Lew Bequette, WACAP dad and member of WACAP’s board of directors, recalls his experience traveling to Russia with his wife to adopt their son.
In August of 1999, my wife and I traveled to the city of Vladivostok in the Russian Far East. This trip was the culmination of a process that took more than a year, but was successful because of the help we received from a dedicated nonprofit, WACAP (World Association for Children and Parents).
During our two weeks in Russia we traveled four hours each way by car to the city of Nahodka, twice.
On the first trip we met our son Michael for the first time. After receiving final approval from a Russian court in Vladivostok, we traveled back to Nahodka to pick him up and take him home.
Michael was six months old then, and he was undernourished, under stimulated and behind schedule in every measurable way. The staff of the “baby home” was doing its best but could not provide adequate care due to extremely limited resources. When they brought Michael to us he had nothing, he was wrapped in a rag, and they needed the rag back.
After coming home, Michael performed the amazing “adoption blossom.” He gained weight, he developed all the skills that babies need, and eventually he grew up to be a good looking, smart kid with a bright future. And this summer, he also became a high school graduate, making his mother and father very proud.
So here’s what I would like to tell Russian officials:
- There are kids waiting to join a family.
- Life is pretty hard without a family.
- Organizations like WACAP are helping.
- Most Americans give their adopted children a safe home and a loving family.
Unfortunately, I will probably never be able to reach Russia’s president and officials with this message, and there may not be much we can do at the moment to help Russian kids or to change Russia’s adoption suspension from 2013.
However, since you are still reading, I will tell you the same things apply to kids right here in the U.S. and all over the world. WACAP, and similar nonprofits can help, but they need your help, too. If you would like more information on how you can help kids become part of a family, please visit www.wacap.org.
Next year I will tell you about my daughter Anastasia when she graduates.