the story of an adoption

A few years ago an Orthodox Christian website published a request for a couple to adopt Pasha Kurov, a Russian boy with disabilities.

My wife and I are advisors of a group home; the organization provides us a one bedroom apartment. We don’t have children of our own. I took a moment to consider the possibility of adopting this child.

I thought, “We could put up partitions in the living room and create a little private space there.” But my wife and I agreed that this probably wouldn’t work. The space was too small; the agencies would never agreed to it. (There are other obstacles, such as our age; it was wishful thinking.) But I resolved to pray for the young man, that someone would step forward.

I heard later that a couple did just that, and I rejoiced. But then later I also heard that Pasha had been moved, and the couple hadn’t yet found him. So I renewed my prayers for Pasha.

And then recently I found that David and Dawn Heatwole, Orthodox Christians from Hagarstown, MD,  had successfully adopted Pasha, and also his brothers  Asa and Ethan, a few years later. Here’s the story from the Orthodox Church in America website and also from the website of the St. Catherine Orthodox Church in Hagarstown, MD.

“. . . He sets the poor on high, far from affliction, and makes their families like a flock.” – Psalms 107:41 (106, LXX)

Because this story will last on the Heatwole’s Parish site only so long, I would like to save it as a resource here; it is testament to the Church and to all people of God’s concern for each and every child, every person, with disabilities:      

Asa and Ethan Heatwoles’ adoptions were finalized on September 17, 2007!  Ethan and Asa join their brother, Pasha, and parents, Dawn and David.  Family and friends gathered together for dinner and celebration at Ruby Tuesdays in Martins-burg.  What a joy it is to watch the family grow.  This was their 2nd and 3rd adoption this year!  Three down and two (Adam and Justin) to grow!   O LORD OUR GOD, who by Your beloved child, our Lord Jesus Christ, called us children of God through adoption and said, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son: Look down from Your holy dwelling place upon these Your servants and unite their natures, confirm them in Your love; bind them through Your benediction; Be the mediator for their promises, that their love which they have confessed to You be not torn asunder and be kept sincerely even to the end of their lives, For unto You are due all glory, honor and worship, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

SYOSSET, NY [OCA Communications] — A few years ago, a notice was posted on the web site of the Orthodox Church in America seeking adoptive parents for a friendly little Russian orphan, Pavel Kurov — affectionately known as “Pasha.”

After two and a half years of search, complex and demanding paperwork, starts and stops, Pasha has been adopted and arrived at his new home in the US at the end of January.

Now the son of David and Dawn Heatwole, members of Saint Catherine Mission, Hagerstown, MD, Pasha, who suffers from a rare neurological condition called sacral agenesis, just celebrated his eighth birthday surrounded by his new family and friends.

“Although it was a very long wait, filled with blood, sweat and tears, looking back we are reminded that ultimately God is in control and HIS timing is perfect. This became very visible to us once we came home with Pasha,” remarked David, Pasha’s new dad. “Pasha seems very happy although still very shy. He is adapting well overall and we are excited to see his progress. We are amazed at how creative he is. His first big project was to make a Batman outfit all out of paper, even the cape.”

“He has really taken to David!” Dawn adds. “He loves his Papa!!! It’s so cool to see! … He’s picking up a little English and learning the alphabet. He’s smart!! He’s soooooo cute!!!! I wish you all could meet him! Thanks for your prayers.”

The Heatwoles extend their thanks to everyone who prayed for the successful completion of Pasha’s adoption.

Besides making Pasha feel comfortable in his new home and enrolling him in school, medical tests to determine the extent of his disability and the appropriate treatment are on the Heatwole’s agenda. Those who would like to help the family and be part of a support group for Pasha can e-mail the Heatwoles at

To access the original webpages:

The Story of the adoption of a Russian Orphan- Pavel Kurov

The Story on the Parish Church Family Life Page (with a picture): 


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