BOTETOURT Co., Va. It was September when WDBJ first reported on a Botetourt County couple who adopted two special needs children from Eastern Europe. At that time, Jeff and Wendy Shupe had just found out that the younger sister of one of their children was at an orphanage in Eastern Europe.
Now eight months later the Shupes sat down with WDBJ to give us an update on the adoption process.
The Shupes had six children when they adopted Caden and Avery five years ago. They thought their family was complete until they found their adopted daughter Avery has a younger sister who is also a special needs child at an orphanage.
The Shupes traveled to Eastern Europe over spring break to meet little Brianna for the first time. The experience is one they will not forget.
"It was amazing how much she was like Avery. It kind of took my breath away when they brought her into the room," Wendy Shupe said.
"I mean literally it was it was like a little look a like," said Jeff Shupe. "Her mannerisms are the same. It's just really amazing."
The two teachers spent the week for a bonding visit with Brianna- which is a key part of the international adoption process. And bond they did.
"She was a little quiet and shy at first. She finally let us hold her," Wendy Shupe said. "She cried after day three. She didn't want us to leave at the end of the week."
"It was like terrible. It was really sad for her and for us," Jeff Shupe said.
"What you get from mom and dad is different and I think she could feel that it was different," Wendy Shupe said. "The way she warmed up to us was different than when we saw her with the nurses that worked in the orphanage."
Even though Brianna doesn't understand English the Shupes believe she knew they were there for her. "I think she could feel what was coming from our heart that we were there for her," Wendy Shupe said. "We're her family and we're going to come back and I think she knew that."
Brianna has big brown eyes like her sister Avery. She also has dwarfism like her sister, meaning her body is in proportion but she's small for her age. She wears six to nine month infant clothing even though she's three years old, Wendy Shupe said.
Avery is now ten years old. The sisters, who have never met, who will soon be together.
"Even when she laughs she sounds like her," Wendy Shupe said. "For us we knew as soon as we held her and spent time with her that she was meant to be in our family."
The Shupes hope to bring Brianna home this summer. Stay with WDBJ7 for updates on the adoption.