The little boy's face of joy is what drew Chris and Laura Wade all the way from Troy, Alabama to Russia.
"And I couldn't explain it, except that it was the hand of God. That he was telling us that this child needed a family," Mrs. Wade explained of their long journey.
The couple just returned from visiting him on December 23rd. He's 3-year-old Ivan, a little boy living with Apert syndrome.
"It causes the bones in the skull to fuse. So he will run out of room for his brain to grow. His toes are all fused but he can walk. He has what is called mitten hands," Mrs. Wade says of the boy's health issues.
They're not adopting because they can't have children. Laura and her husband Chris share 6 kids and are expecting another. Wade says it was a God-led decision to improve the life of a little boy to whom they felt a connection.
"We have a full plate. We have a full family, so never did we think it would be something for us," Wade admitted.
Plus, she says her friend successfully adopted a child from the same Russian orphanage.
Wade says there have been hurdles and a potentially bigger one comes with the now okayed Russian ban on adoptions by American citizens. The Wades still believe Ivan will soon be their son.
"There were many obstacles that prevented us from adopting, but as we became closer to realizing that we were the family for him, all these obstacles just disappeared," Mrs. Wade said.
The Wade family says the judge in Russia handling the adoption of Ivan has been very supportive. He's pushing for them to come back to Russia as quickly as they can.
They hope to have enough money to fly back to Russia next month to finalize the adoption, but with Russian President Vladimir Putin's signing Friday of an adoption ban, the final outcome of Ivan's new home in American is not yet certain.
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