Meet Erin & Phillip and their BIG family with BIG hearts!
Meet Phillip, Erin, and their family - we love this story of an incredible family who has adopted several times before and are now adopting again - here's their story:
We first felt led to adopt in 2009, after the birth of our second son and watching friends adopt a child with special needs from China. We were too young to adopt from China due to their age requirement, so we investigated other countries and in that process came across how orphans with special needs are treated in Ukraine. We knew that was where we were supposed to go.
In December 2010 we came home with our daughter who was 4 1/2 and has cerebral palsy, visual impairment, failure to thrive, Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, and other special needs. We learned about attachment issues and post adoptive depression the hard way. We struggled with our school system and lost friends due to how isolated we became. BUT we persevered. We got her the treatment she needed, the evaluations she needed, the therapy, and an IEP.
Then in 2013 we decided to host a little boy from an orphanage in Ukraine for the summer. It was supposed to just be our at home mission project, because we knew we had to do something more after seeing the kids we left behind when we adopted our daughter. We fell in love though... and found out he had three brothers. Oh man! So we did the rational thing and hosted him again with his older brother. The boys asked us on that visit to adopt them. It took months of fundraising and paperwork but we raised it all, went to Ukraine and adopted them. We now had six kids at home ages 5-11, 4 with varying special needs. We were DONE!
We moved to a larger house, a better school district and spent our time attending IEP meetings with our advocates to get the kids what they needed at school. Then SURPRISE - we got pregnant with our bonus baby, which ended up being a high risk pregnancy complete with bedrest. After baby was born healthy, we really were DONE. No more kids!
Then a friend asked us to please be a backup host family for a little boy they were having trouble with. Could we keep him just for six weeks? So we did... We planned to re-host him for Christmas, but his circumstances at the orphanage changed. A sweet teen girl from his orphanage messaged me on Facebook one day to let me know she was so sorry, but he was gone.
A few hours later she asked me, "Are you still planning to host a child for Christmas? Could I come instead?"
So many reasons not to... we are DONE. We have FIVE boys. She'll hate it here. We have never hosted a teen. We are tired. The baby doesn't sleep well. What if....?
But we did. We met the sweetest 15 year old girl at Dulles airport in December 2017. She immediately took to playing Army games with our boys, watching movies, braiding my little one's hair, and helping me with dinner. Everyone loved her. WHAT IS HAPPENING?! Hosting had always been crazy hard (blessed but hard!) due to the behaviors kids can come with. We hadn't expected it to be easy!
She initially told us she just wanted to visit for Christmas, but the day before she had to leave to fly back to Ukraine, she tagged us in a Facebook post that said, "I have a new family now. I want to stay with them forever." I cringed at the thought of the paperwork required to do this. We have adopted twice before and the paperwork takes MONTHS. Its expensive. Its hard. I hate it. I hate the process. But a quote popped into my mind.
"Don't be worried about the time it will take to accomplish something. The time will pass anyways."
So we figured, hey we'll eventually be 6 months from now anyways. Why not start the home study paperwork and just DO THIS THING?! So we did. We have. We are done. The paperwork is over. It’s submitted to Ukraine right now. We are waiting on a travel date and we still need $9000. Our best estimate is that we'll travel at the end of June. We are racing the clock to have things done before our new daughter turns 16 when she will age out of the orphanage.
Thank you for your help and support of our adoption. Please help us bring Y home! Statistics for orphans aging out in Eastern Europe are staggering. 80% of girls end up trafficked and 80% of boys end up incarcerated. Every little bit helps!
This family's week has ended. If you would still like to support them, or keep up with any adoption updates, the family has set up a page on AdoptTogether:
Erin & Phillip Adopt Together Fundraiser Page
**AdoptTogether is an an IRS approved 501c3 non-profit organization helping families crowd fund for their adoption expenses