We’re all human!

The Kupper family. Photo Olivia Powell

Adoption gives Guyana Kupper a beautiful new life

By Olivia Powell –The Creswell Chronicle

I woke up last Friday morning feeling tired. It was early, and I felt no particular draw to go to work. Even more so, I felt no particular draw to get out of bed. To me, on that morning, getting up, walking and going on with a normal day felt like a chore. But for some, this is the stuff of miracles.

Later that same day, I had the privilege of meeting Guyana Kupper, and I left her having acquired a deeper understanding of just how easy my life is. Very easy, to be exact.

Guyana Kupper is 6 years old. She was born in Armenia and she lived there, in an orphanage, for the first five years of her life. She has several disabilities including spina bifida, hydrocephalus, hearing loss, scoliosis and paralysis in one of her legs, among other conditions which make it difficult for her to live the life of a typical 6-year-old girl.

But Guyana has no trouble being happy. As soon as she saw me, her face lit up and she immediately asked me what my name was, before inviting me to sit on the couch and watch cartoons with her. I could tell right away that this was a little girl who loved life, and whose personality was as bright as the red, orange and yellow outfit she was wearing.

Guyana was adopted by Creswell natives Nick and Crystal Kupper in May of 2016. A Master Sergeant in the United States Air Force, Nick was stationed in England and Crystal and their three children, Jack, 9, Jude, 6, and Avinly, 4, were living there with him. Crystal and Nick had some friends who had moved to Ukraine in order to help change the way special needs institutions were run there.

The children “are typically tied to their beds all day long and never given any toys or physical touch,” Nick said.

When the Kuppers visited one of these Ukrainian orphanages, they were astounded.

“It was nothing like you would imagine. Our hearts and minds were really opened,” Crystal said.

A bit later, Crystal was volunteering for Reece’s Rainbow — an organization that serves to find families for disabled orphans by fundraising and promoting awareness — when she came across a photo of Guyana on the website.

“I’ve seen hundreds of hundreds of cute kids…and I saw her and I just knew that she was our child,” said Crystal.

However, Crystal chose not to talk to Nick about Guyana right away.

“I had told God I wasn’t going to talk to Nick about adoption for a year, and I was only a couple months into that vow,” Crystal said. “So I told God, ‘If you want us to adopt her, you bring it up to him.’”

Three months later, that is exactly what happened.

While they were talking about the children that Crystal had been fundraising for, she showed him the photo of Guyana on Reece’s Rainbow. After asking Crystal a few questions about Guyana’s disabilities and prognosis, he said he wanted to adopt her. About a year and a half later, they brought Guyana home.

“We just know that when God says ‘go,’ you go,” Crystal said. “So, we went.”

Today, Guyana is a very different girl than she was the day she first came home from the orphanage. Since that day, she has learned what a family is. She has learned what wind and rain and grass feel like. She has learned that she doesn’t have to be perfect all the time, because her parents will always love her. She has learned that not all children have disabilities, but that having one, or many, makes her no less beautiful.

Guyana’s is a kind of beauty that outdoes everything else about her. She is more beautiful than she is disabled.

And she knows it.

“She came pre-programmed with this belief that she’s beautiful,” Crystal said. “In the mirror, she tells herself that she’s beautiful…and she is.”

It was no surprise that Nick and Crystal Kupper adopted Guyana, a disabled orphan from Armenia. In fact, just in the last year, Nick has been recognized for his contributions to orphan justice by winning the Jaycee’s Ten Outstanding Americans Award and getting Honorable Mention for the Air Force Times’ Airman of the Year Award.

Nick and Crystal spent time in Ukraine with disabled orphans and are both very involved in advocating and fundraising for families to adopt children. According to Crystal, her and Nick’s involvement in the orphan crisis stems from an understanding of what we all have in common: we’re human.

“We all need to take care of the most vulnerable among us,” said Crystal. “I want to be in a community where people say, ‘I’m going to take care of you because you’re human, even if you can’t give anything back to me.’”

One way to take care of your fellow humans is through adoption. When the Kuppers first began discussing adopting Guyana, it seemed as if they were as unqualified as they possibly could have been.

“We are not wealthy…we’re pretty darn young…we’re impatient, we argue with each other sometimes, we’re not settled, we’re not around family, we move,” Crystal said. “We have a lot of reasons why we shouldn’t be adopting and yet we did and it’s wonderful. And I’m not saying that it’s a fairy tale by any means. It’s hard. It’s really hard, but it is so worthwhile…Anything worth doing in life is hard.”  

The best part?

The best part is “being able to give a little girl a second chance at life,” Nick said.

But the Kuppers aren’t finished yet. Working to end the orphan crisis, the Kuppers want others to understand that adoption really can be an option for many people. “What’s the best way we can end orphanages and institutions? Obviously it’s a huge, complex problem. But in the meantime, while these kids are waiting in their institutions, the way to get the current ones out is through adoption,” said Crystal.

But international adoption is not the only option. There is a real need for adoption and foster families right here in our own community. Everyone can help in some way.

For many of us, it just takes an understanding of the fact that our lives here on earth could drastically change at any moment. What if tomorrow you lost the ability to walk, or to hear, or to see? There are millions of children already struggling with those things, and on top of that, they have no families.

“All they need is a family to give them the chance,” Crystal said. “That’s all they’re waiting for.”