Truckee couple on quest to adopt Russian baby
When Dawn Evans was a child, she made a promise to herself.
Evans, along with her mother and adopted brother, used to visit an orphanage near their home in Michigan. They would play with the children and give them gifts.
“I remember children coming up to me and asking if they could come home with us,” Evans said. “I remember getting very angry at my mom for not taking them home with us.”
It was then that Evans promised herself that she would adopt a child one day.
Now, decades later, Evans, 42, and her husband, John, 41, have begun the long process of adopting a child from Russia. They want to adopt an infant girl, and they might adopt a second baby if they are twins or siblings.
The couple already has three children, ages 13, 11 and 3. They decided now was the time to adopt because their 3-year-old Elijah needs a younger sibling, and their recent move to Truckee from the Bay Area gave them the resources to adopt.
“All of the stars aligned,” Evans said. “We moved to a town that is family oriented and much less expensive than the Bay Area. Everything seemed to make sense that now’s the time to make an adoption.”
Several months ago the Evans family sent papers to Russia via an Ohio adoption agency, European Adoption Consultants. Now they are waiting to hear about their match, and they expect to make their first of two trips to Russia by early March.
In that six-day trip, they will meet their new baby (or babies), undergo a medical examination and prove to the Russian adoption agency that they both intend to adopt a child. The entire time they will have transportation and a translator.
Then, they will go home and wait for a court date from the Russian government. Once the court date arrives, they will return to Russia to pick up their child.
It’s an arduous and expensive process – adopting a child domestically costs roughly $5,000, whereas adopting internationally costs up to $30,000 – but Evans is very passionate about adopting a child from Russia.
According to a study done by Human Rights Watch in 1998, there were 600,000 children in Russia without parental care. Approximately 330,000 of those children were in orphanages or baby homes at the time of the study.
Evans said now there are 400,000 Russian children in orphanages, 200,000 of whom are adoptable.
“There’s so many children, and unlike other countries, the children are put on the street at a very young age,” Evans said.
In her first trip to Russia with her husband, the American adoption agency said Evans will have to bring “a substantial amount of cash.” They will also take baby outfits for the other orphans.
She has set a goal to collect 100 outfits. Evans and her husband have purchased 27 outfits, 16 winter coats, 20 pairs of socks and four bibs. With the expense of the adoption, Evans has asked her friends and the community for donations of new or gently used clothing donations.
Most of the orphanages don’t accept used clothing (for reasons Evans is unsure of), so she is trying to disguise the barely used clothing with tags, so it appears new.
So far, Evans has received commitments for approximately 30 outfits, and with the help of the Truckee Family Connection, she received 10 more on Tuesday.
“We’re so thankful for everyone responding the way they have,” Evans said. “I know some people would prefer to donate domestically. John and I are active in our local community – we are not turning our backs on Truckee.”
Once they bring their baby daughter home, Evans expects there will be some challenges. Babies in most Russian orphanages spend much of their time in bed and have little to no stimulation, Evans said. Also, most of them are malnourished, very ill or lack motor skills.
Evans and her husband requested a daughter with minor health issues.
“That’s just our capacity; it’s what we can handle,” she said.
As the day they bring their daughter home looms nearer, Evans said her 3-year-old son has been coming up with suggestions for his baby sister’s name.
His favorite is “Magenta.”
Stay tuned to the Sierra Sun as we follow the Evans family through their adoption in the coming months.
To donate outfits, contact Dawn Evans at 582-5585 or drop them off at Denali Consulting at 10090 Church Street.
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