Wade and Michelle Torppey, a couple from Wantage in Sussex County, with six biological children, recently adopted seven siblings from Ukraine, and are grateful they made the decision.
They almost couldn’t afford it but still decided to adopt all seven siblings, ages 6 to 17, who had been orphaned due to the death of both parents.
“If we can do well on one thing, that would be being parents, and other people have told us the same,” Wade told the Daily Record. They believe it was a gift from God, that he wanted them to be parents for a longer time than they had initially planned.
Most of their friends initially assumed the couple had only adopted one more child in addition to their six existing ones; they were all surprised to learn that the couple had adopted all seven children.
Wade, an ironworker by trade, had the opportunity to bond with several children under challenging circumstances while volunteering briefly in Haiti. The experience fueled his desire to help others in similar situations.
After researching through their longtime congregation, Lafayette Federal Church, the Torppeys learned about the program of the nonprofit organization Open Hearts and Homes For Children. The program is designed for American families to host orphans from Ukraine and Latvia for Christmas & during the summer.
According to Aaron Rob, the Torres family’s pastor, Wade wanted his entire family to support and care for underprivileged children.
The Torppeys celebrated their first Christmas with the Ukraine siblings in 2017. There were only five siblings on that particular occasion because the youngest son was too young to travel.
“Both their parents passed away,” Michelle explained. “Their father died in 2016, and their mother followed two years later.”
“They have ten siblings in total, two of whom have left the system and one who is staying with relatives,” she added.
After a month, the family said their emotional farewell at Dulles Airport near Washington, DC. Then Wade realized it would be more than just Christmas.
Next summer, they reunited with the Torppey family for nine weeks, and last July, the Torppeys completed the process for the siblings to become full-fledged members of the family.
Michelle & Wade can’t hide the joy of adopting seven children. However, they showed no regrets and expressed their sincere belief in God and his plan for them. “It takes some adjustment to get used to, and it’s not always easy. But when you know their heart…” Wade explained.
Wade and Michelle have received substantial financial support from their church community and GoFundMe, a foundation founded by Torppey’s eldest sibling.
They were deeply touched and grateful for the assistance. “It is such a humbling experience; we have been completely overwhelmed. We’re not used to receiving from others; we’d rather be donors,” Michelle explained.
The Ukrainian siblings are gradually getting used to their new life in the U.S. through learning English & playing soccer.
The Torppey family faces almost no language barriers; Michelle joked with Record, “If you ask what the language we mainly use now is, it would be a charade.” But, she adds, “There is already Google Translate if all else fails.”
Robb always speaks of the Torppeys family with respect & admiration for what they have done for seven children: “They are an absolutely incredible family.”
He adds that their stories over the years have truly inspired him.