Local News

Cary Christmas Starts New Life for Russian Girl

Posted Updated

CARY — A Cary family will never forget the Christmas of1997. An international adoption has changed their life forever.

After stacks of paperwork and months of waiting, Theresa andJan Johannson got the Christmas gift they wanted most of all. It came fromRussia, in the person of 8-year-old Katya.

For Katya, this is her first Christmas in America. It's even her firstChristmas with a family, because until just about a month ago, Katya wasan orphan in Russia.

Jan Johannson says language is understandably still a bit tricky."This year wecan't explain the reason why we celebrate Christmas. Maybe next yearwe can, when her English will be better."

It took the Johannsons more than six months, but in November TheresaandJan got the callthat they could pick up their new daughter. They spent about 10 days inRussia.

Happy to be taking Katya home, Theresa nonetheless felt a twinge atleavingthe other children behind in the orphanage. Jan explained that if thechildrenaren't adopted by the time they reach 7 or 8 years of age, they probably face difficult futures.

The Johannson's wanted to adopt all the children but they knowraising just one child is a challenge.Jan is a bluegrass musician. He's giving up his band to devote more timeto his new daughter.

Katya seems to have a natural love for music, which transcends all language barriers.

For families thinking of adopting a child, Theresa says just look atthe Johannson's Christmas.

The Johannsons used a Raleigh adoption agency to help them get Katya.The Victoria Adoption Center helped locally, and the Frank Foundationin Washington, D.C., assisted with the international arrangements.Katya is enrolled in school and her English is getting betterevery day.

Copyright 2024 by Capitol Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.