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Russia Adoption

Russian Adoption: A Plan For Us.

My husband and I began our adoption process in October of 2003. We came to this decision like many other families do; I’m sure, after 9 unsuccessful infertility procedures. After several years of trying to have children I always just assumed it would “happen on its own”. I now like to think that God had a different plan in mind for me and my husband. My husband is also an adopted child. He has been very fortunate to have two loving parents that were also unable to have biological children of their own. I like to think that God knew Mike would have such great insight and understanding for what it would be like to grow up as an adopted child. He would have a common bond with our son that I could never truly understand. We decided to adopt an infant boy from Russia and were hopeful to find a child as young as possible since we had never experienced having a baby before. After many months of preparing the mountains of required documents, we received our first referral in April of 2004.

He was a beautiful little boy named “Oleg” with blond hair and blue eyes. He was 15 months old at the time. He was very healthy and seemed to be developmentally on track. When I showed the email photos of the boy to my husband he was amazed, but also unsure.

We had waited so long for a child that I couldn’t understand why he was hesitant. He merely said that he had hoped to be able to experience as many “firsts” in his child’s life as possible, just as his parents did with him since he was adopted at 6 weeks of age. The reports we had received had stated that “Oleg” was already walking, climbing, and speaking some baby “gibberish”. Reluctantly, I agreed with my husband’s “gut-instinct” and we denied the referral. Luckily, another family accepted his referral immediately, so I feel that wherever “Oleg” is he is doing just great. My husband kept telling me that “the right child, OUR child” would come along and we would know it when it happened.

The next month a beloved dog, Ellie, turned 3 years old and much to our surprise apparently lost her eyesight. We discovered that she had an autoimmune disorder common in her breed that caused her to become blind and eventually would to turn in Glaucoma. Even with extreme medical treatments and an upcoming surgical procedure to remove her eyes, she became critically ill. The week we were trying to decide whether to put her to sleep we received our second referral. It was the end of June 2004. We had until July 2,2004 to make our final decision. With our emotions completely frazzled at the thought of losing our beloved pet, we had to decide whether or not to accept this little boy known as “Vadim” into our life. When we saw his pictures for the first time it literally took my breath away. He was just 3 months old at the time and already we could see a warm, kind, glorious personality in his big smile.

My husband said he looked at him and said “I told you we’d know it when we saw it…he’s the one”. It ended up that at 1200 noon on July 2, 2004 we held our beloved “Ellie” tightly and watched her go to sleep. By 2pm that same afternoon we had to make our decision about “Vadim”. We looked at his pictures and decided that this was a sign. I like to think that “Ellie” did not want to share her “mommy” with anyone, but at the same time didn’t want us to remember that day as something so sad. We decided to accept the referral and looked forward to meeting our new “son”. We traveled to Russia for the first trip in August 2004. The trip was amazing and wonderful. It truly was a life changing experience. The very day we were to travel to the region of Kemerovo to meet our son a devastating turn of events happened in Moscow. The morning of our flight 2 planes flying out from 2 different airports in Moscow exploded with no survivors. It’s now known that they were attacked by two suicide bombers, both Chechnyan women that had hidden explosives under their clothing. We were so scared and knew that our families at home were likely thinking the worst. To our surprise, the remaining airports in Moscow did not cancel any flights. We were still expected to fly to the region that evening. With God watching over us we continued on our journey and safely made it to Kemerovo. When we arrived we literally had less than 2 hours before our translator, Lucy would arrive at the hotel to take us to the orphanage that was an hour and a half drive away in Polysaevo. Very tired and still shaken up, we managed to get to the orphanage. We found the orphanage staff very nice and the facility extremely clean and bright. They did not allow us to see any other children as they were afraid that they would know why we were there. When they brought in our little boy I can still remember it like it was yesterday.

My heart jumped and his little face just lit up and smiled! He truly looked like the happiest baby I’d ever seen. All the caregivers made comments on how they couldn’t believe how much he resembled my husband, which to this day we still receive the same comments regularly. We knew the minute we saw him that he was meant to be ours. The 2 hours we had with him were too short, but oh so wonderful. It wasn’t as difficult as I had anticipated when we had to leave him because I saw firsthand how much the staff cared for him and that he was truly a happy baby…I knew he would be in good hands until we returned to bring him home.

5 weeks later in October of 2004, we returned for the court appearance. Everything went well, no problems whatsoever. It was so much fun having him with us for that trip. I can’t explain the feeling of walking out of the courtroom knowing that he was “all ours”.

All in all it was a wonderful experience and one that has changed our life forever. “Bryce” is now 15 months old and doing incredibly well. He adjusted just fine and is thriving in every aspect of his life. We can’t stress enough how much we appreciated all of Commonwealth’s in-country associates like Lucy, Olga, Katya, Natasha, Alex, Danny and all the others. They were spectacular and we will miss them very much! We also would like to thank our case manager, Christina Bach, for holding our hands throughout the entire process, for without her none of this would’ve been possible.

I truly believe that there’s a “plan” for us all and my “plan” was to be “Bryce’s mom”. I can only hope that all the other families out there will have as great an experience as we did and of course, appreciate the gifts that God has given us. Thank you so much Commonwealth for all that you do!!!

Mike, Jodi and Bryce Bendick

This story has been provided by:

Commonwealth Adoptions International specializes in international adoption to help orphaned children overseas find safe, loving homes, assisting families throughout the world.

Commonwealth Adoptions International, Inc.
1585 East River Road
STE. 121
Tucson, AZ 85718
Guatemala, Panama, Brazil, India, Kazakhstan, China, Russia, Colombia, Taiwan, Ukraine, Vietnam



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