Friday, January 13, 2012


With the New Year we thought we would put up a few of our posts from earlier in our Hope at Home Blog history, since many of you weren't around back then. If you are like me, rereading this one of our son Sergei telling about what it has been like for him to be adopted is worth the time. Sergei, an impressive and much-loved 17 year old, is a sophomore in high school.

Also, would you share our blog with some friends in the adoption community this month? Thank you!

Sergei's Story

We were left to "fend for ourselves"
I don’t remember a lot from my life in Russia, mainly because I have blocked those memories out of my mind. My brother Andrei and I were left to “fend for ourselves” from a young age. Many times Andrei and I would steal our dinner from stores, or steal people’s money. Andrei was basically my parent, always cleaning me up if I got hurt.

Sergei (right) with Andrei
Eventually, the government came to our little apartment and talked to my parents. I don’t know what they said, but I got a good idea of what it was when they took Andrei and me away. Andrei was put in an orphanage and I was taken to an orphanage for younger children. I remember being happy in this place. I was given food, without having to go out and steal it. The workers were nice too.

As I look back I can see God's hand

I was later put in a foster family. These people were nice and caring for a while, and I thought that I could be happy here. As time went on, they became meaner, and stopped caring about me. That’s when my grandmother came and talked to me. She told me that I had two choices. I could either stay with the foster family, or go to the orphanage so that Andrei and I could be together. As I look back on this, I can see God’s hand in this. He knew what was best for me. Even though the orphanage was terrible, God was working everything together for my good.
The day the two brothers were reunited at the orphanage

I was happy to be with my brother
When I arrived at the orphanage, I was happy to be with my big brother. He always looked out for me. The workers at the orphanage were not nice at all. They didn’t care about anyone there. I often got in fights, or was left hungry from the small portions at meals. I was just happy to be with my brother.

I would lie awake the whole night
My grandmother was the main source of happiness in my life at this point. She rode the bus down to the orphanage, picked Andrei and me up, and took us to her apartment. She would bathe us and feed us. I was never hungry at her house. We would spend a day or two with her, then we had to go back to the orphanage. She would always give us bags of candy and food to take with us. Going to sleep at the orphanage was always hard. I had no idea what wouldhappen to me. The older kids were always playing horrible jokes on the younger kids. I was always afraid at night. I would lay awake the whole night. I hated it here. One day someone told me that I was going to get adopted. I didn’t really know what it meant, but I knew that it was a good thing.
A picture of the powerful love of
a grandmother

I didn't really know what it meant
One day someone told me that I was going to get adopted. I was 7 years old. I didn’t really know what it meant, but I knew that it was a good thing. As the adoption time came closer, I noticed that everyone was much nicer to me. I didn’t know why. Eventually after what seemed like years, the adoption day came. I spent the whole day waiting, sitting in the same chair for hours. Andrei had to go to court with my parents. I was left at the orphanage because I was too young.
In Moscow to get Sergei's American papers
Finally they came

Finally they came. I remember getting in the car with my new family and leaving the orphanage. I was so happy. I knew that I would never be treated the way that I was there. I was given toys and things what would never be taken away from me. I was so happy.
A beautiful Welcome Home party at the Atlanta Airport
Sergei--front and center!

I loved having parents who loved me
I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know what my home was going to be like. I didn’t know what it was going to be like living in a new country. I remember coming home and seeing the biggest house I had ever seen. I was so amazed by the amount of room. I had to adjust to this new place. I had all the food I could eat. I was never hungry again. I loved having parents who loved me, and took care of me.

Sergei (front right) with all 21 cousins and 
their grandparents = FAMILY!
Going to school was a challenge. I didn’t know any English. I learned how to ask to go to the bathroom, and spent most of the day in first grade asking to go to the bathroom. By the time I was in second grade I could understand everything. Math is still hard though!
Sergei (left) doing a presentation at school
with his friend, Alosha
I didn't know who God was
Going to church was new too. I didn’t know what it was. I had never been to church. I remember people coming up to me and loving on me. I made friends with this guy named Alex Hillis. From then on, I would always want to go to church because Alex always played with me at church. I liked going to church to play. I didn’t know who God was.
Sergei's baptism--with his daddy and our
pastor, Greg Haswell
How can I not love this God?
I gave my life to the Lord, and was baptized. I didn’t really know what it meant to be a Christian. Through the years, I have developed my relationship with the Lord. My love for him has grown so much. It was all because of Him that I was adopted. He worked everything together for my good. How can I not love this God? Even now I learn new things about Him. Looking back, I see all the times God has changed things so that His plan could work. I wonder how different my life would be if I stayed with that foster family. I thank God for putting my grandmother in my life.

Spring Break in Orlando--Sergei in center back
Feel free to leave a comment for Sergei. He will be happy to respond to any questions.


  1. Sergei, thank you so much for sharing how adoption was through your eyes. We just brought home a son from Uganda, he is 5 years old. He has lived much of his life with his grandma too, and that part of your story really connected and touched me. Isn't it amazing how just one person of love makes such a difference? We are so happy that we can actually call his grandma! She and he talk at least every other week. Again thank you for helping this mom understand a bit better what it is like!

  2. No problem, I'm glad it helped.