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THE FOWLES FAMILY ADOPTION STORY

Meeting Their Children for the First Time
By The Cradle Staff

Erin & Craig adopted their children in March 2003

Erin and Craig wanted to add children to their family and looked to The Cradle to help guide them along that journey. They were specifically interested in adopting a sibling group and decided to work through The Cradle’s Russian program to complete their adoptions.

As part of the typical process in adopting from Russia, Erin and Craig were scheduled to make two trips –one to meet and visit with the children in the orphanage, and a second a few months later to finalize the adoption and bring them home.

However, a day before they were scheduled to leave for their first trip, their counselor from The Cradle called to let them know that it would be possible for them to adopt the children in one trip if they made it a two-week stay. “That put us into a frenzy,” recalls Erin. “Repacking for 2 weeks instead of one–including packing for two children. Running to the store to buy things for the children that we were planning to purchase later. It was surreal!”

With no time to really process all that was going on, they boarded a plane that next day and their Russian adventure began. After a few days in Moscow, the couple traveled to Izhevsk, the region in central Russia where their children’s orphanage was located.

On the third day of their trip, full of nervous energy, anticipation and excitement, Erin and Craig met their children for the first time. “It was joyous”, remembers Erin. “When the children were brought into the room, our son, Ruslan, ran immediately to my husband Craig and climbed onto his lap. Everyone was astonished because normally children in the orphanage are very wary of men.” One-year old Olya was shy at first but soon warmed up and began to play and chat. “No words can describe how amazing it was to see the children that first time”, Erin recalls. Watching them play, hearing 2-year old Ruslan chatter, and receiving a shower of hugs and kisses — it was a moment they will cherish forever.

The plane ride back home was also quite a memorable experience. Ruslan cried and Olya had diarrhea, so Mom and Dad spent most of the flight walking the aisles of the plane and changing diapers in a very small restroom. “Nothing makes you feel more like parents than trying to care and console two small children on a 10-hour flight!” It was then, Erin says, when both she and her husband finally realized their dreams had come true–they were really parents.

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