The Nadzam Family

I was born on April 24, 1970 and was adopted in infancy by my parents, Arlene and Andrew Nadzam. They brought me home from the hospital at 4 days old.  They were just getting used to parenting infants, since they had begun the adoption of my brother, Mike, just 4 months earlier!

One of my favorite stories surrounding my adoption is about the day of the final court hearing. My birth mother had not completed all of the documentation, so there was a remote chance that, after nearly a year with my family, my birth mother could still change her mind. By that time we had all bonded – my mom, dad, brother, and grandparents. So my grandfather said he would keep the car running at curbside outside the courthouse. If anything went wrong, he was ready to put us all in the car and escape to Canada! Needless to say, it all worked out without kidnapping and we went home to continue our lives together.

When people are considering starting a family, they often worry about waiting for the right time. They may say to themselves, “I’ll have a child when I get that new job…when I buy a bigger house…when my circumstances are better.” Circumstances do dictate our relative readiness for parenthood. But whether adopting or hoping for a pregnancy, there’s never a perfect time.

Hornyak adoption pic 2My parents were good examples of this. They met on New Year’s Eve in 1965 and had a May-December romance, my dad being 16 years older than my mom. They married at ages 25 and 41, and adopted my brother and I within 4 months of each other when they were 30 and 46 years old, respectively. My father was hearing impaired and had retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative condition that causes loss of peripheral and night vision and eventually blindness. He was unemployed due to his disabilities and so my mother worked full-time outside of the home as a nurse. My dad was the original “Mr. Mom” and in spite of those disabilities, managed two infants with the help of my maternal grandmother. Neither could drive a car, so my grandfather stepped in to taxi us where we needed to go. As we got older, my father ran the household independently.

I am eternally grateful to have been found by these two wonderful people. They gave me a happy and secure childhood in a loving home. We were raised Roman Catholic and attended Catholic schools. Some of the most important values they instilled in me were those centered around Catholic Social Teaching: human dignity and rights, the importance of family, a preferential option for the poor, the dignity of work, global solidarity and care for the environment.   Given the circumstances of their lives at the time of my adoption, it turns out that few of the typical objections to starting a family made a difference. What made a difference was their ability love us and to infuse these values into our lives, and they continue to influence us today.

Today, my brother and I are both 46 years old. He works as a job trainer for people with developmental disabilities, teaching horticulture and greenhouse-related employment skills. I am an Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy at the University of Pittsburgh. My father passed away in 1993 and my mother in 2006. Because of them my brother and I have each other today; because of them, I grew up loved, and it has made all the difference in my life.

Applying for Adoption Assistance @ Gregory's Gift

if your interested in applying for funding through Gregory's Gift, or know someone who would be, please download and complete our Adoption Assistance application.  Once completed, send the completed application and supporting materials to the address provided by Lifesong for Orphans (found on the application).

Please contact us by email should you have any questions pertaining to the application or subsequent processes.