When you apply for international adoption, you fill out a survey that talks about you and your family. There are requirements for each country and the agency fits your specific needs to the requirements of that country. So, I had to have a country that was open to a single, white female age 33. I made the assumption that it would be Russia when AIAA came back and said “what about Bulgaria?” My response, “OK but I have no idea where that is…” More research… I found Bulgaria to be a beautiful, eastern European country that is about 1/2 the size of the state of Kansas. Its kind of nestled between Turkey, Romania and Greece. I was drawn to this particular program because Bulgaria had some pretty strict requirements at the time… 1) No kids are adopted out before 2 years 2) Three Bulgarian families must have passed on adopting this child 3) You have to come to Bulgaria to visit the child BEFORE they begin the final adoption process. The primary country to adopt Bulgarians was Italy. They had recently opened up the USA and limited it to only 3 US based adoption agencies at the time. They were talking my talk- doing their homework, protecting these kids– I AM IN! ….
It is now Oct 1997, AIAA and I begin the paperwork process of matching a child. I was asked to complete a 4 page survey with the purpose of what I would and would not accept in a child. (This is harder than it sounds). Would I accept a child with known special needs? Would I accept siblings if they were in the same orphanage? Would I accept a child with a physical limitation? OMG- what a soul searching process! Of course, we ALL want a happy, healthy child! But there are no guarantees even when you have your own. With that last statement, again I relied on my faith and asked God to lead me.
Within a week of completing this survey– AIAA called and said that we have 4 matches for you…. they were sending me an email with their profiles and pictures. OMG– this is really happening! There were 2 boys and 2 girls… all were beautiful souls. For some reason, I knew that I needed to adopt a boy so the choice was down to 2. A beautiful, blonde hair, blue eyed boy from Russia and a beautiful dark haired, brown eyed boy from Bulgaria. I felt like I was in the movie Sophie’s Choice… how do you choose when you will impact both of their lives?
I made my decision on the two boys… (through reading his bio and faith)– HOWEVER, I wanted to bring each of my family, close friends in individually and have them tell me who they would choose. I used my heavy sales skills and all I talked about was the blonde kid from Russia.. I wanted to see if they would go along with me or if they would think independently. Ironically, EVERY single one of them chose the kid from Bulgaria no matter how hard I tried to steer them the other direction… A little deceitful on my part.. probably. BUT I had decided on Janerr Resmie Akiff from Bulgaria and they all confirmed that my decision was correct. (I constantly watched for the blonde kid from Russia because it weighed on me that I did not choose him– I am happy to say that he was chosen shortly after my decision was made by a couple from the USA.) Welcome to the family Janerr! Now the mound of paperwork begins! …(to be continued..)