By Jenna Ebersole
For each of her birthdays growing up, a Williston-area 18-month-old can expect one unusual present – a gift her parents bought for her in the country where she was born after waiting years to bring her home.
City Commissioner Brent Bogar and wife Kris traveled to China in December last year to meet their adopted daughter Hope. Now just starting to talk, Hope has entirely acclimated to the family, both parents said.
“Hope is an absolute delight,” Kris Bogar said. “She loves to say hi to everybody. She waves hello to everybody.”
But the process of getting their daughter was not easy. In fact, it was six years in the making with delays originating from several requirements and the Beijing Olympics, they said.
“There’s a lot of frustration. There was a lot of tears. A little bit of anger,” Kris Bogar said. “Just the knowing you couldn’t do anything but wait was really difficult.”
Starting in late 2005, Brent and Kris Bogar began the process of adoption – something they had planned to do from before they got married – with initial delays coming from a requirement that both parents be at least 30 years old.
During the Olympics, Kris Bogar said the process came to a standstill and one of the most frustrating things for both of them was also a U.S. government requirement that fingerprints must be updated every 15 months.
“Even though they don’t change,” Kris Bogar said. “So we had to get fingerprinted five times.”
Being fingerprinted – which takes only about eight minutes – required traveling more than 300 miles from their home to Rapid City, S.D., Kris Bogar said.
“That was probably the most frustrating part, was more so just the bureaucratic process,” Brent Bogar agreed.
But they said they drew on support from family, friends and their church community.
“You just let it be and figure it’s all in God’s hands and in his timing, and it all worked out,” Brent Bogar said.
He said he would choose to wait all over again, now having Hope.
“If I would’ve known that she was the daughter we were going to get, I would have waited that six years without a problem,” he said.
When the wait finally came to an end with a phone call and an emailed photo, Brent Bogar said the couple was overwhelmed.
“There’s kind of a flood of emotions,” he said.
Kris Bogar said it was fun to finally get to call family and church members who had been with them throughout the process with good news.
“They had waited the whole time and knew each step,” she said.
The couple spent 17 days in China, traveling to Beijing and several other areas through their agency, touring major sites and eventually meeting Hope, who had been living with a foster family for her first few months.
Despite some initial uncertainty on Hope’s part, Kris Bogar said they were calm until she warmed to them, which didn’t take long.
“It was like, ‘This is it.’” Brent Bogar said. “It just felt natural. It felt like this is what we’d waited for, and it just feels right.”
In the months since bringing her home, he said the couple has adjusted quite a bit.
Although they were prepared, he said in many ways bringing home a 9-month-old child is a major leap to make overnight.
“It’s an adjustment, but I wouldn’t give up what I have to have what I had a year ago,” he said.
Kris Bogar said the initial decision to adopt through China and the organization Chinese Children Adoption International came after thought and prayer.
“We spent a lot of time praying about it and checking out agencies and just felt really led to go to China because of the very big need there,” she said.
She encouraged other families to adopt as well and said October is National Adoption Month.
“There is a need and even when it’s frustrating, don’t give up,” she said. “There’s a child that needs to be loved.”