We’d like to share an article which appeared in a local American newspaper on Sunday 29th July (“The Truth” in Elkhart, IN) about one of the Nest babies who got adopted by a loving American couple who have been wonderful friends of The Nest:
“More than 20 years after the birth of their third child, Rose and her husband Merv are once again proud parents of a baby girl. But this time it didn’t involve maternity clothes, pregnancy checkups or labor pains. The couple adopted Elena, a child from Kenya.
“We had no intention to adopt before we met her,” Rose said. “We were 54 and 57 when we first started taking care of her.” Rose and Merv were on a three-year service with the Mennonite Central Committee to Kenya when they met Elena. Rose was teaching at an international school while Merv was working as an office coordinator. While on summer break, Rose volunteered at The Nest Children’s Home. The home primarily cares for the children of women prisoners but also will assist local children when needed. Elena entered the children’s home on Rose’s first day of training. At 2 months old, Elena weighed only 4 pounds. She was going to need intensive one-on-one care if she was to survive, Rose said. The director Irene herself typically cares for infants like Elena, but Rose said she was preparing to leave for Germany to raise funds for the home. Elena’s needs would be too demanding for the lone nurse in the nursery at night, so Rose said she volunteered to take the child and care for her temporarily.
Rose called her husband and told him that she would be bringing a small baby home for the evening. She said he responded with, “Oh, sure.” One night turned into two and eventually Elena had spent months with the couple and was healthy enough to be placed into an adoptive home. “Our first sign that we were becoming really attached was that we really wanted to have some say in picking the family that she went to,” Rose said. The search for Elena’s adoptive parents was almost complete until the family that was going to take her realized they weren’t ready for the commitment, Rose said. At that moment, the couple concluded they couldn’t bear the search process again and started to consider adopting Elena themselves. “We didn’t just jump into it,” Rose said. “The biggest deciding factor was that our children separately responded with a variety of things, all of them saying that they were old enough to be very young parents and that if something would happen (to Rose or Merv) they would step in whenever needed.”
Kenya, Elena’s homeland, has not been involved in many international adoptions. Prospective adoptive parents are required to live in the country with the child for at least three months prior to beginning the legal process of adoption. The strict residency requirement could account for the limited number of children adopted from there. However, Rose and Merv had that requirement fulfilled before they even decided to adopt Elena. Dan, 24, said he was surprised when his parents alerted him about their interest in adopting Elena. “At the time I thought, ‘I should have seen this coming,‘” he said. “They had been caring for her for some time already and I saw through their e-mails they had this interest and love for her already.” Rose and Merv spoke to their children and Kenyan residents before deciding to adopt Elena and also thought about how adopting her would change their lives, Rose said. Their concerns ranged from how they could afford to send Elena to college to the social implications of a couple in their 50s adopting an infant. “Some people have asked us about how can we start over,” Rose said. “But by the time we made the decision, we had already started over.“