When Chaplain (Maj.) Michael and Aimee Hart started looking into adoption last year, it was a way to fill a need in their Family. But as they began to learn more about the plight of orphans around the world, it became an opportunity to fill a need with their Family.
“God changed our hearts,” Aimee said. “It’s an upside-down, inside-out change in perspective. The focus moved completely away from us and our desires and onto the 147 million orphans and their needs. We are adopting from India two girls — two sisters — who are currently 3 and 4 years old. We are heartbroken we cannot save them all, but we are thrilled to be given the honor of saving two.”
Aimee said this international venture has its roots in a mission trip to Taiwan she took with her husband the year they were married.
“I think that was probably one of the first seeds to opening up our vision to be more of a global vision,” she said.
Two children and two deployments later, the Harts were planning to expand their Family when they were faced with secondary infertility. After five years, they started considering adoption.
Because of an anticipated PCS, many stateside adoption routes were closed to them. Despite everything, Aimee saw God at work.
“I think God is just leading us to our daughters who we would have another way,” she said. “It’s like the Lord is opening this door and we just need to walk through it and see what happens. We’re just going to say yes.”International adoptions have declined dramatically across the country in the last decade. According to the U.S. Department of State, adoptions from India have dropped from 500 in 2000 to only 226 last year.
When the Harts opened their sights to the rest of the world, it came down to two countries, though for different reasons: India and Poland.
“Can we really say one orphan is more needy than another? They’re all orphans,” Aimee said. “But the story of what’s happening in India to girls is not told. In Poland, they’re in homes. They’re being educated. They’re being cared for. They have good health care. In India, they’re lucky to be alive.”
The Gendercide Watch, a nonprofit project that raises awareness about the slaughter of female fetuses and infants in developing countries, called India “the heartland of sex-selective abortion” on their website, www.gendercide.org.
According to a 1984 report from Bombay quoted on the site, 7,999 out of 8,000 abortions that followed prenatal sex determination were performed on female fetuses. Another study on the site featured 1,250 families, 249 of which admitted to eliminating an unwanted female child.
The situation, which hasn’t changed much in recent years, is caused by the perception that daughters are undesirable — both because they will one day cost a large dowry and because they do not typically bring as much money into the family as sons can.
But the Harts were looking for daughters and their sons, 12-year-old Sean and 7-year-old Ethan, were already excited about meeting their sisters. When Michael and Aimee heard about the crisis for girls in India, the couple began to pursue adoption from that country. Typically, international adoptions are lengthy processes, spanning a year or more. The same day they made that decision, two girls were referred to them from their adoption agency.
Aimee called it a miracle.
“We got a referral on day one,” she said. “That’s a big crazy deal to us. Humanly speaking, that just doesn’t happen. It’s not about us anymore. It’s about rescuing the girls. It’s about ransoming the girls. We are all in. To us, they’re ours.”
The adoption will cost around $37,000, with an additional $10,000 for travel to India. The Family plans to go to India together in August, pick up the girls and return to the U.S. for immigration. They’ll PCS to Texas in September.
“Clearly, it’s going to be a God thing,” Aimee said. “Miracles are going to have to happen more than once. It’s going to be close to $50,000, and it doesn’t exist right now. It’s not ours yet. God still has it somewhere. It’s a huge leap of faith. And that’s what makes it exciting. The journey is unbelievably exciting.”
The Harts have plans to fundraise and apply for matching grants. They’re also saving as much as possible toward the adoption.
“I happened upon a penny bank that was in the shape of a globe and I (thought), ‘I don’t know where my daughters are on this globe, but we’re going to put money in it and bring them home from wherever they are,’” Aimee said. “All spare change has gone in there. Ethan took his birthday money and put it in the jar because he wants to get his sisters.”
Their first fundraiser, partnering with four other families in the area adopting kids from India, will be an art auction fundraiser March 19. The Harts hope to do more fundraisers in the future, including one featuring pink flamingo lawn ornaments.
Meanwhile, anyone who would like to get in touch to donate or ask questions can reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org.