Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Parent to Parent: Private Adoption
A little girl who grew up in an orphanage in Russia is now celebrating the new year with her new family here in South Florida but they admit it hasn't been the easiest journey.
Corey Schmatjen: "It wasn't a matter of how many children we had, we just wanted to give the gift of life to a child."
The couple traveled all the way to Siberia where they met four-year-old Lana who lived in an orphanage.
Corey Schmatjen: "It just broke your heart leaving."
According to Russian law, they had to go to Siberia three times to get to know the little girl.
Corey Schmatjen: "At the end of those three days, you have to decide what you're going to do. Are we going to do it? Are we going to sign on the dotted line?"
They took a leap of faith and decided to adopt Lana but there were some concerns, like how their kids going to react.
Cindy Schmatjen: "We really tried to ask our kids ahead of time, 'are you guys up to this?'"
With the whole family on board, the next hurdle was cost. With travel and legal fees, the private adoption process can be very expensive.
Jeanne Trudeau Tate: "The average cost of a private adoption can be anywhere from $25 to $30,000 so that can be staggering to families."
So they turned to Gift of Adoption for help.
Jeanne Trudeau Tate: "Gift of Adoption is a phenomenal, charitable organization that provides grants to fund both domestic and international adoption."
Corey said they wouldn't have Lana if it wasn't for the financial help.
Corey Schmatjen: "We really needed those funds to get Lana from Siberia back home."
Now that Lana is with her new family, Cindy admits it's a big adjustment period.
Cindy Schmatjen: "It takes time for them to feel comfortable in your home. For them to feel secure, for them to be able to sleep normally at night."
Her advice? Be patient. Make sure you have a strong support system in place and since Lana's life is so different now. It's important to set up a daily schedule and stick to it.
Cindy Schmatjen: "The child is in distress and needs a lot of comfort, a lot of routine."
Despite the piles of paperwork and all the expenses, Corey and Cindy said having Lana as part of their family is a true gift.
Corey Schmatjen: "It is hard but the benefit is there."
FOR MORE INFORMATION: