Before she became part of the Pediatric Alliance (St. Clair Division) family, pediatrician Ashley Loboda and her husband, Luke, knew they could — and would — endure the long and winding road that would eventually bring little Eliana into their family of five. Ashley had previously volunteered in an orphanage in Ukraine, and Luke in an orphanage in Guatemala. Together, they always knew there would be room for a sixth Loboda:
From these experiences, it was clear that all children belong in families. The orphans that we met were starving for love and were born into many disparities. We knew that we could welcome a child into our family and share with them not only love, but also give them the support they would need to thrive. Our international experiences highlighted that orphans face extreme poverty, discrimination, and lack of social services and for these reasons we felt called to adopt internationally.
The Loboda’s worked with the Pennsylvania-based adoption agency, Families United Network, Inc., and MLJ Adoptions (located in Indianapolis, IN) to find Eliana and bring her home to Pittsburgh, to a family she so richly deserves:
Despite all of the education and preparation we received, we were still surprised by how enduring the long process really was. MLJ guided us through the many steps of the process, but the waiting between each step was unbearable at times. Adoptive families are brave warriors for these vulnerable children and although our wait felt difficult it was nothing in comparison to the wait that our daughter endured.
Although 3-year-old Eliana faces some challenges (such as catching up developmentally, learning English, and getting accustomed to the sweet American diet), being loved is not one of them:
It is amazing how well all of our children have done with the addition of Eliana to our family. Our sons are very doting and loving towards her. The way that they all take care of each other and show love for one another is moving. At first, Eliana was very weak and could not climb the stairs or complete many simple tasks. Her big brothers were always watching and waiting to help her out. Now after three months home, she is strong enough to climb stairs and do many tasks alone but her brothers still keep watch over her.
The Loboda’s feel passionately that every child deserves a home and a family to love them:
Every child belongs in a family. It has been a long journey to bring our daughter home, but now with her here we know that she was meant to be a part of our family. If you have it in your heart to open your arms and family to an adopted child, there are so many children just waiting to know the love and support of a family. These children’s lives and futures are depending on it.
You can read the rest of this terrific article on Eliana’s journey to her new home here.