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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

The Accidental Adopters

I’ve heard the question, terribly nosy and nervy though it may be, asked of those couples who become pregnant repeatedly: “Was this a PLANNED pregnancy?”

The best response:  “It is now,” followed by the vague and popular, “Why do you ask?”

But the average bystander never imagines that you can somehow “happen upon” adoption. It doesn’t accidentally follow a night of passion. It is deliberate, and costly, and time-consuming. And yet, here I am in Russia, wondering if we ever “planned” for this to happen.

Not really.

Benedetto and I were basically workaholics, traveling the world for the good of mankind, happy to come home at night and collapse. No little people to feed, tend to, worry about, console, mediate, monitor, wash or dry. Just us.

Then after twenty-some years of marriage, we started talking about kids. Biologically, the two of us seemed healthy enough to reproduce, yet we never felt the urge to replicate ourselves and our big noses. We knew of the many orphans in the world and how they needed families, stumbling by chance upon Russian adoption when we started to research. Given my family background, it piqued our interest and we embarked on that path.

We started out wanting baby boy twins if at all possible. Get two and be done with it. Which led us to an older, school-aged boy. Figure that one out. Long story.

After he came home, we tried to adopt his friends left behind. Another long story. No can do, they insisted. Following four years of blood, sweat, and tears, we got one of his friends. That was not accidental in any way.

By this time, the boys were both eleven and more than enough to fill our lives. Yet we started to update our paperwork, wondering if perhaps… maybe their friends in foster care would be returned to the orphanages? Best to be ready. Or maybe some siblings, younger children in the five to seven range?

Interviewing various international adoption agencies, a couple of them started heavily marketing us. All the agencies had waiting older children, those who had very few chances of ever finding a home. They sent us photos of exotic gypsy children, cross-eyed children, problem children with cute grins, boys with the same names as our sons.

Then one day we received a photo of two girls, sisters, gazing tentatively at the camera. My heart stopped for a brief second: they looked exactly like me. I searched their faces, somewhat sad and troubled in countenance, only one photo out of three with a half-smile. Did I see any sign of life? It was there, barely, calling out to me, as though these were flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone.

I tried to dismiss my feelings for them. After all, we had just been wiped out by a long and protracted four-year adoption, taking us through several scams ($$$), that finally ended in summertime travel for the four of us ($$$). Our savings had been diminished, then the stock market plummeted. This was not the time. And girls? We were more interested in boys, or maybe a boy and a girl.

But across the oceans, across time zones and nations, these girls called out to me. I was to come and get them. We asked all sorts of impossible questions: could I travel alone on trip one? It was winter time and I could go fairly quickly, whereas Benedetto would tend to our professional and family responsibilities and then travel on trip two.

Yes, they said. For only one person to travel, this already saved us thousands. Naturally, we made up those thousands with traveling again in the summer and paperwork that was ten times the amount of our last region, but it got us going down this path we had never planned. I think if we were fully informed about any major change of life, we might not ever pursue it.

So here we are, the accidental adopters, you could say. We have been awarded two beautiful sisters by the Russian Federation and their lives will be richer and more rewarding than could have ever been imagined, as will ours. Sometimes the twists and turns of life bring us into a beautiful place, unplanned though it may be.

“In all your ways acknowlege Him, and He shall direct your paths.”  (Proverbs 3:6)

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