Michael and Suzanne Gowin are parents to Erin and her siblings,
Maura and Liam. The Gowin family will soon grow with the addition of
a 3- to 6-year-old boy and a girl up to 18 months old from Ethiopia.
The Gowins, along with the Mott and Wakeman families from Mount
Pulaski, are in the process of adopting orphans from the war- and
HIV-ravaged continent of Africa.
"Most of my life I have felt
drawn toward Africa and to adoption. After being blessed with three
biological children, I still felt that calling to adopt," Suzanne
said, adding that husband Michael felt the same. "We both came to
the conclusion that we were supposed to go forward with adoption
from Ethiopia. Last April, I was fortunate enough to help lead a
group of college students on a mission trip to a couple orphanages
in Addis Ababa, which further confirmed that decision."
While the Mott family hopes to pick up their new daughters before
the end of the year and the Wakeman family is still in the early
stages of the paperwork associated with international adoption, the
Gowins are somewhere in the middle.
All three families have joined forces to raise funds to help pay
for the expensive process of bringing an orphan from a foreign
country into their home. Adoption.com estimates the average cost of
a foreign adoption runs between $11,000 and $24,000, while a
domestic adoption could cost as little as $5,000 or as much as
$40,000, depending on factors like state requirements, birth mother
expenses and associated travel. All three families just learned that
law changes will necessitate two trips to Africa instead of one,
effectively doubling the already costly need to travel.
A Father/Daughter Dance put on by the trio of families earlier
this year netted around $1,000, enough to cover about half of one
round-trip plane ticket. They hope to repeat the success of the
event with a Mother/Son Night Out this weekend.
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Fundraising may be the primary goal of the outing, but it has
other significance for the families. "It raises awareness in the
community about what we are doing, and it allows people to have a
part in this journey with us," Suzanne said. The emphasis on family
togetherness and providing an opportunity for mothers and sons to
bond is no small part, as well. "My biggest prayer for this weekend
is not to raise a bunch of money," Suzanne said, "but that those who
come would have a wonderful, memorable time."
The Mother/Son Night Out will be at Lincoln Christian Church on
Saturday from 6 to 9 p.m. Tickets are available at the door for $30
per mother and son, plus $5 for each additional son. Dinner and
dessert will be served, a professional photographer will be on hand,
and games will be available for all.
[Text from file received]
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