Mormon family nearly doubles in size: 5 adopted sisters from Ukraine

Published: Thursday, June 27 2013 5:00 a.m. MDT

The Luke family in 2011 includes five sisters adopted from the Ukraine.

Provided by Lee-Ann Luke

HERRIMAN — Dave and Lee-Ann Luke had made it — at least in the eyes of the world.

They were financially sound, had five children out of diapers and were on their home stretch to becoming empty nesters. With Krista, 21; Davie, 19; Spencer, 17; Ruthie, 13; and Zane, 9, many would say the Lukes had done their part.

But one night in 2005, while the couple was walking up the stairs of their Arizona home, they realized something might be missing.

"Dave and I were going to bed when he made the comment as he was turning the lights off," Lee-Ann Luke recalled. "He said, 'You know, when we go to bed at night, we leave half of this house empty. I think one day we're going to be accountable for that."

Now, more than seven years later, the Luke family has become even closer after battling more than they could have imagined in order to complete their family. The family of seven nearly doubled in size after the adoption of five sisters and one young boy from Ukraine.

Making the choice to adopt

When Dave Luke first made the comment to his wife about empty rooms, she wasn't sure what he meant, but quickly became interested in the idea of adoption. The decision seemed right, so the Luke family began to look into adoptions both in the United States and internationally.

After completing a "home study," they found a young girl in Kazakhstan who they were prepared to adopt. The Lukes bought clothes and got a room ready for their daughter-to-be as they waited for Christmas to come, which was when they were told they could bring her home.

But one night an email came and the Lukes found out their little girl had been adopted by another family.

"It was pretty heartbreaking when we lost her," Lee-Ann Luke said. "I just kind of shut the door to her room, like that was it for me. But then the rest of my kids said, 'No, Mom. If you felt like you were supposed to adopt, then you still need to do it.'"

So they began the process over again, this time learning about a young boy in Ukraine. But after talking with the adoption agency, the Lukes found out it would be several months before the boy was eligible for adoption.

"My husband said, 'Well, couldn't we go sooner?' and they said, 'Well, if you want to adopt five girls you could go tomorrow.' We just kind of all laughed about it, so we hung up the phone," Luke said. "My husband said, 'Well, who's going to adopt five girls?' And I said, 'Probably nobody,' and he said, 'We should.' I said OK and that was it — we phoned the adoption agency back and said we'd take the five girls."

The journey to keep them together

Once they made the decision, the Lukes acted quickly to adopt the five Ukrainian sisters: Ana, 10; Ellen, 9; Katherine, 8; Nadia, 5; and Julie, 4. Because their paperwork had been completed for only up to two adoptions, Dave Luke spent the next day waiting for a chance to change their paperwork to allow five adoptions.

With no appointment having been made, Dave Luke was forced to wait the entire day for an opening.

"He felt like we had to go right away, that we should hurry to go get these girls," Lee-Ann Luke said. "That's why he was trying to push everything as fast as he could."

The paperwork was completed on a Thursday, and the Lukes bought their plane ticket to Ukraine on a Friday. Saturday, they were on a plane.

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