Greenville couple finds joy in adoption

Published 11:39 pm Friday, November 7, 2008

November is National Adoption Month. Estimates say in Russia alone, there are more than 1,000,000 children currently living in orphanages. For many, the future outlook is bleak.

But a happy ending did happen for one little girl who now lives in Greenville.

“People say, ‘What a lucky little girl Jess is.’ But the truth is, we are the lucky ones. We are blessed to have her in our lives,” Evelyn Causey says.

Causey, her husband Mark, and their two sons, Cory and Matthew, made Jess a part of their family in 2004.

Their desire to adopt a foreign orphan developed after seeing a news report on a family in Montgomery with an adopted Russian baby.

“We met the Pendletons and they shared their DVDs and photos with us of the experience,” Causey says.

“After talking with them, we truly believed this was something we were called to do. We had been blessed with our two boys, who were 13 and 14 at the time, and we wanted to share our blessings.”

The adoption was a 15-month process requiring two trips to Russia, home study, and visits with social workers and INS officials.

It also required plenty of patience and understanding, Causey says.

“You have to recognize you are dealing with a court, laws, a language, all foreign to you. We reminded ourselves to just trust and believe in a higher power,” she says.

According to Causey, the first trip was “a three-day whirlwind.”

“You talk with the social workers about what age child you wish to adopt, any health conditions you would or would not be willing to deal with. And they try to refer you to a child that meets that criteria.”

The choice could not have been a better one.

When the Causeys met the eight-month-old child and looked into her dark eyes, “we knew she was the one.”

Within two weeks, a court date was set and the couple flew back to Russia.

With the assistance of a translator, the judge questioned the Causeys for a half-hour, asking how the child would be treated in their home.

“They want to make sure the adopted child is made to feel as much a part of the family as the biological children,” Causey stresses.

Though some families have to spend ten days in the region before a decision is made, within a week the Causeys received the news they hoped for.

“We’ve had her since she was nine months old, and now she’s five. We can’t imagine life without Jess She is the sunshine of our day,” Causey says.

In response to those fearful of adopting a child whose genetic makeup and family’s medical history is unknown, Causey says this:

“You have to realize, even with your own biological child, things can and will happen. Some people shy away from doing this because they don’t know the child’s biological history. But sometimes you just have to have faith.”

Causey is currently the Alabama contact for Families of Russian and Ukrainian Adoption, a non-profit organization that supports and encourages adoption from eastern European countries.

“There are new laws in place in Russia that make the adoption process more difficult. And with the recent hostile actions by Russia against Georgia, we are fearful international adoptions will decline. That being said, I truly encourage everyone to consider it,” Causey said.

To help better the situation of those still in Russian orphanages, the Causeys also support the Boaz Project, a program that reaches out to those homeless children, giving them the socialization and stimulation they desperately need.

“Some of these children have never been held and nurtured – they don’t know what it’s like. The Boaz Project tries to break through those barriers as much as they can so these kids have a greater chance to be adopted,” Causey said.

“I just can’t forget about the children who are still over there, not when we’ve been so blessed by Jess.”

To learn more visit www.frua.org.