A Child Waits Foundation's Formation
In 1995 we traveled to Kirov, Russia to adopt our one year old daughter and three year old son. Just prior to leaving the orphanage we took a picture of our son’s orphanage group which is shown above on the slide show. This group consisted of our future son, who would hardly look at us, along with ten three year old girls who enthusiastically greeted us with outstretched arms asking us to pick them up. It affected us profoundly to see these orphans, who so desperately craved love and special attention, knowing that we had to leave them behind. They wanted what most of us have just taken for granted - the security that comes from having parents to love and take care of them as they grow up. We left Russia with our two children safely in our arms but those left behind remained etched in our thoughts. What could we do to help so many children?
When we got home our son and daughter finally received the individual care and attention that they had been yearning for their whole life. They inexhaustibly drank up our love and affection. The sad, unexpressive, faces that we saw in the orphanage transformed into attentive, vibrant, smiles. Our children’s changes and the obvious delight at their new life affected everyone who came in contact with them. Inadvertently, they became an advertisement for adoption. They magnetically attracted friends, family members and strangers in a way that made many other prospective parents follow their own paths towards adoption. But as people began the process they soon realized that the costs were high and that it would be difficult for them to continue without financial help. With this, we found the way in which we might make a difference. The impetus to create A Child Waits Foundation was the children left behind in our children's orphanage but the catalyst was the realization that with a little help, many more families would be able to afford to adopt.
In 1998 we formed A Child Waits Foundation and began to offer grants and loans to prospective families to enable them to bridge the financial gap to completing their adoption. At that time there were few other foundations with a similar mission. Consequently, the foundation immediately began helping families and each year our program evolved to accommodate the changes in international adoption.
By 2001 our family personally experienced the multiplying effect that occurs when people meet your newly adopted child and realize adoption is a viable option for them. Our children now had two more cousins adopted from the same orphanage in Kirov, Russia and one from Samara, Russia. Several friends had also adopted from Kirov. Soon, we would add two more cousins adopted from the foster care system in the United States.
In 2001, as a family, we went to Romania to adopt our third child, Cristina, our lovely three year old daughter. This trip shared the heartbreaking moments that occur when children are left behind. Our daughter was one of the last children to come to the United States from Romania before it permanently shut the door to adoption. Romania remains closed and the beautiful children we had met during our first trip to Romania have grown up as orphans. Today, it is estimated that there are 70,000 orphans in Romania and many more uncounted children on the streets.
Despite our recent increase in grants we continue to be a Foundation that believes in the personal touch. As Founders we remain actively involved with our staff and families and committed to helping as many children as we can. For us, it all started with our children’s joy in being adopted which now continues to spread through our foundation as it helps to prevent other children from spending their entire lives in orphanages.
A well-known adoption saying summarizes this thought:
" Adopting one child won't change the world:
but for that one child,
the world will surely change."