Thursday, November 22, 2001

From far away, a new family

Adoption gives reason for thanks

By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        EDGEWOOD — John and Janet Middleton will dine with some very special first-time guests this Thanksgiving — their sons.

        Joey and Will, ages 4 and 3, joined the Edgewood couple in May. The boys, born in Romania, were orphans when the Middletons adopted them this year.

        They weren't brothers. They are now.

[photo] John and Janet Middletown with William, 3, (left) and Joey, 4, adopted this year from Romania.
(Patrick Reddy photo)
| ZOOM |
        “We have the family we always wanted,” said Mr. Middleton, 32, an assistant Kenton County attorney. “This Thanksgiving is going to be something special.”

        Joseph James Vasile and William Clyde Florin — names derived from their Romanian heritage fused with those of their new grandpas — were living in separate foster homes when the Middletons flew to Europe this year. The couple meet the boys, spent a brief time with them and then brought them to Northern Kentucky.

        That ended a two-year, $30,000 odyssey.

        The couple used a family owned adoption service, All God's Children International of Portland, Ore.

        The process was long and expensive, Mr. Middleton said.

        “Even more so because we were going to another country,” he said. “The paperwork takes forever and nothing moves too fast. It takes a lot of patience.”

        And a lot of money. The Middletons took out a second mortgage on their Winding Trails Drive home and Mrs. Middleton quit her job to be home with the boys.

        “It took a lot,” Mrs. Middleton said as the boys rolled around wrestling on the living room floor. “But it was worth it. It was definitely worth it.”

        At first, communicating was difficult. The boys knew virtually no English. But they quickly picked up the language and now have little trace of an accent.

        They attend pre-school at Fort Wright Elementary School and that's helped their language skills very much, Mrs. Middleton said.

        About 10,000 children a year are adopted from foreign countries, according to the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse. Mrs. Middleton was surprised to discover how common is it for couples to adopt from abroad.

        “The people from the adoption agency told us they were going to give us names of people who had adopted kids from outside the country so we would have somebody to talk to about the experience,” she said. “And the three families they gave us were all from Edgewood.”

        The Middletons are enjoying having the boys around their home, from the toy trucks and a chalkboard in the living room to the mini-basketball goal in the driveway.

        They are in Knoxville, Tenn., for Thanksgiving, introducing the boys to Mrs. Middleton's family. “More like showing off,” she laughed.

        Raised in a tight-knit family, Mr. Middleton says he is thankful for finally having a family of his on.

        “I always knew Janet would make a wonderful mother,” he said, smiling as he watched his wife tend to the boys.

        “I was right.”

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