I’m sharing this beautiful story of adoption from Heroic Media’s blog.
I love this story because I know DeeDee and the love she has for her children. I also know how God continues to call and to use DeeDee and her family for His glory.
I also see hope in this story because it happened over 20 years ago. I think we often believe that international adoption is a new thing and that can lead to despair as we see the challenges that are often present during a journey toward international adoption. But DeeDee’s story reminds us that God has brought many families together through tough and uncertain circumstances, and he will continue to be faithful today, tomorrow and forever.
During the month of November, Heroic Media is celebrating National Adoption Month! Our blog will feature personal stories of adoption from parents, siblings and more. To learn more about Heroic Media’s “Adoption Option” TV commercial campaign and its successes, visit our website.
Our first story is from DeeDee, who was inspired to adopt her second child from an unlikely place – an episode of the news program 20/20.
It was 1990. Paul and I had been married barely two years. The weekend was finally here, and we felt drained. But we’d preformed a miracle: we got our 7-month-old baby to sleep, and we were happy to flop on the couch and relax. We turned on the TV, not knowing that the show we were about to watch was going to change our lives forever.
20/20 was airing a special concerning the plight of the Romanian orphans. Image after image of those poor children in those under-staffed, dilapidated orphanages flashed across the screen. These kids had little to no medical care and insufficient food. Their innocent faces were so sad, so scared, so hopeless.
For weeks after viewing that program, I tried to go about my everyday life, but that proved impossible. Out of the blue, someone would ask me, “Hey, did you catch the 20/20 show last week?” or I would see a young child who reminded me of one of the orphans. I literally started having headaches when I would think about the show. God was getting my attention. I never thought myself worthy of being called by Him, but I am sure that is what happened. And I’m also sure that He knows me well enough to know a gentle nudge wouldn’t do the trick. Sadly, I am sometimes like Saul, and I need to be knocked off my horse.
I knew I had to do SOMETHING. But what? I’ll never forget discussing that question with Paul. We were standing in the kitchen of our humble home. Paul had recently started a new career, and I had quit teaching when our baby, Jennie was born. Financially, we didn’t have a lot. But Paul, without hesitation blurted out, “Well, let’s just go get us one.” He made it sound so simple. For the first time in my life, I was speechless.
Well, that’s what we decided to do, “ just go get us one,” but it was NOT simple. (Due to the collapse of Nicolae Ceausescu’s regime, Romania was suffering. Ceaușescu, Romania’s former tyrannical ruler, and his wife, had recently been assassinated. His rule had resulted in extreme shortages of food, medicines and other basic necessities. The country was left with an abundance of orphans due to this tyranny. And Romanians didn’t want us going there.)
With much prayer and reflection, we mapped out our plan. We attended information-gathering meetings and endured home studies, fingerprinting and background checks; finally we were ready. From the second we decided that this was what we were going to do, I felt like my child was waiting for me in a Romanian orphanage, desperately wanting for me to come and rescue him.
Paul and I were in Romania for almost two weeks with no luck. Nothing was easy there; we’d even slept a few nights on a rat farm. We couldn’t fathom why God had sent us on this mission if we were not going to succeed. We became frustrated and disillusioned. We questioned God. We prayed that night. Hard.
The next day, we found Victorosh. But there was much to do if he would be coming home to Texas.
Paul needed to get back to Texas, so he flew home while I finished the adoption process, or at least, I tried. You see, there really wasn’t a “process.”
The Romanians did not honor appointments, time commitments, nor schedules of any kind. Often I would show up to a meeting, and no one would be there. Three hours later, the person with whom I was to meet would appear just to tell me to come back tomorrow. In addition, the Romanians tried to discourage adoptions from happening. I was questioned time and time again, “Why do you want to take away a future Romanian soldier?” “Do you wish to experiment on our Romanian children?” “Your already have a child. Why do you really want another?”
There were hurdles to jump through that changed on a daily basis. To be admitted into any orphanage, I needed to provide the orphanage workers with cigarettes, chocolates and medical supplies. To get Victorosh, out of the orphanage, the doctor with authority to release him requested twenty pounds of meat as “payment.” To adopt Victorosh, his biological mother needed to give her permission; we knew she had turned down another couple just weeks earlier. There were documents to be translated from Romanian to English and from English to Romanian, and the list of needed documents changed daily. Finding the necessary people to perform these always-changing tasks was daunting. I cried a lot.
Moreover, adoption rules were not set in stone (no pun intended). At times, I felt overwhelmed and wanted nothing more than to drop this adoption plan and fly home to be with my husband and my baby girl, both of whom I was missing with all my heart. But I felt that Victorosh was now my child, too.
However, in all the chaos, God was there. We could never have found our son without Him. We’re thankful every day that we made that journey and trusted that God would help us. I see now that he removed obstacle after obstacle. We can’t imagine our lives without Victorosh, whom we named Brandon. We’d choose him all over again!