NIXA, MO – A few years ago, the Northrups were living a simple, yet busy life in Nixa, raising their three children.
“We weren’t looking to adopt,” explained Daron Northrup. She and her husband Michael initially turned to orphan hosting through their church.
That’s how they met Andre, a Ukrainian teen that had spent much of his life in an orphanage. After a few weeks of hosting, they wanted him to be a part of their family forever. Andre eagerly accepted the request to become a sixth member of the Northrup family. But that’s when they quickly found out how patient they would have to be to make this hope a reality.
“This whole process does take time,” Regina Smith said. She works with Nightlight Christian Adoptions. “So, a person who is really interested in adopting a person of a specific age, by the time the process is said and done, that child would likely be older than what (the family) anticipated.”
“The first part of this process is, you need to do is get a home study,” Daron said. “There was an application process, an interview process, a home inspection, and then we had to complete a dossier, which is international paperwork.”
But for the Northrups, the process was a little bit longer than what’s typical.
“It was something that should’ve taken easily 12-15 months, and it ended up taking us two and a half years,” Daron said. “Unfortunately, when (Andre’s) biological parents’ birthrights were removed, they never filed paperwork. So, when we submitted our first dossier, the paperwork was mixed up, and he wasn’t available for international adoption yet, and we had to wait another 14 months.”
It took two and a half years in total for Andre to legally become a Northrup. But he acclimated quickly.
“I was kind of nervous to play new sports, but sports helped me a lot, and that’s how I learned to speak English,” Andre said.
“I taught Andre how to throw a football and how to play football and adapt to a whole new sport that he didn’t have in Ukraine,” said Quinn Northrup, one of Andre’s siblings. “And I think (our brother) Jamison and I really helped him with English.”
International adoption was an unexpected way for the Northrups to grow their family, as they also learned key methods to let a child adjust to a new life setting.
“I think what’s important is just following your child’s lead in what they need,” Regina Smith said. “In forming new friendships, and their own sense of community, whether that’s through sports or the arts or scouts, whatever it might be to help them make friends and peers their own age.”
Andre now is in a family with two younger brothers and a younger sister, and this new path in life has helped him come up with a path for his future.
“I probably want to join the military or go to college,” Andre said of his post-high school days. “If I’m good at wrestling this year, maybe be good and get a scholarship for college.”
You can learn more about Nightlight Christian Adoptions by visiting the organization’s website.