Avi // India - The Dream Village

Avi // India

Avi was three years old when Hal and Carey met her in an orphanage halfway across the world in India. The sterile, white-walled building was all she’d ever known.

The orphanage required parents to visit the orphanage for three days so their child could become a little familiar with them before leaving. This way, when they left, mom and dad would be familiar faces and Avi would cling to them. Avi never warmed up much during those three days. She was fascinated with the nail polish Carey had brought, but other than that not much interested her about her new mom and dad. She was old enough to know what was about to happen next and she was probably terrified and sad.

The goodbye ceremony at the orphanage was emotional for every one in that room. Prayers were recited, songs were sung, scriptures were read and then everyone kissed Avi goodbye. The orphanage director handed Avi to her mom as she cried and screamed. We jumped into waiting cars to head to Cochin so we would be near the airport for our flights the next day. Avi cried herself to sleep on the drive. The next morning she was still somber but she clung to Carey just like the orphanage director said she would.

This sweet girl has been home for almost five years now and her transformation is incredible. Her sad eyes have been replaced with joy! Take a look at her first few days with her mom and dad and then take a minute to watch her video. You’ll be glad you did!

adopt, adoption, orphans, foster care, family, china

Lucy // China

There were nervous smiles on the faces of all the families picking up their children that day. Everyone had the same tight-throated laughter and tried desperately to distract themselves while they waited for their child to be brought into the colorful room. When Lucy’s caretaker brought her into the room, Josh and Amy’s faces lit up like a Christmas tree. The care taker handed Lucy to her mom and she began to cry. Amy, who came prepared with a bottle, quickly gave it to her daughter and the tears eventually subsided. For Josh and Amy, those first moments seemed to be filled with excited anticipation mingled with uncertainty. There was obvious relief that they were finally holding their baby girl… but there was also a heavy blanket of sorrow for this child who had lost so much for her 18 months of life.

No family every knows how a child will react when he or she meets her forever family. Although Lucy cried, she clung to her mom and didn’t let go of the bottle she had brought to comfort Lucy. It was almost as if time stood still in that little room in Zhengzhou, China. Four families met their children that day and nothing else mattered.

Get a glimpse of Lucy’s first few moments with her mom and dad below. You can also read more of Josh and Amy’s adoption journey here.

Avi // India - The Dream Village

Vincent // China

Adoption has always been a part of my life… almost for as long as I can remember.

I have three adopted siblings, an adopted son, an adopted nephew, adopted cousins… the list is long. In 2014, April (my friend/business partner/sister from another mister) and I traveled to India to document an adoption and I made it a goal to travel as often as possible with families who are adopting. Adoption is so dear to my heart.

Let’s rewind for a minute. I spent my first 9 years of life in a tiny town in northeast Ohio. Minerva was the home town of both my parents and it seemed like we were related to everyone! Bree was one of those relatives — our grandparents were siblings. I moved off to Wisconsin and then later to Alabama so the last time I really remember seeing Bree we were somewhere around 8 or 9 years old. We may have crossed paths at some point after that but my memory is horrible.

Thank goodness for Facebook, right? Somewhere over the last 10 years, we became friends on Facebook. I watched from my corner of the world as she and her husband had a baby, adopted a daughter from China, moved to Denver, etc.

Then one day a little over a year ago, she messaged me. She and Cody were adopting from China again and she wondered about the possibility of me tagging along to document the day they would meet their son. Well… long story short… the details worked out and April and I went to China in May.

There is no way to describe the feelings involved in adoption.

It’s something you just have to experience. Even if you’re just a bystander, the emotions in the air are thick. It’s heavy and happy all at the same time. An orphan is connecting to strangers he’s never met. He’s supposed to call them “Mom” and “Dad” but he’s never even seen them in real life. He’s about to leave everything he’s known for a place he’s never seen and every child responds differently. It was amazing to watch Vincent warm up so quickly.

Grab a tissue! Here is a glimpse of the days leading up to Vincent’s “Gotcha Day” and the moments when Cody, Bree, Lucy, and Landry met Vincent for the first time.