After three biological children, Maj. Paul and Monica Bovankovich still had room in their hearts and home for one more. So they adopted Abigail, now 2, through an agency in China.

After three failed pregnancies, Tech Sgt. Caroline Paton and her husband, Master Sgt. Robert Paton, decided to try adoption. They are expecting a child from Ukraine to join their family, perhaps as soon as this summer.

Seminars on how to adopt children from foreign countries will be held at three bases in England this month to answer questions for people who, for whatever reason, are considering an adoption.

“People are so scared of the unknown,” said Monica Bovankovich, who will share her story at the seminars. “They know they want to adopt, but they don’t know what it involves.”

A panel of social workers, immigration officials and adoption agency representatives are scheduled to take part in the seminars. They are scheduled for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 22 at the RAF Lakenheath chapel; 5-9 p.m. March 22 at the RAF Mildenhall chapel; and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 23 at the RAF Alconbury Family Support Center.

Bovankovich said she and her husband, who works at the Joint Analysis Center at RAF Molesworth, began the adoption process in January 2003, receiving Abigail from an orphanage in China about 15 months later.

The waiting period, she said in a telephone interview, is not much different from a pregnancy.

“It’s an amazing thing. You want to protect them,” she said of the adoptee-to-be. “It’s like [one of her biological children] was taken to another country and you couldn’t do anything. It was a helpless feeling.”

The couple made a DVD of the entire process, she said, and “we pass them out like candy. We want to encourage people to do it. It’s such a miracle.”

For Paton, attempts to have children have ended in sadness three times.

Her husband, who works in the safety office at RAF Lakenheath, was a moving force in their decision to adopt, she said.

“He saw me with children. I have nieces and nephews,” she said in a phone interview. “He said, ‘We should be parents.’”

The safety officer at RAF Alconbury said she attended a small seminar at the base last fall, at which Bovankovich spoke.

“The seminar allowed us to know our choices,” Paton said.

The Patons will receive a child between the ages of 14 months and 2 years, she said. Ukraine does not allow children under the age of 14 months to be adopted in case the parents change their minds.

“We know it will be life-changing,” she said. “We’re just so excited.”

Bovankovich can attest to the feeling the Patons will experience when they first hold their child in their arms.

“It’s just like when you give birth,” she said. “You didn’t pick that child. That child was given to you.”

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