From Sister to Mom: A Life Marked by Adoption
A single adoption journey impacts so many lives.
Our minds often go to a child who was adopted or parents who brought a child home. But the following letter that was sent to our office recently proves that one life touches many… including a sister.
Brigitta’s parents’ willingness to open their home to a daughter from Russia inspired her to adopt her own daughter one day. And while fundraising was a major hurdle their family needed to overcome, Lifesong came alongside them with a matching grant—made possible by people like you!—to help little Lena come home.
In Brigitta’s words…
Our adoption journey to Lena Dae started many years ago when I was in high school.
I took a mission trip to Russia and had my first experience inside an orphanage. To say I felt shocked at the conditions is an understatement. I can still see the orphanage in my mind. It was a giant brick building up a long lane in the middle of nowhere. It felt so bleak and hopeless. I could not comprehend that every child living there did not have a mom and dad to come home to every night.
I connected with a sweet 11-year-old girl on the trip named Valentina. Something in my 15-year-old heart felt that she should be a part of our family.
My parents already had 4 kids, all almost teenagers, but that didn’t stop me from inviting her into the chaos. I came home and begged and begged my parents to adopt her.
My mom was always on board, but my dad was a flat no. Of course, I decided to put her photos all over our home, including one on his shaving mirror. A few months went by, and nothing changed. However, one day, my dad heard the Lord audibly speak to him.
He told my dad that our family had been so blessed, and we needed to share our lives with this precious child from Russia.
Valya became my sister when she was 14 years old. Our family’s journey did not come without hardship, especially the complications that come with adopting an older child. But we are so blessed by her presence! Her life began to sew a seed of adoption in my own heart. I am in awe of all that she has overcome.
Continuing in Adoption
Fast forward to my early years of motherhood while my husband and I were in the thick of raising our two small children. I mentioned adoption to him a few times, and he kind of blew it off as a “cute” idea. Well, I began the research… and he finally took me seriously.
Since I knew the extra hardships that come with international adoption, we pursued different paths domestically. But none of them panned out. With reluctant hearts, we thought we might try international. We chose the country of South Korea as a good fit for our family for many reasons.
Well, God had the perfect plan all along because we got matched with a little girl, even after being told it is quite rare to get a daughter from South Korea. But the fact that gives me chills is that her birthday is August 17—the same as my sister Valentina’s! We couldn’t believe it.
Once we considered international adoption and knew the costs that came with it, a friend told us about Lifesong. At first, we thought there would be no way that we could get a grant because we knew how popular it was.
When I received the letter saying we were awarded a $4,000 matching grant, my jaw dropped!
We were so very thankful! Not only did we get the grant, but we were so grateful for the Lifesong platform for our friends and family to also give and follow our journey.
Adopting in a Pandemic
Shortly after we got the news about our grant, we received the court date of April 2020 to bring her home and began immediate preparations.
Our plans were again thwarted, but this time by a pandemic.
Our court date was canceled. We got another, and another. Finally, we were told that we could come in September, five months later than our initial plan. But there was a catch: we needed to prepare to be in South Korea for 8 weeks instead of 2 because of their mandatory quarantine.
We couldn’t fathom leaving our other children for eight weeks to go to a country we have never been in. But we continued to pray and trust in our amazing God. We decided that I would travel with Joel (my husband) and our daughter, Saylor, and leave our son behind with his grandparents. Joel would return after the court date, and Saylor and I would stay the duration. It was a tough decision, but once we got there, we immediately knew it was the right one.
Experiencing South Korea
I cannot believe the gift we were given to experience Lena’s birth country with so much time and no other obligations. Because of COVID, we were able to do online schooling for our daughter, something that never would have been an option otherwise. South Korea is one of the most beautiful places I have ever traveled to, and we relished getting to learn so much about her culture. We realize that this was God’s plan for us all along, and now we will be able to better raise her with all of the knowledge we grasped from living there for two months.
We are now happily home with her.
It has been everything we could expect—happy, tiring, trying, messy, but most of all, extremely beautiful.
She has adjusted quite well, and for that, we are so grateful. Thank you, Lifesong, for playing such an amazing part in our journey.
I thoroughly appreciated Lifesong’s caring staff that reached out multiple times to help us work through the fundraising process. The actual platform to raise money was so easy to use and simple.
You were all amazing!
We believe money should never be the reason a child doesn’t have a family.
So we guide adopting families through the fundraising process, removing the financial barriers to adoption. Download Lifesong’s free adoption financial assistance application to receive matching grants, interest-free loans, and access to our free crowdfunding platform!
DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE APPLICATION
You can fund grants and loans to help families overcome the financial hurdles of adoption, as well as supporting orphan care ministries around the globe! 100% of your gift goes where it’s needed most to help orphaned and vulnerable children.