“My life has changed. I understand life and love more since the first time I met Clay- ton,” said Mitch Andrews, director of Principal Gifts, said about his adopted son.
The Andrews initially began the adoption process in Atlanta, looking at adopting from China. Then the couple moved back to their hometown of Tyler and found jobs at TJC. Instead of international adoption the couple chose domestic adoption through an agency.
“Being an older parent is exciting because I know where I’m at in my life and it’s a joy to be parents at our age. I can’t imagine life without Clayton,” said Andrews.
They began the adoption process and got interested in Green Acres Hope for 100 program and Christian based agency Loving Alternative here in Tyler.
“We adopted Clayton through the sister agency Breath of Life Ministries in Austin Texas.” “Hope for 100’s goal is to try and
find homes for 100 children,” said Jeanne Hines, Receptionist for Green Acres Baptist Church.
Mitch and Joan Andrews were blessed with their beautiful son three days after he was born in September 2009. The adoptive mother chose the Andrews as the couple she wanted raising her son.
They were married for 20 years and were unable to conceive their own child. That’s when they decided on adopting a child. Although they weren’t able to choose the child, they are happy and truly blessed with their beautiful son. Clayton turned 1 on Sept 26; he loves giraffes.
“The process can be long and there are many different classes we had to attend in preparation before adopting but it was worth it to receive such a precious gift from God,” said Andrews.
The paperwork, classes, meeting of birth mother and birth father before he was born were just a few things families go through before fi nalizing adoption.
Dr. Eijsink, who is the physician at the ETMC clinic on campus, has also adopted two gorgeous little girls from China. Shirin who is 9, and the newest addition Kaya is 5; they at- tend school at Jackson Elementary.
Dr.Eijsink and her husband went through Chinese Children Adoption International. Hope Cottage, which is in Dallas TX, is the agency here in
the United States that helped them. They did not have to travel to China.
The agency chose her daughters for her. It took them five years to get their youngest. She just came to live with them in July.
“Kaya and Shirin have changed our lives. We love our daughters and everyday it’s a new and exciting ad- venture,” said Eijsink.
The cultures are different so it is an adjustment process for the kids and the families, something as small as flushing the toilet still makes Kaya nervous.
“Since adopting my daughters my eyes are open to another country and I have a open heart. I love them just like I gave birth to them,” said Eijsink.
Eijsink has two older daughters that she gave birth to but they don’t live here in Tyler with her and her husband. Her oldest daughter is married and lives in California and the other one is in college about to graduate.
She chose adopting because her oldest daughter came in one day from school and suggested at the age of 13, adopting kids from China because of a paper she had to write and re- search about. She had learned about the treatment of kids in China and wanted to do something to help.
“The idea stuck with me and my daughters are one of my most favorite things to talk about,” said Eijsink.
According to China.adoption. com, adopting kids from China began in 1992.
Since then, thousands of children have been adopted from China, 90 percent being girls be- cause of China’s population control policies. One abandoned baby was found with a note that read: “In our countryside, the thought that man is more important than woman is very popular. I don’t have the strength to overthrow it.”
When adopting from China a couple has to have been married a minimum of 2 years, 5 years if second or third marriage, no more than 4 children living in home, both spous- es must have high school diploma. Other requirements regarding health, legal history and income play major role in adopting.