Travel, Treats, Tips, & Traditions

Photobombed. A Ukraine Adoption. Going from 6 to 9 kids!

Posted on: by Kate
1 Comment
This is a guest post. We thank this family for sharing their story. We thank you for considering their fundraiser.

ukraine adoption hosting orphans

I was wrong. 

I just wanted a picture with my girl, that beautiful blonde haired, blue eyed soft-spoken sweetheart. We were hosting V through Project143, an orphan hosting program. She was leaving in a few days and I wanted a photograph with her. One last memory to capture.

Hosting kids and adopting from Ukraine

But then we were photobombed. A 15-year-old boy crashed the party. Another wonderful family from our church had hosted S and showed him so much love. It was our last night with V before her departure and I just wanted one more picture. We were polite, V and I. We snapped a photo, that one last opportunity to share smiles. The night continued. We were roller skating. Laughing at each other, falling, and laughing all over again. I noticed something. In the corner of my eye, I saw his smile. I saw that he loved V.

I was wrong. 

He wanted a photograph with his friend, his last visit to America with a friendly girl from the same orphanage. He took care of V when she fell. When our other children toppled over a time or two, he was there to help pick them up.

I’d heard stories of 15-year-old boys. I know what happens to them in that orphanage. I know what happens to them when they turn 16. I knew his future before he did. He knew it as well – the odds were not in his favor. In October, he will turn 16 and be removed from the orphanage – LITERALLY to the streets.

I was wrong. 

A few days later, I intercepted a message from V that was intended for him. She shared with him the joy of hope in her heart to live in America. She shared with him the joy of hope to live with a family – our family. She asked him if he thought it was a wise idea, this “big brother” of hers. His response, “If you have an opportunity to live in America, you take it.” He said it with longing – a delayed response. Putting on a strong front, he boasted of the life he lived in America. After all, I knew he didn’t want a family.

I was wrong. 

At the airport, V cried her eyes out, clinging tightly to Shanna – unwilling to fly back to Ukraine. Witnessing the emotion, he left the crowd, comforted V and took one last opportunity to come back and look into Shanna’s eyes saying only two words, “Be Good.” In perfect English. It was the last time we would see him.

I was wrong. 

Months passed. We began our process. The paper chase. The home study. The fund raising. The waiting.
I listen to God. At least, as best I can. I listen to Him when I want to and when I don’t. The latter is hard. One morning, reviewing our home study paperwork and email chain, I heard it. That whisper. The perils of adoption in Ukraine per the oversight committee has made life difficult. Over my shoulder I heard it, “Seek approval for 3.” I didn’t do it. I should have.

I was wrong.

Time passed. Our home study moved along. More meetings. More papers. More whispers.

Drop it God. It’s too late.

I didn’t talk to our home study agency. One night, while working on my doctoral dissertation – you know, a book for families to convince them of the hope of adoption – How to Change a Life, I breathed my thoughts to Shanna. She stared at me as if I had grown a second head. She thought I was crazy for even suggesting it. Approval for 3?

I was wrong. 

God whispered to her too!

adoptive family

Days came and went. Neither of us contacted our home study agency. I wanted her to do it. She wanted me to do it. After all, there is no way we would be approved for one more. We already have 6 children. (Two of our six children we had previously adopted from Ukraine in November 2015.)  We’re adding 2 more, V and her little sister whom we recently found out about. 1 more? It’s impossible!

I was wrong. 

I broke down. I called our agency. I informed them we were, “curious” (the word weak minded people say when they plan on bailing God’s call for faith) about approval for three children. On the other side my phone, I heard the most objective voice giving me the answer I didn’t want to hear.

“Ok. I will inform our staff and we will prepare the draft accordingly.”

They approved us.

I talked to Shanna, both of us in awe of what was happening. God spoke to me. He spoke to her. He saw what was possible. He knew what was impossible. It wasn’t the finances (well, maybe a little!) It wasn’t the approval from a licensed social worker. The impossibility with this adoption was MY heart.

I was wrong. 

So, we made the call. I talked to our official overseeing the adoption abroad. I told him, “I know he’ll say no. S doesn’t want a family. But, I at least want him to know he is wanted. I want him to know a family desires him and loves him. That way, when he’s older and faces the trials of life, he knows he is loved.”

The call was met with rejoicing. It didn’t matter. When the news of adoption reached this boy, the third wheel in my picture with V, he asked questions. He could not fathom why a family would love him. He could not fathom why a family would go to the ends of the Earth to seek him out. His first response, “But you already have so many children.” He continued, speaking to me and to Shanna in a message. “Why would you do this for me?” He couldn’t understand. It didn’t matter, the discussions. He would say no anyway.

I was wrong. 

I remember that morning – a Monday morning. In my car, traveling to Mansfield, Ohio a notification sounded. I looked down to see a flurry of messages on my phone. The same phone used to snap that picture several months before.

adopt from Ukraine
This of course, is Russian for, “YES.”

Curious, I wanted to respond, but was interrupted with a message from our Oversight agent in Ukraine. “Trevor and Shanna, I am happy to inform you that S was interviewed by the orphanage director and has informed our team he wants to live with your family in America.”

I was wrong. 

Parked in a gas station parking lot, tears flowed down my cheeks, a rare occasion for those who know me well. It was then I realized, that boy, that sweet little boy left to himself in an orphanage years ago found a home.

He found our home.

We are happy to announce that along with V&S we will also be adopting, S, the sweetest 15-year-old boy you will ever meet. In October, he will turn 16. In October, he will lose hope of a future. For him to receive hope now, only a family already in the adoption process could act on his behalf. Anyone just now starting will be too late.

Recently, I was asked, “Why?” Why, when we already have so many would we include one more? My answer, “If I am in a position to change a life, and choose not to do it, I couldn’t live with myself.” I don’t want to look back on life and know I could have made a difference, but didn’t.

We were there. We were ready. We were called. Right time. Right place. Right God.

We thought we knew what we were getting into with this adoption. We thought we knew what we were doing.

We were wrong. 

And we are beyond happy about that!


We plan to travel to Ukraine early fall of 2017.

If you feel lead to help bring V, S & S home to their forever family you can do so by the following.

we found you adoption book

To purchase We Found You. A Ukraine Adoption Story by Trevor and Shanna Littleton



*All Book Proceeds Go Towards the Adoption of 3 children from Ukraine

Until Next Time ~ Kate
Comments: One Response
  1. ellen beck says:

    This is a beautiful story. Besides the two being adopted, to give a boy hope is wonderful. I cant imagine why at 16 it would be deemed they would be ready to live on their own there. Perhaps it is cultural, but he is just a boy. I am so glad you found him an it all worked out. I am sure he will be forever wondering why, but so glad you did.

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