We first introduced you to the Stradley family on Mother’s Day, when they spoke with #HopeRises on their way to India to bring home their daughter.
Alicia Stradley and her husband, Mark brought home their son, Vignesh, in November 2016. Vignesh was an orphan in India, who had a few medical challenges. They fell in love with his sweet smile and his need for the kind of love only a family can provide.
Now, nearly two years later, they welcome their beautiful daughter, Kavitha, into their loving arms.
The Stradley family made their final trek from India to the United States and are overjoyed to be home. They are looking forward to adjusting as a family of FOUR.
“Our family feels full of love and joy! The kids are so very happy to be together again, and we are so proud to have both of these beautiful children to call our own,” says Alicia.
See our post from Mother’s Day below, and read more about their journey to adopt Kavi after meeting her during the adoption process for Vignesh.
Mark and I got married in 2009 after meeting in college. We had talked about waiting five years to have children, but when we went on a missions trip to the Dominican Republic where, we lived at a foster home and “hung out” with orphans. Maybe this is when we first decided we would instead adopt?
In 2011, we decided that we were going to pursue adoption as our first choice for growing our family. We were looking into adopting from the foster care system, and that seemed like a good idea to us, however, at the time, we didn’t want to foster. We got a home study and training and then we were told that children younger than five weren’t usually available for adoption because foster families tended to adopt them. In 2013, we began looking at other types of adoption. We looked at domestic infant adoption, but decided it wasn’t important to us if our child came to us as an infant, and so we decided that we would adopt internationally.
It was a quick decision then to adopt from India, as I had been there eight years earlier and fell in love with the people and culture. Mark agreed. We found an agency that adopts in India and began the process. When we saw our sons face for the first time in April 2015, we knew he was meant to be our son!
Although he had some disabilities that we knew nothing about, we started researching and preparing to bring him home. In November 2016, after having spent his 4th and 5th birthdays away from us, we were told we needed to go to India to start the last steps of the adoption process.
When we got to India, we were met with every snafoo, delay, and issue that we could ever dream up (and more!). We met our son for the first time on November 12th at his foster home. He was excited, and happy…and so were all 12 of the other children. We spent two weeks visiting Vignesh and the other children in Hyderabad, India. They lived at an amazing place called Sarah’s Covenant Homes, where the children are well-cared for and loved.
The first day we visited Vignesh, there was a little girl named Kavitha. She called me “Mommy”, held my hand and led me all through the home before I ever got the chance to touch Vignesh.
We finally took custody of Vignesh on November 30th and arrived home just before Christmas in 2016! Days after arriving at home, we found out that the family who had been looking at Kavitha’s file (to adopt her) decided not to adopt her. We were heartbroken and disappointed. Children belong in families and we just couldn’t understand how a family could say no to her! If they had only been there, held her hand, and tickled her, they would know what a great she would make to any family – we had to do something!
So we called an agency about her and inquired about adopting her. This went against all of our best judgement. Our son just got home, we both had taken 2nd jobs and done a fundraiser to afford the first adoption, and we hadn’t even taken our son to the doctor yet, to see if he had any underlying health issues that we didn’t know about (which he didn’t).
But, God had provided before, and we could already tell that Vignesh was going to be a great brother. So, we stepped out in faith and began the process again in August 2017, when Vignesh’s adoption was finalized here in the United States.
Anyways, fast forward nine months and we are in India! We will be here for about 4 to 6 weeks, but the process has gone SO MUCH smoother than it did with Vignesh. So we are looking forward to “meeting” our daughter, passing court in India, getting her birth certificate and passport, and a medical exam before coming home as a family of four!
Kavitha knows that we are adopting her and that Vignesh will be her brother! Adoption isn’t easy. But, it’s the best thing we have ever done in our lives. I wouldn’t change a thing!