The Ticich Family
Hi! My name is Maureen Ticich and I am an adoptive mother of seven adopted children and this is my adoption story.
My husband and I moved overseas in 1994. While we were living overseas we decided that we wanted to build our family through adoption. We decided that we would adopt children that may not otherwise be considered for adoption. That to us, meant adopting a sibling group.
One day I was surfing the net and I came across the kids of the month on Rainbowkids.org. Looking out at me, were three of the sweetest faces I had ever seen. I called Americans for International Aid & Adoption, the agency that was looking to place them and explained our situation. The caseworker told me a little bit about the kids. That night, I met Jeff at the door with the kids’ picture and their information, boldly proclaiming that I found our children!
Our first trip to Bulgaria was exciting and exhausting! In many ways we already felt as if the kids were ours because we had gotten to know them through the video and pictures we had been sent. They had no such preparation. We were informed that they had been told that we were coming and that we were going to be their mom and dad. Ani was the first one down the hall and ran into Jeff’s arms yelling, “Mama, Mama!”
We spent the next three days getting to know Ani, Gregory and Evan. We went to the orphanage every morning after breakfast and stayed and played until lunchtime. Then we came back in the afternoon, after their naps and played again until dinnertime. Jeff and I got a little glimpse into how much our lives were going to change! This trip also afforded us the opportunity to get to know our children’s individual personalities and helped us to better prepare to bring them home. Ani and Evan seemed to be very easy going. They ran to us and engaged in play activities quickly and easily. Our oldest son, Gregory, however, was much more emotional. He was very attached to certain caregivers and he did not want anything to do with us. He was also not comfortable with change. We knew that we were going to have to be extra diligent in making sure the transition from the orphanage to our care was as easy as possible for him. The requirement of this initial trip was a blessing. Without it, I don’t think that Jeff and I would have been adequately prepared to meet Gregory’s needs and it could have had long term negative ramifications on our ability to bond.
Jeff and I were riding high on the trip home. We had met our children and were so excited. We ran into a colleague of Jeff’s in the airport in London and happily told him where we had been and how we had met the children. His reaction was… “Children? Three children? Are you sure you want to do that?” We were to find that this would be a typical response when people found out that we were planning on adopting a two, three and four year old. Some of the people who knew us best, would then follow up with a comment about how if anyone could do it, we could.
After a wait that seemed like it was never going to end, we traveled to Bulgaria to pick up our children. Jeff and I spent several days at the orphanage hoping to make the transition as easy as possible for the kids. We followed the same routine as our first visit, visiting between meals. Jeff and I used the down time to nap and recuperate from spending three hours at a time with three energetic children. One day, the caregivers surprised us by bringing the kids’ dinner down so that we could help feed them. That was when it hit me. We were going to have our hands full!
Coming home was quite a shock. Trying to get into a working routine and deal with the language barrier, and newness of living in a family with rules and expectations was all very overwhelming. Slowly the kids and I began to understand each other and things got a lot easier. I would say that it took me about six months before I felt comfortable telling people that I didn’t need their well-meant advice, I was a mom and I knew what I was doing. All in all it was about a year before we all truly settled in.
Ever the glutton for punishment, that was about the time that we were told that my kids’ had a baby brother in the orphanage and Jeff and I decided to start the adoption process again. We went in April of 2004 to pick up our son Aaron. Our first trip requirement had been waived as the orphanage director knew us and knew that we were committed to adopting our children’s sibling. Unlike in our first adoption, Aaron didn’t have the comfort of having siblings going through everything he was and although he was 2 ½, he was not yet speaking. The poor thing didn’t know what was happening, but he did know he didn’t like it.
The transition home was a bit easier in that I was now a veteran mom, but we were faced with issues I had not dealt with before. As I mentioned, Aaron was not speaking so and he was developmentally delayed in many other areas. The next six months were spent seeking out various therapists and securing the help he needed to catch up to his peers.
As Aaron entered Kindergarten, I decided to return to work part-time as a Social Worker in the adoption field. Little did I know what was in store for me and my family! In November of 2007 I came across a sibling group of three sisters in Haiti who were waiting to be adopted. The girls were 12, 9 and 2. Something about them just captured my heart. Adopting the girls was a long and involved process, but we were able to bring them home in January of 2010.
The transition from 4 children to 7 children was not as easy as I expected. The girls were quite a bit older than the sibling group we had adopted nine years prior. Again, I found myself trying to get into a working routine, dealing with the language barrier, and acclimating the girls to living in a family with rules and expectations. In addition we had to navigate the educational system and find the necessary services to help us educate and meet the very unique needs of our daughters.
All told, our adoptions cost over $110,000. My children were considered ‘harder to place’ either because they were part of a sibling group; there are not many people crazy enough to adopt sibling groups of 3 or more, or because of their age. Did you know that a child’s chance at being adopted plummets once they hit the age of 5? As a result, when we adopted the girls from Haiti we were blessed with grants from Bethany Christian Services’ Caring Connection Adoption Fund and Steven Curtis Chapman’s Show Hope Fund. This helped offset the cost of their adoption and allowed us to save that money to use for the multitude of services our children needed after we brought them home.
There are so many costs to an international adoption: there are agency fees for services such as your homestudy, fees incurred as you meet the requirements of the government of the United States and the country from which you are adopting, orphanage subsidies, travel expenses, medical exams, the list could go on. There are so many children waiting for homes around the world and right here at home but unfortunately cost is a barrier to their finding a ‘forever’ family. Grants like Gregory’s Gift allow families who are ready and willing to adopt a child or children with challenges to find a safe home and a family who will love them.
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).