Kyle and Virginia Crutchfield are adoptive parents living in Columbus, GA. Tarana Caroline, 8 years old, is their only child. Kyle is in the Army Reserves and currently attends CSU. Virginia is director/instructor at The Campus at Columbus, a new private school in town, also a consultant for Rodan+Fields skincare. The couple grew up in Alabama, Virginia in Troy and Kyle in Daphne. They have lived in Columbus for four years, originally stationed here with the Army, and have stayed for the community, especially the adoption community.
Clement Arts caught up with Virginia to find out more about their adoption experience.
CA: When and from where did you adopt? How old was your daughter at the time?
Virginia: We were given custody of Tarana on March 4, 2013 in New Delhi, India. She lived at the Welfare Home for Children in New Delhi. She had been there two years when we met her, which probably means she was five or six years old when abandoned. Our adoption agent was Lori Bollman of Island Coast International Adoptions. That agency is no longer in operation because of some problems with Hague Certification, but I feel like this closure is temporary.
We used Lifeline for the home study portion of our adoption. About 15 months passed between referral and adoption.
CA: How did adoption get on your radar as a way to grow your family? Were there any people or events that helped lead you to a decision to adopt?
Virginia: For me, adoption has been on my radar since I was a freshman in college and began regularly babysitting a newly adopted 2-year-old girl from China. Her mom was single, and I was blown away by the difference between the child I held and the child in the photos taken the day she arrived at the orphanage. I quietly rejoiced in God’s goodness in bringing this abandoned child into a loving family. I clearly saw the rescue that had taken place.
From that time on, I prayed that my children would come to me through adoption instead of pregnancy.
Over the years, there were a few other adoptive families in my life. When we came to Columbus, we met the Cornwalls and learned about their adoption. We saw that God had accomplished their adoptions, and that He would accomplish ours, too.
For Kyle, he was exposed to foster care as a child. His family took children in and cared for them.
CA: How did you go about choosing a country for your adoption? What drew you to India?
Virginia: We were drawn to India because we fell in love with the Cornwalls’ Indian kids. Then when we learned more about the situation with homeless children in India, and the way girls are often thrown away, we got serious about pursuing an Indian girl. Technically, we didn’t really decide until we saw Lifeline’s spreadsheet of adoptive countries and their various requirements. India’s requirements happened to best meet our family’s needs. Also, we knew that Island Coast International was a reliable agency because the Cornwalls used them twice. So we knew India was the way to go.
“Over the years, there were a few other adoptive families in my life… We saw that God had accomplished their adoptions, and that He would accomplish ours, too.”
CA: You were part of a group of families who were adopting from India at the same time. Even more unique, you were all adopting children from the same orphanage. What was that experience like for you? What do you think that was like for the children?
Virginia: Yes! In fact, we were all introduced through the Cornwalls, I believe. I’m not sure I’ve ever been in a situation more obviously brought about by God’s Providence. There’s no doubt that God brought us together. We were all military families brought to Columbus through military jobs. That was no coincidence. I am in awe of and so thankful for the support network resulting from these connections. We got together sometimes to talk India and adoption. We planned our Project 5×7 fundraiser together. We helped each other with other fundraisers, such as the Both Hands project and selling Ergon handcrafted notecards and Amazima necklaces from Uganda. We compared communications with our mutual adoption agent. Those families were among some of the few who really understood what it means to deeply love, to yearn for a child you’ve never met. God orchestrated this. It would otherwise have been a very different experience.
For the children, I think it was comforting to come home to a new country and soon see other children from their orphanage. It was wonderful to take photos of the already adopted kids to show to the soon-to-be adopted kids, and for families who went first, to show the children photos of their soon-to-be adoptive parents. Personally, when we were at the Welfare Home, and I had Shanti sitting beside me, watching a video of the Lewis family singing to her, I just can’t describe that feeling. There were definitely goosebumps, the same when we showed photos of the Hart family to Mona and Muskaan.
Kyle and I were the first of the group to travel to India, so we were able to report back on the conditions of the home and the conditions of the children. It was a humbling, sweet experience.
When we see all these children together, we just want to fall to our knees and worship the Lord who gave them to us. That includes the Carroll children, who didn’t come from the same orphanage, but were part of our group efforts and support.
“When we see all these children together, we just want to fall to our knees and worship the Lord who gave them to us.”
CA: How have you seen God at work in your family through adoption?
Virginia: As first time parents, adoption has shown us more of our own sinful selves. I know I have had to “die to myself” so many times since she came home. Her tantrums and resistance to our love have shown us how we treat God.
Through the adoption process, God reminded us again and again of His faithfulness toward us. The money always came in when we needed it. The paperwork always went through at the right time. We learned to accept more that God’s timing is perfect. We learned that prayer doesn’t change God. It changes us.
As for our extended family, some have become advocates for adoption when previously they discouraged it.
CA: If you could somehow offer your pre-adoption selves any advice or encouragement, what would it be?
Virginia: I would tell myself that everything would happen in God’s timing, that the money would come in, that the paperwork would be processed, that we would travel all in His time. I would encourage myself that Tarana was safe in the orphanage, that I didn’t have to worry about her physical well-being. Also, that Tarana is perfect for us and I shouldn’t worry about bonding.