not to remember!  But, I would do it again for my girls -any day! I was just glad when we touched the ground.

the people's radio

As soon as we landed, we went to the hotel and slept until it was time to visit the orphanage.  We purchased snicker bars and coke for lunch with whatever bit of Russian we could handle.  We were very grateful for the snicker bars - let me tell yoU!  Our hotel was equipped with little more than two cots and this radio on the wall - or what we think was a radio.  Mr. C tagged this the people's radio.  Something fitting he liked to say!  Every floor of the hotel had a woman station down each hallway.  She would take your key when you left and do whatever housekeeping duties needed.  Just a few different things about our visits!

My next Twin Monday post will reflect on our first meetings with the girls and what it was like to go from zero to two overnight.  Nothing would've prepared me for that single moment when we finally met our little girls.  To have two babies to hold, when I had none just moments before - amazing. 

How do you feel about adoption?
Have you been to Russia?
Would you consider international adoption now?


Kimberly Harvey said...

Can't wait to read the next part!

Peppermint Patty said...

You're leaving me in suspense! You and C are amazing!!

Nicole said...

Beautiful part one of your story. Was always curious if you ever met their birth mom?

Natasha said...

What a beautiful story. Can't wait to read the rest. After going through IVF I am especially sensitive to this.

donna said...

Thanks for sharing your like with us...

Lauralee said...

I can't wait to keep reading.... Adoption is a wonderful thing...I am going to send this link to my sister-
I have never been to Russia..If we could afford to I would love to adopt here or internationally!

Shannon Gillman Orr said...

Wow, we should mother is an adoptee and it has been an amazing journey that has effected all in my family in the most happy way!