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From Russia to Texas

By Analiz G. Schremmer

WACO, Texas — Sugar and spice and Russian adoption—twice.

Sarah and Natalie, ages 6 and 7, became part of the Bull family in April 2009, but already their English is perfect.They giggle and tickle each other and play with dolls and Hello Kitty as much as any other little girl. And their new mom, Melinda Bull, said they were always happy girls.

[caption id="attachment_1865" align="alignright" width="200" caption="Natalie and Sarah have only been living in the United States with their new parents for less than a year, but already their English is perfect."][/caption]

“One thing that I really liked was that the girls were happy in the orphanage,” Melinda said. “They are just happier now that they have a mommy and daddy.

“When they got here, they were very disciplined. They brushed their own teeth and picked up their clothes. They chose their own outfits and dressed themselves in the morning.”

Now they’re a little more spoiled.

“Before we came here, we had to eat whatever was on our plates even if we didn’t like it,” Natalie said. “Now we get to choose.”

Natalie added that at the orphanage they had daily chores and didn’t have their own sets of clothes.

“You pulled out whatever it was that came out of the laundry,” she said.

And when the Bulls went to pick them up at the orphanage, they had to bring some new clothes for the girls because whatever they were wearing belonged to the orphanage and they needed to give it back.

“I guess it just took them some time to get used to us,” said Frank Bull, the girls’ father.

The family has a video of the day they met their little daughters. The girls had short brown hair and shy eyes that looked at the floor. When Frank, their new father, put his hand on one of their backs, the child was completley unresponsive.

[caption id="attachment_1868" align="alignright" width="200" caption="Frank Bull said he and his wife, Melinda, felt called to serve the Russian people."][/caption]

Frank and Melinda stuck with Buckner after government expectations changed and Buckner was forced to go through the accreditation again. So the adoption process, which typically would take a couple of years, turned into a four-year wait.

“We felt like we were supposed to stay with Buckner through all of this,” Frank said. “Now it’s so clear that God wanted us to work through Buckner and have these very kids. We’re so glad we did.”

Irina Shytova, Buckner case manager for Russia said that it typically takes 6-9 months to adopt a child who is older than 3 years. For a child who is 3 or younger, it takes 9-16 months.

“The Bull family got caught up in our accreditation delay, unfortunately, which lasted more than two years,” Shytova said. “Now with our non-expiring accreditation, there will be no long delays like the Bulls experienced.”

Buckner placed 11 Russian children in families in 2009 and has been placing children from Russia since 1995. To learn more about the Russian adoption process, visit www.beafamily.org or www.dillonadopt.com.

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