Grateful parents help spread word on adoption


November 27, 2001|By Dana Klosner-Wehner | Dana Klosner-Wehner,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

FOR MIMI and Addison Masengill of Dorsey's Search, Dec. 25 is the most important holiday of the year. It's the day they met their son, Misha, now 7, for the first time in a Russian orphanage in 1996.

Clarksville parents Denise Panyik-Dale and Jeffrey Dale brought their daughter, Madeleine, now 8, home from China on Dec. 25. That was in 1993.

Both families adopted their children through the World Association of Children and Parents (WACAP) - one of the largest international, nonprofit adoption agencies in the United States.

WACAP will hold its first information meeting on international adoption in Central Maryland at 7 p.m. Thursday at the east Columbia library.

"This is such a special time of year," said Panyik-Dale, a volunteer representative of the organization. "It can be a hard time for people waiting to start families through adoption. We wanted to get the word about international adoption out in Central Maryland."

WACAP guides potential adoptive parents through the complexities of the adoption process from start to finish, Panyik-Dale said.

For the Masengills, WACAP helped streamline the adoption process. Like many couples, they researched a variety of options before deciding to go with international adoption. They felt a special connection to Russia since that's where Mimi's grandfather is from. They found WACAP through a family friend.

Mimi Masengill said the help she received from WACAP was wonderful. "We received a videotape of Misha on Dec. 5," she said. "We agreed that we wanted him. Just a few short weeks later, we flew to Russia with six other couples from WACAP."

WACAP Russian liaison Natasha Goncharova met the Masengills at their hotel. She escorted the couple to Russian court, where they were approved as adoptive parents on Christmas Eve. The next day, she escorted them to the orphanage to meet their first child.

"Natasha is a very special person to us," Mimi Masengill said.

Goncharova will speak at the east Columbia meeting. It will be the first time the couple has seen her since the adoption.

Two years after adopting their first child, the Masengills adopted their son Robby, now 5, from Romania, through another organization. WACAP didn't have a Romanian program at the time.

WACAP now coordinates adoptions in China, India, Korea, Romania, Russia and Thailand, as well as in the United States. The organization, which is based in Seattle, has placed 7,500 children in 25 years.

The east Columbia library meeting will walk potential adoptive families and singles through the steps of adoption, Panyik-Dale said. Speakers will include Beth Lutton, of the Jewish Social Service Agency of Metropolitan Washington, discussing the first steps in the adoption procedure. The costs involved and children who are waiting for adoption also will be discussed.

"People always say how nice we are that we adopted these kids," Mimi Masengill said, choking back tears of joy. "But I really can't describe what a blessing they have been in our lives. I can't imagine our lives without them."

Information: Denise Panyik-Dale 410-531-2729, or the3dales

Holiday cheer

Come hear selections from Handel's Messiah, performed by the Columbia Pro Cantare chorus at 7:30 p.m. Sunday in Jim Rouse Theatre for the Performing Arts at Wilde Lake High School.

This is rated one of the best Messiah performances in the Baltimore-Washington area, said Kathleen Bowen, chorus manager.

This year's concert features nationally known soloists: soprano Amy Van Roekel; mezzo-soprano Rosa Maria Pascarella; tenor Charles Reid; and baritone Lester Lynch.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the all-volunteer 110-member chorus. East Columbia residents account for nearly one-third of those voices.

Chorus members from our neighborhood include John Bailey, Joa BonGiorni, Tom Buckingham, Maggie Caldwell, Christine Carpenter, Dan Cashman, Pamela Clark, Dennis Coskren, Holly Crawford, Sara Cronk, Abby Ershow, Lisa Freund, Jeffrey Frithsen, Alberta Hall, Jim Hardy, Chuck and Viviana Holmes, Esther Huebner, Susan Huerta, Wanda Hurt, Jennifer Ke, Tamara Lubliner, Stephen Mack, Drew Pastor, Cindy Peslen, Jim Raistrick, Don Raytkwich, Carole Steere, Mary Strickland, Mildred Taylor, Blanche Ventura, Christina Von Zeppelin, Margaret Wesley, Lynda Ann Willabos, and Katherine Yemelyanov.

"This concert is an uplifting experience for us and everyone in the community," Bowen said. "It's a great way to start the holiday season."

Advance sale tickets are $23 for adults; $20 for senior citizens and students, with a $2 surcharge for tickets purchased at the door. Group rates are available for 10 or more.

Information: 410-465-5744 or 410-799-9321.

Folk music

Hear some interesting folk music and meet the folks of Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia at 7 p.m. Saturday at Owen Brown Interfaith Center.

Singer-songwriter Andrew McKnight and Chesapeake Bay singer-songwriter Mary Byrd Brown will perform at One World Coffeehouse, an outreach program of the congregation.

"The welcoming environment of the Unitarian Universalist coffeehouses have provided an artistic haven for a variety of performers," said Lauren Haywood, One World Coffeehouse coordinator. "Its goal is to build a sense of community and bring in a multicultural venue of artistic expressions to the area."

Tickets are $10.

Information: 410-964-0825.

The show must go on

The Oakland Mills High School drama department will stage a production of Our Miss Brooks at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The show was originally scheduled for Nov. 16 and 17, but was postponed.

Tickets are $5. Information: 410-313-6945.

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