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Arbor Heights family adopts Ukrainian tweens

November 2, 2009, 10:00 4370 Author: Steve Shay www.westseattleherald.com In just one hour an Arbor Heights couple changed their lives, and the lives of 12 year-old twin sisters, forever

Bruce and Summer-Boyd Jones view photos of their journey home from a Ukraine village with their adopted twins, Natalie (left) and Nicole

In just one hour an Arbor Heights couple changed their lives, and the lives of 12 year-old twin sisters, forever. Eight months ago Bruce and Summer Boyd-Jones flew to Kiev in the Ukraine with the intention to adopt. They landed in that city’s department of adoption, and were given many files and exactly one hour to sort through them for a possible match.

The Jones’, Realtors with Prudential Northwest in Jefferson Square, found Natalie and Nicole, twins from an orphanage, or “children’s home” as they say in the Ukraine. They lived nine hours by train from Kiev, plus another 45 minutes by taxi from the city of Zaporozhye, to a town called V'llansk. It would take an investment of six weeks and $25,000 to adopt the girls.

“The home had 145 children,” said Summer. “This would only be the orphanage’s second adoption in 25 years (under its current director.) This particular orphanage is not on the radar screen. It is out in a small village and so we want to get the word out.”

The Jones’ feel sad because they characterized this particular orphanage as “bleak.” Also, once the orphan grows up and leaves the facility, pimps await them at the front door with the false promise of a better life and many turn to alcohol.

Bruce and Summer pointed out that just a few years back a Ukrainian adoption took about 10 days and now takes six weeks. They see this as a double-edged sword. Although more time-consuming obstacles are now placed between the child and potential parents, the Ukraine government now has better safeguards in place to make sure the matches are appropriate and a good healthy fit for all involved.

The twins have been learning to speak and read English at Shorewood Christian School, five minutes from home. While there is a Ukrainian language, the girls, like many in their homeland, speak Russian.

“I didn’t like to fly here,” said Nicole, the more shy of the two. “I didn’t like to come,” she added wryly.

“She thinks America is good,” said Natalie. “We like soccer and flag football.”

“I am hoping more people here will consider adopting from that children’s home,” said Summer. “Natalie and Nicole left behind a best friend, Julia, 13, and we are trying to help her find a family here.”

Summer Boyd-Jones actively encourages Ukrainian adoption and offers advice. To contact her email: at summerboydjones@comcast.net.

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