You could say Kendra Skaggs of Bentonville, Arkansas, has been busy. Lately, she and her husband have been trying to adopt from Eastern Europe a 5-year-old girl born with spina bifida. The Skaggses are unable to have their own children and for various reasons want a daughter to join 7-year-old son Carter, born from a prior marriage.
“I teach special education and have a heart towards special needs children,” said 33-year-old Skaggs in a telephone interview. “(My husband and I) discussed what special needs we could handle and decided to look more towards a child with physical disabilities. When seeing Polina’s picture, we knew she was the one God meant for us. Many people ask, Why Eastern Europe? But we didn’t choose Eastern Europe. We chose a child and that’s where she happens to be.”
According to the Spina Bifida Association, spina bifida is “the most common permanently disabling birth defect in the United States. It occurs when the spine of the baby fails to close during the first months of pregnancy. The effects of spina bifida are different for each person and there is no known cause.”
Recently, 5-year-old Polina has been learning to use a walker. She has bowel and bladder challenges, a brain shunt to drain excess fluid, and had surgery on both her feet. Polina knows she has a family interested in adopting her, but doesn’t know who or when. What has been holding up the adoption process is funding.
Said Skaggs, “It is going to cost upwards of $45,000. We’re doing fundraisers and I’m selling homemade crafts and baked goods at the farmers market. Since I’m a teacher, I probably will be able to get a job as a waitress over the summer.” In addition to adoption costs, the Skaggses must pay round-trip airfare to Eastern Europe on three different occasions to finish the adoption. She updates friends on her “Pennies for Polina” blog.
She said, “Some people think we’re crazy, but I tell them we had a psychological evaluation done (for the adoption) that showed we are certifiably sane. When committing to Polina’s adoption, I told my husband she is our daughter and if she was kidnapped and someone asked for a $45,000 ransom, there would be no question we would pay it. Since we really feel God is saying this is our daughter, we are trusting Him to provide.”