Then & Now 10 years of “Gotcha Days”

By: Nati & Mihret Wagenlinter on international adoption

Adoption is such a life-changing experience and we were blessed to encounter that firsthand when we came to America a little over 10 years ago. Through our early childhood, we have experienced all the emotions possible and have overcome most of them. At the age of 5 and 3, our father passed away which left us with lots of questions unanswered. All we can say was why did this happen to us and it left a huge emotional barrier around our relationship with God. This experience left our family in an emotional state that was tough to navigate through which led to some unfamiliar decisions to be made. A year passed by, and taking care of her two kids became a challenge to our mother, with her busy schedule of having two jobs and trying to balance life outside of work. After putting much thought into it she felt that it was best for us to have somewhat of a good childhood and a better life so she placed us in an orphanage. This orphanage had around 50+ kids, we in fact had a great childhood running around and playing with other kids and felt our happiest in a while. We spent 5-6 years of our lives in the orphanage until we were very fortunate and blessed to be adopted by a loving family from California. Our adoptive parents had the opportunity to go on a mission trip to an orphanage, going on this trip was the only plan they had made but at the end of their visit, they felt called to adopt. After making multiple trips to see their soon-to-be kids, they finalized all the plans in order to bring us here. Adoption was a scary thing, while there were some tough moments throughout the process of settling in, there were lots of good memorable moments that overshadowed the negative trials. It took us a long time to settle in and given the fact that there was a language barrier, it was hard for us to understand and communicate with our new family. While it was challenging to adjust we made lots of great memories that we will forever remember. As the years went on everything became a lot easier and more natural. Both of us graduated high school and have had the opportunity to further our education in college. We both attend VIA church where we faithfully serve our community. Currently, Mihret has been working at a restaurant for the past 1 ½  while waiting to pursue a career in cosmetology. Nati has been married for a little over a year, he is currently working at an elementary school as an assistant PE coach and he plans to attend the Fire academy next fall to pursue his desire of being a firefighter. Adoption is most definitely scary for both the parents that are wanting to pursue it and the adoptees but is so rewarding in the end. Adoption is not for everyone, you have to be called to do it and have to be ready for your life to be changed. If adoption is not for you there are so many ways to help those that are called to adopt, whether it’s by financially supporting them, praying for them, and lastly even helping them by offering to cook or bring meals. We feel like we have gotten the best gift ever, a new life! As a sign of our gratitude and a calling in our hearts, we both plan to adopt in the near future and give a better life to the ones that are needing it and give them the opportunity to make their lives better just like we did ours.