Welcoming our Daughter, Emma
March 20, 2007
We decided to adopt through Adopt-A-Child (AAC) after meeting a family in our hometown that had adopted a son from Russia through this wonderful agency. They had such a positive experience, that we barely looked into any other agencies. We drove to Pittsburgh (from State College) and met with the welcoming and experienced staff of AAC. Laura introduced us to the program, the regions and what we would need to do. We signed up right then and there.
AAC walked us through the entire process from start to finish. They were completely professional, confidential and very knowledgeable. They gave us clear directions on what we needed to complete for paperwork and everything went very smoothly. We had decided to adopt the youngest baby girl possible and therefore, chose the region of Rostov-on-Don. This region offered blind referrals, no video or medical information was provided and we couldn't confirm that we wanted to adopt this baby until we went to Russia and met her in person. About 11 months later (March 2004), Laura called with the good news that there was a then 7 month old girl waiting for us. AAC recommended a wonderful adoption pediatrician, Dr. Springer, from the Pittsburgh area that helped us through the blind referral process. She told us what to look for, what to ask and made an appointment for us to call and email her from Russia. About two weeks after we were called about the baby, we flew to Moscow and then to Rostov and were met by our Russian AAC coordinator and driver. They took complete care of the entire adoption process in Russia. The next day after arriving, we met the little baby girl. She was beautiful, healthy and happy. After checking out everything we could about her and discussing it all with Dr. Springer, we decided to adopt Emma. Our AAC coordinator took it from there and the Russian side of the paperwork was started. We flew back home after a stay of eight days and then received news that our court date was made for May 5, 2004. We flew back to Russia and adopted Emma. We had to stay in Rostov and Moscow for a total of 18 days due to the 10 day waiting period and a holiday thrown in as well. This was difficult since we had a three-year-old waiting for us at home, but it was all worth it.
Emma is now three years old. She is VERY healthy and smart. She has beautiful, long and curly hair and looks a little like her brother. She wears glasses for far-sightedness with one eye crossing inward. She goes to preschool three times/week and is the youngest in her group. However, all the teachers have remarked that she appears to be older than her peers and has lots of friends. She's a social butterfly making plans for playdates and going to birthday parties. She adores her older brother and he adores her. They fight like true siblings and don't know what to do without each other when one is away. We love her very much and thank AAC for helping us with completing our family.
Dawn and Jack VandenHeuvel