|God sets the lonely in families... Psalm 68: 6a
We began this adventure on May 27, 1999, our 10th Wedding Anniversary! After making the decision to adopt again we immediately turned to International Adoption. We began by looking on the Internet for any information that we could find on countries that allowed foreigners to adopt. We started by requesting information from all of the adoption agencies that we could find that had international programs. In a few short days we had a mailbox full of brochures and information. We read everything that we received and narrowed our search down to Eastern Europe. The one thing that really held us back was the enormous cost! We did not know how we would ever afford the $20,000 - $30,000 that most agencies charged.
We were really interested in Ukraine because we liked the way that the Ukrainian government had set up their program. There is no pre-identification of children in Ukraine. Prospective adoptive parents gather all of the documents they need and then submit them to the National Adoption Center (NAC) in Kiev, Ukraine. Once the documents are received and approved by the NAC the family travels to Ukraine. The NAC gives the family a referral to an orphanage that has available children that meet the criteria of the children the family is interested in adopting. The family goes to the orphanage and views the available children and then decides if they would like to adopt one (or more!) of them. We really liked the idea of being able to meet and get to know a child before we made the decision to adopt.
After talking to several adoption agencies about their Ukrainian programs, we realized that the adoption agency could only help us with the U.S. portion of our journey. Once we arrived in Ukraine we would have a facilitator/translator who would be working with us as we completed our adoption. One agency even told us that they really could do nothing for us that we could not do for ourselves! So back to the Internet we went! We searched and found quite a bit of information on independent adoption in Ukraine. During our search we kept coming across the name of a lady named Cathy Harris. At that time, she had 3 adopted Ukrainian children and she was advocating independent adoption. When we were found her web site we realized that this was the way that we would be able to afford this process and it just seemed so right for us! We contacted Cathy via e-mail and she gave us a list of documents we would need. And so, we began to compile our dossier.
When we shared our plans with Lisa's twin sister Lori, we found out that she was also interested in adopting! Lori is single and wanted to have a family of her own! We are very happy to say that in late August 1999, Lori jumped on to the Ukraine Adoption Train and we shared this journey with her!
At first we had planned to travel to Ukraine in early 2000, but we realized that for a variety of reasons, we needed to wait until May. We filed our I-600A form (for permission to bring a non-US orphan to the US) with the Immigration and Naturalization Service. We were fingerprinted by the FBI and found someone to do a homestudy for us. When everything was done and we had all of our documents notarized and authenticated we sent everything to Ukraine to be translated. We had a wonderful facilitation/translation team.
On June 17, 2000 we left Seattle bound for Kiev, Ukraine. We arrived on June 18, 2000 and went to the National Adoption Center on June 20. We met with the ladies at the Center and were sent to an orphanage in Kivertsi, near Lutsk, in the northwest part of the country.
We took a train to Kivertsi and arrived there on June 22. We went straight to the orphanage and met with the orphanage director. She told us a little about the children that we were meeting. They were 4 years old and all three of them had lived in the orphanage for their entire lives. When the children came into the room, we knew immediately that little Yuriy would be our son! Lori knew immediately that Tatiana would be her daughter! We began the paperwork that afternoon to adopt them.
We spent a total of 3 weeks in Ukraine. On June 27, 2000 and we went to court and were declared to be the parents of Lucas Yuriy Williams! And Lori became the mom of Chloe Tatiana Farris. After the final court decree we had to stay in Ukraine for a 10-day waiting period. Some judges waive the 10 days, but ours did not. During the 10 days we visited the children at the orphanage, did all of the required paperwork, and did some sightseeing! On July 5, 2000 we picked the kids up from the orphanage and traveled back to Kiev. We had some additional paperwork to do in Kiev that included a trip to the U.S. Embassy. On July 8, 2000 we left Ukraine with our new little ones and flew to Warsaw, Poland where we would obtain their American visas.
We had a great time in Warsaw and loved spending time alone with Luke and Chloe. The were wonderful on the trip and we were constantly amazed at how well they adapted to their new lives...they had never been in a car, taken a real bath, or had anything of their own. They were little troupers and were in awe at everything that they saw!
On July 12, 2000 we boarded a plane for the good ole' USA! We arrived home to Seattle after a very long flight and 4-hour lay-over in Chicago. There to meet us at the airport was Luke's big brother Travis, Gran and Papa, Uncle Mike, Aunt Kristi, and cousin's Matt, Meaghan, Zachary, and Noah! We were all so happy to be home!
For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of Him.
1 Samuel 1:27