This is such a heartwarming story!
And I am so happy that as part of the re-union
of the children,
I was asked to take their photos.
The text below is from
I interspersed my photos throughout the text.
A Sibling Reunion
Kelley and Andrew were having a fairly uneventful and positive experience with their Russian adoption. They were on course for adopting Ulyana and Irina in early January of 2008. But when the couple arrived back in Russia for their second trip, suddenly their journey became even more of a miracle.
The consultants in Russia informed them that the two girls they were planning to adopt had a brother. They received no further information at that time; however, on their third trip, they learned that the brother had been adopted from the same orphanage from where they were adopting their girls. Unfortunately, he had been adopted before the girls ever arrived there. They never had the chance to meet each other.
After bringing Ulyana and Irina home there was much celebrating with first meetings with family and friends. It was a joyous time! But when things calmed down, Kelley contacted Adoption Associates to see if she and her husband could gain further information about where the girls’ brother had been placed. They found out that he had been adopted by a family from the U.S., which was promising since trying to find him would have proven very difficult if he had been adopted anywhere else. AAI did some research and discovered which agency he had been adopted through, and then sent the family contact information for that agency. Once they contacted that agency, the caseworker contacted the little boy’s family with some of the biological information the family had received for their girls. It took several months, but out of the blue one day, the little boy’s adopted mother emailed Kelley.
“It was a leap of faith on their part,” Kelley shares, “and I will always remember the day that I sat down to check my email, and found one with an address I didn’t recognize. I was so relieved that it didn’t go into my spam folder! I was pleasantly surprised and ecstatic to find out who it was from!” Ulyana and Irina’s brother’s name was Nicholas. Kelley began corresponding with Nicholas’ mom, exchanging the small amount of biological information they had on the children’s family, and found that the names they had been given matched. Over time, they sent pictures of their kids to each other and saw that there was a family resemblance.
Nicholas’ parents told him about his sisters just before the following Christmas, and Kelley and Andrew told Irina and Ulyana about their brother at Christmas. They showed the girls a picture of Nicholas and it wasn’t long before they were talking about a meeting sometime in the future.
Both parents loved the idea and planned a summer meeting. Everyone was a little nervous as each set of parents were unsure how the kids would receive their newfound sibling(s). In preparation for the trip Nicholas sent the girls a hand-drawn picture of him waiting in his front yard to meet his sisters. After weeks of preparing, the big day was upon them. At first the girls were a little shy, but it didn’t take long and they were playing together in Nicolas’ backyard on his swingset. Both sets of parents couldn’t imagine it having gone any better.
Both families hope their meeting opened the door for a lifelong relationship. Both sets of parents feel as if they are one big family. Nicholas has an older brother (his adopted parents’ biological son) and he was equally excited to have two new sisters (and vice-versa!)
Kelly shares, “I truly believe this was a gift from God to be able to allow these children to meet. We are so very fortunate and blessed that his family took that leap to contact us. What came of our initial ‘push’ with Nicholas’ adoption agency was truly a wonderful thing. I can’t say enough about AAI’s wonderful Russian consultants who shared with us that the girls had a big brother. Our lives were blessed exponentially by their honesty and sincerity!”
I love this story!