Adoption brings two Ukrainian girls to Raleigh
RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- When the Wojcik family first set out on their adoption journey, they never imagined a toddler with Down syndrome would change their lives.
The healthy family of five soon grew to six.
"She sort of jumped out on the page at us," adoptive father Chris Wojcik said.
The family found Milana, now 6 years old, in a Ukrainian orphanage with the help of Reece's Rainbow, an international adoption agency that specializes in children with Down syndrome.
"She would walk up to every adult in hopes that I think someone would take her home," Milana's adoptive mother Jennifer Wojcik said.
Thousands with the genetic condition in Eastern European orphanages don't survive long if they aren't adopted.
"She probably would be dead. She probably would have gone to a mental institution at 4. An adult mental institution where she probably would have been strapped to a bed all day, maybe she would have had one diaper change. They might have fed her once. Nobody would hold her or talk to her," said Jennifer Wojcik.
Little did the Wojciks know, just blocks away from their north Raleigh home, another family was months ahead of them in the same process.
The Fergusons, also a family of five, planned to adopt fellow Ukraine orphan Nadia. Their daughter Josi, also living with Down syndrome, was instantly drawn to Nadia.
"Josi kept coming back to Nadia's picture, and she basically said I want her," Nadia's adoptive mother Kristin Ferguson said.
Kristin Ferguson soon learned about the Wojcik family.
"I kind of spontaneously went out and bought both the girls matching outfits, and I came over to her house and here's this stranger knocking on her door saying, 'hey this is for Milana, this is for Nadia!'" Kristin Ferguson said.
Soon after, Milana and Nadia became best friends.
"It's amazing even now when I think about it. We met these strangers by adopting 6,000 miles away. It's kind of amazing," Chris Wojcik said.
Now three years later, the Wojciks say they feel another calling. The family is planning to adopt two more children with Down syndrome, Danny and Riley.
"Milana's already got plans for where everyone's going to sleep and where everyone's going to sit in the car, so she's got their lives planned out for them," Jennifer Wojcik said.
As they make space in their home for this new adoption journey, the family says there is already plenty of space in their hearts, thanks to Milana.
"She's not biologically ours, but she's ours, and she's just amazing," Chris Wojcik said.
Reece's Rainbow has helped find families for more than 1,200 children with Down syndrome and other special needs in the last seven years. About 1,000 children are currently waiting to be adopted through the organization.
The average cost of international adoption is $25,000, but can cost as much as $50,000 in some cases. Reece's Rainbow helps families raise money for their adoptions.
To learn how you can adopt visit: http://reecesrainbow.org/
What is Down Syndrome? Visit: http://www.ndss.org/Down-Syndrome/What-is-Down-Syndrome/
For families who want more information from the Triangle Down Syndrome Network: http://www.triangledownsyndrome.org/
north carolina news, wake county news, raleigh news, local/state, heather waliga
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