Family Stories

The Chann Family

When my daughter, Aubrey, was born in April of 2002, little did I know that her "little" brother was about to be born in June, 2002, halfway around the world in Kharkiv, Ukraine. Almost 2 years later, we began the journey to find this little boy and bring him home.

After Aubrey's first birthday, my husband, Mike, an Army Reservist, was activated to head to Iraq. While in Iraq, my husband saw orphans in their distress in the war-torn country, and I, on the other side of the globe, was assisting in a church mission project to put shoes on orphans' feet. Through these experiences, God laid it upon both our hearts to begin the adoption process once my husband returned from Iraq. After we looked into many adoption programs,and we decided on Ukraine, because Mike's grandfather was Ukrainian, and we would be able to bring Aubrey with us to Ukraine. We felt that she needed to be a part of this adoption process, and we wanted her to experience her sibling's birth country and culture.

We started the official process to adopt in late April 2004, Aubrey had just turned 2 and we were ready to add to our family. I wanted my children close in age - so I was rather impatient - and wanted to get everything done yesterday. Throughout it all, God reminded me that his timing is best, even as I waited. After a series of now comical (they were not so funny then) events, we finally had our dossier in to AWAA in November, 2005, just in time for the Orange Revolution. Now, my husband and I are great advocates of freedom, but God had to remind me throughout the government shutdown that He was in control, and there was more going on in Ukraine than our adoption!

As the days stretched out, and uncertainty was in the air, I was in contact regularly with our family coordinator. She was a saint throughout the process! In March she informed us that our dossier was submitted, I said to her that I was hoping that we would get a travel date of August. In May, she called with the news we had an appointment date of August 31st! I told her God must have some sense of humor granting my prayer of an August date, on the last possible August date! We prepared ourselves for the trip all summer, learned a bit of Ukrainian and Russian (just enough to be dangerous), packed and re-packed a million times, but all the preparation was in vain, as we were in for the journey of a lifetime.

The three of us left Columbus, Ohio, to head to Kyiv on August 28th. We had a successful appointment on August 31st, where we received the referral of a 3-year-old boy - only 2.5 months younger than our daughter. I was all for my children being close in age, but I had not prepared myself for my children to be the same age! I have to say I was pretty much thrown for a loop, but trusting God throughout this situation, we agreed to go check the little guy out to see if he was indeed our child.

We met our son on my father's birthday. As he walked in the room I saw a look on his face, I see still today - the look of wonder and apprehension as he sees something or someone for the first time. Although my family is not Ukrainian, he looked exactly like my brother at that age and for me there was an instant connection. He spoke to my daughter, giggled with my husband, and gave me a kiss before he went back to his gruppa. We said yes within minutes of his departure.

Now, back to timing, when we submitted to begin the adoption process to adopt in-country, we did not know that there were new court procedures that began on September 1st. This added some time to our trip and we ended up being in Ukraine for 40 days. Again, I see the humor God has, as I ponder how it felt for Noah to endure the rain for 40 days on the ark. I endured being in Ukraine (which was much more interesting than a wet and smelly ark - and we did enjoy it) for 40 days to bring home my son, which I would do again in a heartbeat.

Our son, Will Artur, was officially adopted on September 29th, the date of my husband's Ukrainian grandfather's birthday.

He has been home with us for 19 months now, and has been an amazing addition to our family. Will Artur is full of humor, love, and appreciation of life. He loves "the beautiful game" soccer, being with his family, playing with his cars, and caring for our dog. My daughter really does not remember life before her brother came home, and they are the best of friends. They play together, go to church together, go to school together, and truly enjoy life together. My daughter recently asked me if we could go back to Ukraine to get her a little sister. I told her to pray about it and we'll wait on God, as His timing is best.

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