Chris and Rachael Larkins have been married for 17 years. Early in their relationship they talked about wanting children, but most of the women in Rachael’s family experienced fertility issues, so they were aware that there was a possibility of not being able to get pregnant on their own. Adoption was something they were open to from the beginning.
In 2005, after trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant, they began fertility treatments. After three miscarriages in six short months and extreme heartbreak, their health insurance company said they would not cover anything further. Three years later, they decided on adoption.
“We went on the very first mission trip that Grand Parkway took to Russia,” said Chris. “An orphanage we were involved with there consisted of older kids who had a very small chance of ever being adopted. As we got to know them, we could see the only thing these kids wanted was to be held and loved. We left with such a big love for them, and our hearts were broken knowing there were so many kids without a home or a family.”
They began moving forward with adoption and went through an international adoption agency, seeking out siblings from Russia. The Larkins were open to adopting up to four kids ages three to eight. “Some countries require you to be a certain age to adopt infants, and at 42, we were too old for that,” Rachael laughed.
“We finally got the call about adopting the boys, and after seeing their pictures and praying, we knew these were our boys. We scrambled to get the paperwork done and began the process. You normally have up to 14 days from the time you get the referral to decide whether or not to adopt them. We had 24 hours. Because David was about to turn four, they were going to move him to an orphanage for older children, separating them. If we decided to adopt them, they would keep the boys together,” Rachael explained.
“Upon traveling to Russia to meet the boys for the first time, we were told they were only used to women and that we shouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t want anything to do with Chris. After visiting just a short time, they totally ignored me and were all over him, at one point even saying ‘Dada, come play with us!’ Everyone was amazed at how quickly they latched on to Chris.”
The boys didn’t speak English and survived using one- word answers to each other in Russian. They weren’t taught language skills and were considered non-verbal. Despite that, they picked up English pretty quickly; though they would completely shut down if they knew anyone was watching or listening to them. They were taught to keep their eyes down when talking to adults and to only respond with one- or two-word answers, which made it difficult to understand what they were saying.
After months of paperwork (35 pounds of it, to be exact) the adoption was final. Chris and Rachael flew to Russia and were ready to bring their sons home. They had the option to keep the boys’ names or change them entirely. Rachael explained, “They knew themselves as Matvey & Artem, and we didn’t want them to lose that; we didn’t want to get rid of who they were.” They gave the boys a new first name, and the names they were given at birth became their middle names; David Matvey and Michael Artem Larkins.
The process of the Larkins’ adoption took longer than it does for many families. There were several unexplained delays, and Rachael kept wondering and praying, “Lord, why is this taking so long?” But in time, she discovered the answer. “Had it all happened when we wanted it to, David and Michael wouldn’t have even been born yet!”
“Just the way God pursues us, we pursued David and Michael, and we still do,” said Rachael. “This is not a passive love, this is an active love. It’s not something we just happened into; everything was in God’s timing.” Chris added, “My kids adopted me; I didn’t adopt them! Adoption is not for the faint of heart. It has given us a whole new perspective on how big God’s love is; He loves us so much that He’s willing to adopt us.”