Skip Navigation

08 May 2010

A Mother’s Day Story: One Family’s Adoption Journey

Helping facilitate the intercountry adoption process is one of the most important missions we at USCIS carry out. Our agency is charged with determining the eligibility and suitability of prospective adoptive parents as well as the eligibility of children to immigrate to the United States.

Behind that process are remarkable individual stories of children in need of new families and homes. As Mother’s Day approaches, we wanted to highlight one family’s journey half-way around the world to adopt a brother and sister.

Ken and Heidi’s story stretches from California to Ethiopia and back again. They already had two children, but decided they wanted to help other children in need find a permanent family and a place they could call home. They began the adoption process in 2008, and have drawn on support from their community, church and other adoptive parents to help them fulfill their dream.

After months of waiting and searching and finally learning about the two children they would adopt, they embarked on a voyage across the globe, from Los Angeles to Chicago to Washington to Rome to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. They had only seen pictures and videos of the brother and sister they were soon to meet, and they didn’t know what to expect. When they finally saw their new daughter Tensaye, 5 and son Millennium, 2, words could not describe their feelings.



Mother Heidi writes in her blog of that moment:

On this day (Monday, April 5th) we had the life-changing experience of meeting Tensaye and Millennium face-to-face! We originally thought we would be traveling to meet our kids birth mother this day, but for some reason communication got confused and it did not work out...we would have to meet her later in the week. The joy of seeing our Ethiopian beauties was truly incredible...it is impossible to really capture the experience in words. Through pictures, videos, and updates we had grown to love Tensaye and Millennium so much...it was almost overwhelming to see them in person.

Millennium, born on the first day of the new century on the Ethiopian calendar, had never worn a seat-belt or flown in a plane. The long, arduous journey home culminated at Los Angeles International Airport. Heidi describes the feeling of arriving home:

Walking through the front door of our house was SUCH a relief! We showed the kids their bedroom and the play room. Although they were tired, their smiles were amazing! Before we left for Ethiopia, we were trying to finish a remodel on our house. When we came into the house, we saw how hard my parents and aunt worked to finish the job and make the house nice for our return home! It was such a joy to show Tensaye and Millennium their home!!! All of the kids were in bed and asleep by 9:00pm! A great end to a long journey!  

It has been a month since that day, and Heidi tells us that Tensaye and Millennium are adjusting remarkably well and delighted to have a new brother and sister.


We want to wish Heidi a Happy Mother’s Day and thank both her and all of the other Moms like her that have opened their hearts and their homes to children in need around the world.

Labels:

29 Comments:

At May 9, 2010 at 6:49:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your newly extended family. Both you and all your children are very fortunate to have this experience of love and generosity.

 
At May 11, 2010 at 7:44:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great story. God bless your family.

 
At May 14, 2010 at 4:38:00 PM EDT , Anonymous R. Page said...

Thank you for this story. However, I can hardly believe the first line of the article which states: "Helping facilitate the intercountry adoption process is one of the most important missions we at USCIS carry out." My wife an I have adopted four children, one from Korea, and three from Guatemala and we have received little to no help from the USCIS. In fact we have had a 10 year struggle with the USCIS concerning our last daughter from Guatemala. We were not able to get her to the United States until after her 18th birthday. We had to bring her to the US on a student visa. Immediately after she got to the US we adopted her. Her adoption is recognized as legal in the US, but the USCIS will not let us immigrate her. This despite the fact that she has learned English (this after not knowing any upon her arrival in the US), obtained a college degree (this despite not finishing high school equivalency in Guatemala) and having successfully worked as a teacher helping students become bi-lingual. She was with us for 10 years in the US and was a law abiding, tax paying contributor to the US society. However, because of further US regulations associated with the No Child Left Behind Act, which required her to pass a tough academic test to be "highly qualified," which because of extreme stress she did not pass, she lost her work visa and was forced to return to Guatemala. My wife and I have consulted with three different immigration attorneys and the USCIS. We never seem to get a straight answer from anyone regarding what can be done to get our daughter immigrated. The last time I talked to the USCIS, its agent would never directly answer my questions. I am so frustrated and disappointed with the US immigration system. Currently, my daughter is languishing back in Guatemala. She misses her family and friends, and wants a chance to pass her test and get her job back. Is there anyone willing to help us?

 
At May 25, 2010 at 2:45:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

it seems the uscis adoption process is very broken, I wish they spent time fixing the system - then this website

 
At July 29, 2010 at 7:29:00 PM EDT , Anonymous John Schinnerer Ph.D. said...

My brother-in-law and his wife adopted a young boy from Vietnam last year. The whole thing has gone so well (and he is a wonderful young toddler) that they are now finalizing an adoption of a young girl from China. I'm very supportive of adoption. For those considering adoption, please be aware of the psychodynamics involved in adoption. There may be times where your adopted child will get into a pattern of rejecting you at times. This is normal from my personal experience. Just keep it in perspective!

 
At July 30, 2010 at 3:26:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Roger Gaelens said...

Thank you for sharing this, we adopted a baby girl and got blessed-perfect health! Doing well in school and is a joy to be with! But it was a very look process and I'm happy that is over and now we just enjoy our child Jessica...

 
At July 31, 2010 at 4:29:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Alex said...

Why is it so easy to become parents the natural way and so hard to become parents once the natural way is not working? I often get the feeling that adoption especiallly in third world countries is nothing more that a business.

 
At August 4, 2010 at 10:51:00 AM EDT , Anonymous dave said...

What a wonderful story, thanks so much for sharing!

 
At August 5, 2010 at 7:29:00 PM EDT , Anonymous James Ferrazzo said...

Wouldn't of read this story if I wasn't for another post on this website. Good story glad I read it.

 
At August 13, 2010 at 12:10:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Sarah said...

Of course adoption is a journey just like raising kids is too. I really enjoy reading these adoption stories, because I grew-up with several friends who were adopted and their life's (in a nutshell) were basically saved.

Congrats to you and your family.

Sarah

 
At August 24, 2010 at 10:47:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Sam said...

Adoption is a mission. This is not a simple assignment but it is a holy service. Well done!

 
At September 8, 2010 at 10:52:00 AM EDT , Anonymous john@beddingandcomforters.com said...

@Sara: well said raising kids in and of itself is a challange! Very inspiring story, we are lookng to do the same in the next few years if God wills.

 
At October 31, 2010 at 7:48:00 PM EDT , Anonymous larry said...

Great story, we have some friends that their family members have adopted 4 children from Ethiopia. It has been truly amazing to watch how they have learned English.

 
At March 4, 2011 at 8:45:00 AM EST , Anonymous Gifts ideas said...

I also know about a family which adopted two girls from Ethiopia, they came 15 & 13 years ago, not sisters originally but now are one family. That's very nice when people open their hearts and make live better for disadvantage children.

 
At March 5, 2011 at 11:44:00 AM EST , Anonymous Jay said...

This is a very touching story. You two should be applauded for your good deed and I wish there were more people like you in the world.

 
At April 8, 2011 at 5:40:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Robin said...

People who adopt are wonderful. The worlds population is already out of control.

 
At April 18, 2011 at 1:46:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Nina said...

I think the story of this family will help many parents find a child and children find parents. That would also be wonderful if we had a chance to hear about this family in one of the new posts - it's been almost a year since this one was posted!

 
At May 13, 2011 at 1:00:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Peter said...

This makes for a wonderful FATHER'S Day story as well. While I'm sure there are others who've had difficulties getting appropriate assistance in adopting, it's great to hear of the success stories, too. I think this can give hope and encouragement to those struggling with the process.

 
At May 15, 2011 at 5:17:00 PM EDT , Anonymous April said...

This is awesome. What special people you are; to open your hearts and too work so hard to make this happen.

 
At June 26, 2011 at 5:01:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Dijeta said...

World would be better place with more people like Ken and Heidi!!

 
At March 31, 2012 at 1:52:00 PM EDT , Anonymous John Park said...

What a beautiful family! This is what loving one another is all about. That was nice of you two to reach out and help two children who probably wouldn't have the opportunities at life that you are providing them with. I'm sure that God is blessing all of you. Thank you for an inspiring story.

 
At January 11, 2013 at 6:39:00 PM EST , Anonymous Tom Lee said...

How many mothers are there who can take this kind of great steps. I hope they will keep you happy and one day they will make you proud as a Mother. Best wishes for your family.

 
At April 10, 2013 at 1:54:00 AM EDT , Blogger Charles Lawson said...

World would be better place with more people like Ken and Heidi!!

Chandler Dentist

 
At June 23, 2013 at 6:35:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why adopt here why go out of the country well I'm glad for you. I want to adopt I'mma go to a local foster/adoption agency its free to adopt you don't have to be rich to adopt. And also I'm adopted too.

 
At November 10, 2013 at 9:06:00 PM EST , Anonymous thang cáp said...

World would be better place with more people like Ken and Heidi!!

 
At December 27, 2013 at 12:12:00 AM EST , Anonymous semberani said...

Hi, you are a good man
This is a very touching story. You two should be applauded for your good deed and I wish there were more people like you in the world.

 
At September 18, 2014 at 8:23:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

You’ve done an amazing job here, outstanding website

 
At October 27, 2014 at 7:03:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Fred Ryan said...

Great article. I just bookmarked this blog and for sure I will come back. Keep posting.
Cheers

 
At October 28, 2014 at 6:09:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

My best wishes for you.

Trip to ethiopia

 

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home