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Our International Adoption Story: Penelope Savalas Boardman

Penelope and her adopted son, Dmitry, knew from the start that they were meant to be. Read about their journey across the globe to become a family.

“When Dmitry was three years old, as I was tucking him into bed one evening, he said, ‘Mama, when I was a baby, I needed you and you came to get me.’”

– Penelope Savalas Boardman recalling her son Dmitry’s reflection 

On March 20, 2000, my late husband, Christopher, and I signed-up for The Cradle’s information meeting for adoptive parents. On that very same day, on the other side of the globe, a baby boy was born in the Siberian town of Serov, north of Ekaterinburg. It was an auspicious sign that that boy was meant to be ours.

With guidance and support from The Cradle, we completed our home-study, the state requirements for the Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS), and so the anticipation for a match began. After several months of waiting, we were matched with that little boy and then came the more agonizing wait for a court date that allowed me to travel to Russia and bring him home. As we waited, we watched the video clip of Dmitry every day. Eighteen months to the day of signing up for the information session, we were finally able to meet our little son.

Resiliency Through Challenging Times

Fast forward 23 years and Dmitry is now an extraordinary young man. He has proved his resilience time and again, particularly through the long illness and eventual passing of his beloved father as he began high school; and navigating part of his sophomore year and all of his junior year of college studying remotely from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is an artist, an avid reader and excellent writer. Dmitry is currently working with a book designer for his forthcoming volume of original poems and illustrations.

I am so proud of him. Chris would be, too.

People tell me that I have done a good job, but I had tremendous material to start with and constant support from The Cradle.

For 100 years and counting, The Cradle has built nurturing families and provided lifelong support to people whose lives have been touched by adoption. Faces of The Cradle is a celebration of their stories. Meet more of the people who make what we do possible and all the more meaningful.

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