New Jersey parents Wade and Michelle Torppey have raised six biological children together, but they decided to expand their family and pursue adoption of not just one but seven siblings from the Ukraine whose parents have died.
Before the adoption, the Torppey couple has had several visits and connections with the siblings for many years. The adoption process stalled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Wade and Michelle finally welcomed the kids -- Jenya, 6, Senya, 8, Anhelina, 9, Alina, 11, Slavik, 12, Leeza, 14, and Olena, 17 -- in America in July 2021.
Wade and Michelle believed that the children had been a gift from God because the single best thing they know they can do well is to be parents. The couple said the pandemic delay is also part of God's plan to ask them to be patient about the adoption process.
The wait has been worth it, however, as the family now enjoys a chaotic home life "full of love and laughter."
A Mission to Help Struggling Children
Wade first had an idea to help struggling kids after his mission work in Haiti several years ago. Upon returning home, he found out that many members in his community, the Lafayette Federated Church, are part of an adoption program established by the Open Hearts and Homes For Children.
The organization taps American families to host orphaned kids from Latvia and Ukraine for Christmas and summer in the United States. One of these families was the church's pastor Aaron Robb. Moved by the experience, the pastor decided to open up his home and his life to the kids they hosted, and the Torppey family followed the same route.
Wade and Michelle, who run a long-established meatpacking company, met their future adopted children for Christmas in 2017 for the first time. The couple learned that they lost their father in 2016. Two years later, in between the visits, their mother also died. Wade and Michelle met 10 siblings, but three were out of the adoption system since they are young adults.
However, everyone thought that the Torppeys would adopt just one child since they have a house full of their own children. Pastor Robb, however, didn't doubt Wade and Michelle's ability to take in seven more children.
"If anybody can handle it, the Torppeys can," Robb said.
Not Breaking Up the Siblings
Wade told his wife that he didn't want to break up the siblings, so he convinced her to adopt all the kids. Michelle said that they are getting by with some help from the members of the congregation who chip in with gift cards and fundraising money to help with their grocery bills and the children's school needs. The adoptive mom said they don't specifically know who has been donating since their church has a vast population.
Meanwhile, the Torppeys' biological children have also welcomed their adopted siblings with open arms. They bond over their love of sports so well, and some of the older kids have been learning the Ukrainian language to communicate better. Michelle candidly said they use a lot of Google Translate in their household.
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