baby in car seat
Leah Berenson
Leah Berenson
November 25, 2022 ·  4 min read

‘I just cried holding her’: Couple welcomes baby girl after 5-year adoption journey

While some parents choose adoption, for others, it is the only option to becoming parents. Either way, the adoption journey is an emotional process that can become costly very quickly. More often than not it can take years to complete the journey. However, when a parent and child are united, it makes the agony, tears, and time worth it. Such is the case for Chris and Manny Orupabo.

A Never-ending Adoption Journey

Chris and Manny are residents of Hawaii and began their adoption journey in 2017. “When I found out that I was unable to have babies naturally. We fostered, we’ve tried IVF,” Chris said in regard to the start of their adoption journey. There were 1 million babies born from IVF between 1987-2015. Thanks to medical advancements the numbers have since increased significantly. Despite its growing success rate, IVF and other assisted reproductive methods don’t always take, as was the case in Chris’ situation.

After going through a long and emotional process Chris and Manny chose to pursue another avenue. According to the US Child Welfare there were over 400,000 children in the foster care system in 2019. The couple began fostering but still had high hopes of having their own child one day. “You sit back and wonder. When is it going to be our turn?” Manny said of the emotional adoption journey.

Image Credit: Amanda Nance | Hawaii News Now

Connecting with an Agency

Finally, after years of hoping and praying the couple got in touch with A Family Tree last year to further pursue their adoption journey. This year, they finally got their wish and adopted a baby girl from Texas. “I just cried holding her because it is a blessing that we’ve been waiting and praying for so long,” Chris Orupabo said of finally getting closure on the family’s adoption journey. The Orupabo’s said the adoption process cost them $65,000. Manny said of the process, “There’s a lot of paperwork; it is expensive, but the reward is far worth it,”

Read: A Kindergarten Boy Invited His Entire Class to His Adoption and My Heart Is Full

National Adoption Awareness

November is National Adoption Month. The month of adoption became officially recognized under President Bill Clinton in 1995 but was inspired by Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis. In 1976 Dukakis initiated adoption week for the state. It caused such awareness that in 1984 President Ronald Regan, instituted a National Adoption Week and just a decade later it would become a month-long cause.

Between the year 2000 and now more than 250,000 families have adopted children from overseas. Additionally, there is still a large number of children in the US in need of loving homes, according to Shaylah Nichols “Over 100,000 children are waiting to be placed into permanent homes.” Shaylah works with a Family Tree to help children be placed with loving families.

A Family Tree is currently the only adoption agency based in Hawaii. Chris and Manny had to wait a long time, but the couple got lucky. Most families in Hawaii, and in other states, have had to adopt a child from overseas. A Family Tree has fortunately been able to pair 20 families with US based children in the year 2022. They say they currently have 40 other families waiting to be matched with kids.

Hardships of the Adoption Journey

Parents spend more money than they ever thought possible during the adoption journey. Agencies and lawyers have to be paid for their services in order to help children find their forever homes. This can often cost around $40,000 but in some cases like the Orupabo’s it can cost significantly more. Fostering a child is also costly but there are often government programs to reimburse families for their expenses. However, when adopting the family is solely responsible to cover the costs.

Families then have to undergo ‘Home Studies’ which can also be expensive, ranging from $2,000-$6,000. These involve an interview with the family and inspection of the home to ensure a safe, stable, and nurturing environment. In certain cases, the family who is adopting may also be responsible to cover medical costs for the mother carrying the baby.

Emotional Turmoil

The adoption journey is more often than not, painful and emotional for everyone involved. Families set out to adopt but due to unforeseen circumstances end up heartbroken during the process. The disappointment and feeling of loss take a significant toll on one’s mental well-being and often parents have to seek therapy or a deeper sense of support from one another. However, for the children who are involved in the adoption journey they face a great deal of insecurity.

They may have previously been in the foster care system and bounced around from home to home. In addition to lacking stability, they may have low self-esteem, anger, or other mental health problems. Because a number of kids experience abuse, whether intentional or unintentional, there may be some deeply emotionally draining topics your family will have to address during the final steps of the adoption journey.

There are many downsides to the adoption journey but almost everyone who’s ever adopted or been adopted say it’s worth it, things worked out for the best, or they were happy with where they ended up. Noelani Lommasson was adopted from China and said, “Being in a Caucasian family, I wasn’t ever seen differently. I was loved equally just like my older brother.

Keep Reading: A 10-Year-Old Girl Named Miracle Helped Her Mom Deliver Her Baby Sister At Home


  1. I just cried holding her’: Couple welcomes baby girl after 5-year adoption journey.” Fox 19. Stephanie Lum and Jordan Gartner. November 11, 2022.