Building a Bridge for Open International Adoption


Ukraine has been a fascinating place to work in adoptions for the past 12 years. MLJ Adoptions’ work in international adoption has given me an opportunity to see how adoption can transform lives. I have had the privilege of meeting individuals that have given their lives to help and care for orphans. I have been inspired by people that have very little but have given everything they had to help others. These people truly know and feel the sacrifice of giving their all. I feel humbled when I see their sacrifices and know that I am so blessed.

I was involved in an adoption from Ukraine of a young boy, Alex*. His forever family (from the U.S.) went to Ukraine and was offered three siblings; Alex age three, Nadia age seven and Greg age eight. Although the family was not expecting to adopt three children, and two over the age of five, they felt God had placed these children into their lives and they moved forward with the process to adopt the entire sibling group. They came to learn of the siblings’ stories. Alex, Nadia and Greg all lived together until Alex was a year and a half. Their grandparents attempted to raise them but due to failing health the children had to be placed in an orphanage; Nadia and Greg were placed in a different orphanage than Alex. The grandparents were heartbroken but continued to visit them monthly. The older siblings had a French couple that had visited with them several times and had grown quite fond of them. The older children’s orphanage wanted the French couple to adopt the children and refused to approve the U.S. couples requests to visit or adopt the children. Therefore, an effort was made to permanently separate the children and the U.S. couple adopted Alex. They had to stay in Ukraine for almost eight weeks. They grew to love not only the people, but the country as well. Although, the time spent in Ukraine was extremely difficult they believe it was meant for them to learn about their child, bond with their child and meet many wonderful Ukrainians.

I can remember being so relieved when the family finally returned with their gorgeous little boy. They were so proud of him and he grew to have a wonderful sense of humor and a sensitive, loving heart. After being home for almost a year, Alex’s mother asked for me to mail pictures of Alex to his grandparents during my trip to Ukraine. However, as Ukrainians would have it, they offered to take me to the grandparent’s home for a personal delivery. I had no idea how they might react. However, upon giving my story to the grandparents, tears of joy began to stream down their face. The news of Alex’s adoption gave them a sense of peace that they had desired for almost a year. The grandparents had only been told that Alex had been adopted.

We continued to talk and laugh and they gave me pictures of their family which included Alex biological parents and his older siblings. That afternoon I realized the true joy and peace adoption can bring not only to the adoptive family but also to the birth family.

A year later I traveled with Alex’s mom to Ukraine and we spent a couple of days with his family. The birth family had so little to give us but gave us gifts and shared a plentiful dinner with us. I knew that would likely have cost them at least a couple months’ salary. They know the true meaning of sacrifice, one that I have yet to learn. It is hard to imagine true sacrifice when we have been so abundantly blessed living in the U.S.

During our visit we learned that the older siblings were adopted by the French couple and Alex’s family has been able to contact them as well. Alex’s mother cherishes the experience she had with her son’s birth family. In the eyes of the birth family and the adoptive mother I experienced the bridge of love and gratitude that can built between two families through adoption. These moments are why I love international adoption.

*Names have been changed.

MLJ Adoptions is a Non-Profit, Hague-Accredited adoption service provider located in Indianapolis, Indiana, working in Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Pacific Isles. We are passionate about serving children in need.