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Overseas Adoption

They call themselves the Kazak cousin's. Saken, Aliyah, Nikolas, Haydn, and the newest addition, Ryanne. Five children adopted from the small country of Kazakhstan. All of them here, their mother's say, only by the grace of God.

Tracy Saywer wanted to adopt from the time she was just 16. When she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, she and her husband, Steve, put those plans on hold.

"After about a year of treatment, no about two years of treatments, they said that I looked clean, and I was ready to start a family.  So, I went home that day, and started looking on the computer," Sawyer said.

 She came across a picture of a two year old that she says looked exactly like her husband.

"When we started doing the research, Saken was unavailable. I told them, 'As soon as you find out that he's back available, you call me. Because he's my son, so call me,' and they just laughed at me. They said, 'That just doesn't happen,' Well, it does. Because when God says it's your child, then it's your child," Sawyer continued.

"The week we were leaving to go to Kazakhstan, Saken's lawyer from Kazakhstan called us and said, 'I'm sending you a picture of a little girl,' and he said, 'Don't you think she looks like you're husband, and don't you think Saken needs a sister?"

They decided Saken did need a sister, and her name was Aliyah. On the plane ride back to the states, Tracy got another surprise. She learned she was pregnant with her youngest son, Avery.

The Sawyer's decision to adopt was just the catalyst Katrina Carr needed.

"Tracy, then sent a letter, and it had Saken's little picture on it. And we thought, 'Oh he's precious," Carr said.

She and her husband, Mike, were also planning to adopt. But like the Sawyers, medical problems got in the way. Her husband had a kidney and pancreas transplant just a year earlier.

"I told Mike, 'Can we look? Can we explore this?"

Initially, they were worried about the cost of overseas adoption.

"My little sister actually told me, 'Let's just do a carwash and just see what happens,' and we knew how much money we needed right then. We held a fundraiser, and it raised to the penny, the money that we needed. So we, thought, okay, this is the Lord. He's leading this one," Carr said.

 Nikolas and Haydn came home with the Carr's in January of 2002. Earlier this year, Ryanne came into their lives. She was born without legs and only one arm due to a congenital disease. A challenge, no doubt. But Katrina knew, instantly, Ryanne would be their little girl.

They knew they could give Ryanne opportunities here she wouldn't have in Kazakhstan. But shortly before they were set to bring her home, they were faced with one last setback.

"Easter weekend, Mike's pancreas transplant failed. We went in for a check-up, and he wasn't feeling quite right."

"I just felt like we had to give her back and say, 'If she's not meant to be in our family, then we still need to do the work to figure out how we're going to get her out of that orphanage, out of Kazakhstan, and into a home," Carr said.

Katrina says, miraculously, Mike's kidney didn't fail with the pancreas, and ultimately, Ryanne did get a home.

So will these two mother's adopt again?

"I would say in a heartbeat, if it's at all possible I would love to adopt more," Carr said.

"God told me many years ago, that I would have five, and my husband has reiterated that same number, so it feels like that's what we're supposed to have. We just don't know where they are," Sawyer said.

Lindsay Wilcox, reporting. lwilcox@kltv.com


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