PORTRAIT OF LOVE
Dayton Daily News (OH)
Springboro family opens home to adopted children from around the world
Author: Yvonne Mullins Warren County Bureau
Michael came from El Salvador, Kennedy is from China and Camaryn was born in Vietnam - but today, they consider Springboro home.
All three children were adopted into the ever-expanding family of Paul and Mary Ormond, who decided they had some extra room - not just in their home, but in their hearts as well.
And home, as the saying goes, is where the heart is. They could tell you something about that. Adoption, Mary says, `is the best thing you can spend money on." They've spent quite a lot, and are still at it.
"Some people like to retire and travel," she says. "We want to keep raising kids.'
This was not a sudden decision for the Ormonds. They first discussed adoption when they were married, 22 years ago.
`We decided to adopt after we stopped having our own. That happened after our fourth child was born. The doctor said I couldn't have any more,' Mary said.
The Ormonds adopted Michael 8 years ago, Kennedy 1 1/2 years ago and Camaryn 2 months ago.
`When we adopted Michael, El Salvador was having a civil war. Any child we could get out of there was better off,' Mary said. `When you look at what's going on in the Third World, it is hard not to adopt.'
Paul agrees, but he admits adoption has a price beyond providing a home.
`Unfortunately, it is expensive to adopt,' Paul said. `It costs an average of $18,000 per child to adopt internationally, although one of Mary's friends paid $33,000 to get a Russian child. Everyone wants to make sure they can take care of the (children) they have; but if you have the resources, how can you not do it?'
The family includes:
* Rachael, 20, who attends the Columbus School of Design and Art.
* Daniel, 19, who attends the University of Buffalo.
* Keenan, 18, a senior at Springboro High School.
* Tara, 15, a sophomore at Ridgeville High School.
* Michael, 9, a fourth-grader.
* Kennedy, 2.
* Camaryn, 8 months.
If you are going to have a family of nine, it helps to live in a large three-story house with nine bedrooms.
`Two of our children are in college, Rachael is getting married and Keenan will go to college next year. We needed to fill the empty places in the house,' Mary said.
The Ormonds filled some of that void in the fall by opening their home to a foreign-exchange student, Anne Lube, 16, of Germany.
Paul is a ceramic engineer and sales manager for a company in Cincinnati, and Mary sometimes works part-time as a pediatric nurse. He does the cooking; she and the kids do the cleaning.
Mary believes that organization may be the key to successful family living. `During the summer, the kids have their own part of the house to clean and take care of. They know the rules and, if they break them, they know the consequences," she said. Her rules include having the children go to college, go to work at 16 to save for college and taking piano lessons until they are 17 or 18.
`We eat in shifts because of school schedules, but we try to eat dinner together,' Mary said.
What do the first Ormond children think about their new brother and sisters?
`It has been a great experience,' said Rachael, who also wants to adopt some day. Tara believes having her adopted brothers and sisters has given her a better perspective of the world.
In addition to birthdays, the Ormonds celebrate adoption days, when they talk about the day that the child was brought into the family. Mary has written `Dear Child' books for each one of them in which she recorded what she was feeling and how excited the family was onthe day they came to live with them.
The Ormonds said they will take the adopted children to the country where they were born if they want to go when they are older.
Camaryn joined the family after the Ormonds couldn't get two other children out of Vietnam. `She was an internet adoption,' Mary said. `We got her in five weeks.'
The Internet has really changed the adoption process, Paul said. Mary also has found a support group on the internet for parents of internationally adopted children.
`I checked with others on the internet to see if the agency was legitimate before I went to get Camaryn. I guess they could have lied to me. It was risky. I wired $10,000 to people I didn't know, but Camaryn is the result.'
They haven't finished adopting.
One-year-old Austin and 4-year-old Victoria of Vietnam had hoped to be adopted by the Ormonds after their mother died in January 1997. The two are still stranded in an orphanage, because the government in that part of Vietnam refuses to allow any more adoptions.
The Ormonds' advance money was never refunded, but they haven't given up on Austin and Victoria. They are hoping they can get them transferred to an orphanage in an open area of Vietnam, so they finally can bring them to Springboro.
`There are still more rooms to fill,' Mary said.
* CONTACT Yvonne Mullins at (513) 748-5643 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org
* Mary Ormond heads an international adoption agency known as Cherub Inc. 3C
(1) Anne Lube, 16, a foreign-exchange student from Germany who is living with the Springboro family, entertains the Ormonds' adopted daughter Kennedy.
PHOTO CREDIT: JIM RUTLEDGE/DAYTON DAILY NEWS
(2) Keenan, 18, and brother Michael, 9, whose adoption rescued him from war in El Salvador, each take piano lessons; it's a family rule.
PHOTO CREDIT: JIM RUTLEDGE/DAYTON DAILY NEWS
(3) The Ormond family (back row from left): Keenan, 18, Michael, 9, and Daniel, 19. Front row from left: Rachael, 20, Tara, 15, father Paul holding Kennedy, 2, and mother Mary holding Camaryn, 8 months.
PHOTO CREDIT: MARVIN FONG/DAYTON DAILY NEWS
(4) Dad Paul Ormond carries baby Camaryn, who was an Internet adoption.
(5) Tara Ormond (center) embraces Kennedy, 2, (left) and Camaryn, 8 months, atop the kitchen counter.