An Angels Camp couple who added their seventh child earlier this year are making room for their eighth, ninth and 10th via a rescue adoption in Poland that they hope to complete in about six months.
Tonya Moes (left) hangs out in the kitchen with her husband, Brook, and sons, Ronan, 6 months, and Gabriel, 9. Amy Alonzo Rozak, Union Democrat/copyright 2012
Brook Moes, 37, an accomplished violin and martial arts instructor, felt compelled to check his Facebook account one last time before he went to bed on July 13. At the top of the news feed, a friend’s post caught his attention and would not let go. It linked to a Children’s House International story about three Polish siblings, two girls and a boy ages 6 to 12, on the verge of being separated into different foster homes in just two weeks.
“I looked at them and I just knew those were Moes children,” he said.
The trio were removed from a deeply troubled home and placed together in foster care three years ago. Moes said it was an emergency arrangement intended to last no more than two weeks. With no one lining up to adopt them, time had run out on the effort to keep them together.
“They might never see each other again, and according to the psychiatrist’s report, this is the greatest fear these children have,” he said. “All they have had of stability in their lives is each other.”
Moes said he is not one to rush to a life-changing decision and admits he will have second thoughts about something like buying a new vehicle. But something clicked with these children and not just for him. He got nothing but support for the idea of a whirlwind
international adoption from wife Tonya, 36.
“It was just kind of, sure, why not?” she said. “There’s no challenge for us so far as to why not. That seems like you should.”
Eight hours after he saw the Facebook posting, Brook Moes was on the phone with the adoption agency. Their interest would be enough to put things on hold in terms of separating the three, who cannot be identified by name by Polish law but the Moeses refer to by the pseudonyms Faith, Jack and Cleo.
His wife was on board. Would his children, ages 6 months to 16 years, respond as joyfully?
“Getting nine people to agree on where to go to lunch is usually kind of hard,” he said.
Gabriel, 8, heard about his potential Polish siblings and responded immediately. He went to his room and fetched the money he had saved for the past year with thoughts of his first knife of his very own. It totaled $26.
“I thought I wanted them in my family and I gave (mom and dad) all the money that I had,” the boy said.
The rest of the clan, Victoria, 16; Ethan, 14; Acadia, 7, Brynja, 5; Brandt, 2, and infant Ronan, bought in as well. They offered a combined $1,443.10.
Moes said it brought him to tears. Things just kept falling into place. They wondered how they might afford a bigger vehicle to carry a dozen people at a time. Family friends who are now missionaries in Kenya offered up a 15-passenger van they no longer needed. They figured they could reconfigure a room where they conduct homeschool classes into another bedroom.
Initial costs to complete the adoption process and bring the children home to Angels Camp from Poland are estimated at $35,000 and Moes said they have reached the $8,000 mark between the family’s savings and donations.
The Facebook page he created has generated more than 5,000 unique visits in less than two weeks.
Already the Moeses have learned a lot about the adoption process. Brook said he hopes to be a helpful resource to anyone else similarly motivated to take a child or children in need into their own homes and make them a part of their family. He is working with the Oak Hill Presbyterian Church the family attends in Sonora to establish a permanent adoption assistance fund.
He said they have been fortunate to work with a Polish government that is motivated to find the children a home and works faster, easier and less expensively than other popular sites for international adoptions like Russia and China.
Nevertheless, protocol outlined by Californian, Polish and international laws require stringent home visitation, a five-week journey by Brook and Tonya to the Eastern European nation and thorough vetting in light of an increased child trafficking epidemic worldwide.
“We’ll be leaving as soon as possible (for Poland),” Brook said, but notes “it would be a miracle if it happened before Christmas.”
Small miracles have already happened in this rapidly developing journey the family has undertaken. They will soon learn if yet another is in order.
To learn more about the Moeses’ story or to donate to their efforts, visit moesadoption.webs.com.