We have all been moved by ads asking to help children, but for Riverside residents Jen and Rich Hertogs they took it to heart and a step further.
Upon looking into various organizations, they came across the Cradle of Hope Center and the Bridge of Hope for Russian orphans through the center. It was then they began gaining information on the Bridges of Hope hosting program and, after following the necessary procedure, "hosted" Tanya into their home for two weeks beginning on New Year's Eve.
Tanya was greeted by her Hertogs "brothers" - R.J., 13; David, 11; and Billy, 7 - and by her 'grandmother," Riverside resident Elise George who knows a lot about children as the preschool teacher at St. Mary School for many years.
As might be expected, Tanya and her new family became quite attached to each other. At the end of the visit, the family decided they would like the little girl to become a permanent member of their family.
It was then the family found out their little girl had a 4-year-old brother at the orphanage named Genya, and the home wanted the pair to be adopted together. After much thought and discussion with friends, family and others who had gone through the process, the Hertogs decided their family would grow by two.
While the family knows they will be able to fully support their two new children, the cost before the adoption can exceed $60,000 and they are hoping to raise the money through various fundraisers.
The money is needed to cover, among other things, legal fees, agency fees and travel expenses. The couple will be going to Russia soon to begin the process, but it will be the first of several trips before the children come to Riverside. They also will have a chance to visit Tanya and meet Genya. Hopefully, it won't be long before we all can meet them.
If you would like to help Tanya and Genya get to Riverside, you may send a tax-deductible donation to the Cradle of Hope Center, 8630 Fenton St., Suite 310, Silver Springs, Md. 20910.
Checks should be made out to Cradle of Hope. Include on the memo line the names "Tanya and Genya (Hertogs)" so the money will be only for them. The Hertogs family is fully committed to opening not only their home but their hearts.