An East Texas Mother Dies While In Russia To Adopt Child

"She was always the home room mom at school, the cheerleader mom at every game, the art teacher, the lady who helped make homecoming mums and prom dresses and had all the kids over to cook them their favorite cookies when she knew that they were coming," remembers Judy Lloyd's oldest daughter, Janna Wootten.

Judy Lloyd was a mom's mom. Serving others, say her daughters, may be the best way to describe her life.

"That was just her character," says Janna, "everyday she would help somebody in some way. Whether it was us girls, she lived for us, she lived for God, she lived for my dad."

That's why no one was really surprised at Judy's excitement when earlier this year, husband Jon told the family he felt God's calling to adopt a Russian orphan. A group of Russian children had been visiting their church, Green Acres Baptist, and that night at a special service, they all seemed to spot the same little boy.

"He was standing on the end," says 17 year old Alicia Lloyd, "he was the shortest one, with blonde hair and Katie and I just kinda looked at each other and we were like, he would fit in great. He looks just like us. We kinda leaned over and said we like him."

That little blonde was ten year old Grigoriy. The Lloyd daughters remember how God quickly moved in their family.

"As the days passed, more and more things began to happen as they kept praying. By the end of the week, it was obvious that there was no denying it at all that that was what we were being called to do," says Janna.

The Lloyd's daughters, Janna, who was just married a week ago, 19 year old Alicia and 18 year old Katie, remember how thousands of dollars were donated as their parents began the expensive adoption process. They also remember how it brought their family closer together.

"Some situations it might have torn a family apart," says youngest Katie, "but you could tell it was definitely something God wanted, because it brought us closer together."

"Their (her parents) love that they showed to us came out even more, because they didn't want us to feel like we were being pushed aside and replaced by him. They just wanted to kinda add another branch to our tree."

In June, Jon and Judy finally got to meet this little blonde they had only seen from a distance six months earlier. They instantly bonded. That was the first of two required trips to Russia.

On their second trip this past Sunday, they were reunited with Grigoriy, or Taylor, as they planned to name him, when Judy Lloyd died of a heart attack while going back to their hotel.

While their father waits to return home with his wife, their children say there are no regrets. They are today relying on their faith and the faith of a mother who was doing what she believed was God's call in her life.

"She knew this is what God wanted that we were supposed to have this little boy in our family. And I think even if it meant sacrificing her life for it, she was willing to do it because she knew that was what God wanted," said Katie.

"She was doing God's will, for her. And she got to see him again before she passed. And she was with him and with my dad and she had told us all that she loved us, so there couldn't have been a more perfect time in my opinion," said Janna.

Jon tells his daughters he intends to continue efforts to adopt Grigoriy. Though single parent adoptions are difficult in Russia, authorities there have indicated they intend make this adoption happen.

Alicia and Katie were scheduled to attend Texas A&M this fall. Both now have withdrawn to be close to home in hopes of helping with their new brother. Both will be attending classes at U.T. Tyler.

The entire family wants to thank the community for their donations, but especially their prayers.

Visitation for Judy Lloyd is scheduled Saturday from 6pm-8pm at Autry Funeral Home in Jacksonville.

Funeral Services will be held at 3pm Sunday at Tyler's Green Acres Baptist Church.

The family has asked that instead of flowers, donations be made to the Judy Lloyd Memorial Fund at Regions Bank. The money will be used to complete the families efforts to adopt Grigoriy.

Clint Yeatts, reporting.