Adopting during a pandemic: Part two
SKOWHEGAN, Maine (WABI) - The ongoing pandemic has made it challenging for families in the adoption process.
A family in Skowhegan recently welcomed a little girl from Bulgaria into their hearts and home, not without some hiccups though.
Jeremy and Hope Herrick will have a full house this Christmas season, with their two biological children and their adopted daughter, Marieva.
They brought the three-year old home from Bulgaria earlier this year.
TV5 sat down with the family to hear their story and the challenges they faced in the process due to the pandemic.
“Very early on in our relationship we had talked about a family and what kind of family we wanted to have,” said Hope Herrick. “We knew we wanted to have several kids and we knew adoption was going to be a part of our plan. It’s been so cool to see her learning everything and to see her make such great gains so quickly.”
Marieva is such a light in the Herrick household.
She’s only been in the U.S. for a few short months, but is already making big gains.
Marieva was born in Bulgaria.
The country is situated between Romania and Turkey in Southeastern Europe.
It’s a place known for its rich history, museums and restaurants, and its scenic landscapes.
It’s also a country with children waiting to find the right home.
All Bulgaria adoptions are conducted through a collaborative effort of a Hague accredited adoption agency in the United States and by the Bulgarian Central Adoption Authority.
The local agency playing a big role in the Herrick’s story was Maine Children’s Home in Waterville - the only Hague accredited agency left in the state.
“Maine Children’s Home is the ones who do our home study,” she said. “We’ve worked with both the Maine Children’s Home and Nightlight Christian Adoptions.”
Together the two agencies, along with Jeremy and Hope, helped bring Marieva home.
However, in her first few years she’s faced a number of challenges.
Marieva was born with a cleft palate.
Children born with cleft palates typically have their first surgery within the first few months of life.
That was not the case for Marieva. Her surgeries kept getting pushed back due to the pandemic.
The Herrick’s however are familiar with extensive medical treatments for cleft palate and lip. Hope’s parents adopted her brother from China 14 years ago.
He too, was born with a cleft palate.
“She had a big open lip and an open palate all the way back - both hard and soft palate,” Hope said. “As soon as I got her referral, I worked with Shriner’s Children’s Hospital in Boston. My brother had had his palate surgery done with Shriners and my parents had a great experience.”
Marieva underwent surgery a few short weeks ago and is now on the mend.
“She’s does some occupational and physical Therapy,” said Hope. “She tries to say anything that we ask her to say. So, it’s just a matter of learning what she’s got now.”
For the Herrick’s, patience has been the key throughout their adoption process, which began five years ago.
However, they always knew it would be a part of their story.
“I actually met him the day that we got home from traveling to China to bring my brother home,” she said.
After they were finally matched with a child, they were introduced to Marieva in February. Still unable to welcome her into the U.S., they didn’t let distance stop them.
The Herrick family says they have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season. They’re looking forward to all the “firsts” with little Marieva.
“When it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be. She’s an absolutely amazing child,” said Jeremy.
“We’re a family for a reason. It all happened in the right time and the right order. We’re excited and good to just get on with the rest of our lives,” said Hope.
Jeremy and Hope will celebrate their 13th wedding anniversary in December.
If you or someone you know is interested in the adoption process, there are plenty of resources out there to get you started.
Maine Children’s Home hosts free information meetings every month that are open to anyone who is interested in exploring adoption.
Meetings are held virtually on Zoom every last Wednesday of the month from 6- 7:30 p.m.
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