HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns
April 16, 2007, Herald Journal

A very blessed Easter

By JENNIFER GALLUS

Last weekend I experienced an Easter that I will never forget.

My sister and brother-in-law brought home two new family members who they adopted from the Ukraine.

After more than a year’s worth of paperwork and patience, and 25 days in the Ukraine, the adoption was final and the arrival into the US took place on Good Friday.

It was a great Friday. They arrived at the airport at 11:30 p.m., which means they arrived home at about 1:30 a.m. Saturday.

My mom came into town for the big event so she and I camped at their house to snap photos as they walked through the door for the first time as an expanded family.

The whole house seemed to have a warm and bright glow at those wee hours of the morning.

Even though my sister and brother-in-law were exhausted from their 18 hour trek home, they were all smiles and visibly giddy to be home.

My new nephew just turned 4 years old a few weeks ago and his name is Maxim. The pronunciation sounds like Maxine, but with an m at the end instead of the n.

My new niece, Julia, is 20 months old and is very expressive and girly.

We stayed up until about 4 a.m. talking about the trip and gazing at our new family members, who by the way are extremely shy, but extremely cute as well!

Who could blame them for being shy? What they must be thinking. Could they possibly know that their new home is their permanent home and that they’ll never be taken away? Probably not. It will all take time.

Time to prove they have a loving family who will accept them no matter what, and time to feel like one of the family.

Sitting down for a big Easter dinner with the two new little ones was more than fabulous. The prayer before the meal was that much more special.

This isn’t the first adoption for my sister’s family. They adopted my nephew Vlady from Russia about three years ago.

Vlady could only speak Russian, like Maxim, but picked up English within weeks. We were all amazed with how fast he spoke English.

Vlady will be six years old in a couple months and will surely have a blast with his new siblings.

The adoptions came about after my sister and brother-in-law already had three children, Erica, Matt, and Maria. They felt a calling from the Lord that they needed to adopt.

After adopting Vlady, they felt even stronger about adopting again because of the children they met in Vlady’s orphanage and the knowledge that these precious kids are just waiting for a home.

It takes quite a bit of paperwork, diligence, patience, and more patience just to get to the opportunity to travel to the orphanage.

My sister would tell me about these comprehensive documents that had to be completed by numerous people by a certain date.

Almost every conversation we’ve shared over the last year has included tidbits about her ongoing paperwork. The process was complicated and seemed to go over my head many times.

Now that they’re home they have yet more paperwork to complete in the next two weeks to properly finish the process, but boy is it all worth it.

They are quick to tell you that it is all worth it, yet they don’t need to say anything because you can see it on their faces.

They strongly recommend adoption to anyone who crosses their path and would gladly mentor anyone wishing to do so.

I know I’m a better person just for having such caring people in my family and by learning from their example.

This is just more proof that God is great!

Kid-isms

On the car ride to my sister’s house we were talking about day dreaming. My 6 year old was having a hard time comprehending what it was so I told him, “It’s seeing things in your brain,” to which he replied, “But I can’t turn my eyeballs around to look at my brain!”