Families looking to adopt begin a long and hard journey that has its highs and lows, with an end reward that can’t be described.
Rob Jolley and Debbie Jolley have adopted children from orphanages in Eastern Europe. Through Aug. 8, 13 Ukrainian orphans from the same village the Jolleys adopted from will be coming to Utah to hopefully find a family of their own.
Calvin Wendelboe, who works in the compliance and audit office at BYU, has adopted three kids from Ukraine with his wife.
“Just having three more mouths, financially, there is a little more pressure,” Wendelboe said. “There are adjustments for the most part; in all its been a great thing.”
Having the kids come to Utah is going to allow families that are interested to meet and interact with the orphans. Families interested in certain kids are going to be “host families” for the few weeks they are here. During the week while the kids are here, they will be doing activities such as bowling, swimming, skating, boating and even attending a Real Salt Lake game with host families and other families that are interested in adopting.
Dee Garza, founder of Heart and Soul Adoptions, believes adopting a child changes the child’s life in a tremendous way. It gives a child the attention, care, opportunity and love he or she needs to be successful in life. By adopting a child, it not only changes the orphan’s life but it changes the family’s life.
Garza thinks adoption is an emotional roller-coaster ride. It can be easy at times, but on the other side of the spectrum, it can be very difficult. The adopting parents rely on the birth mother and the birth mother relies on the adopting family.
“You are dealing with a human life and money,” she said. “You see peoples’ true colors. They are no longer in control.”
For a birth mother, she can only hope she is doing the right thing and that her child will not hate her for doing what she thought was best in giving the child the life that she wouldn’t be able to provide.
“The birth mom’s worst fear is the child will hate her or the adopting family will not follow through,” Garza said.
Families adopt for different reasons, whether it be infertility issues, wanting to provide a home and a family to a child in need, or wanting to bring a girl into their family because they have a boy, or vice versa.
The family of Karli Sibley, a 22-year-old from Provo, adopted an African-American girl when Karli was 14. Her mom wanted another girl but kept having boys. After having her last boy, she decided she would be done having kids and would eventually adopt. Sibley believes that because her family adopted her little sister, it has changed her family’s life.
“We are the ones that have been blessed with her,” she said. “She has completed our family and we love her unconditionally.”