- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 19, 2014

THROOP, Pa. (AP) - The bedroom decorated for Aidan includes flags and other decorations from his native country.

Most days, the door is shut.

A little boy named Aidan should be in that room at the top of the stairs. He should be in school by now, learning how to read. He should be playing with his younger sisters. He should be listening to his parents read him bedtime stories each night.

Instead, he is stuck in an orphanage in Kyrgyzstan, the victim of a more than five-year adoption process filled with anxiety, hopefulness and disappointment.

If he does arrive to his new home in Throop, he will be too big for the crib his parents readied for him five years ago. The baby boy clothes on the hangers in the closet are five years too small.

The door is shut because what is not inside is too much to take.

“Every time you walk by the room, it’s a reminder what it isn’t, what it could have been and what it will hopefully be,” said his mother, Gabrielle Shimkus. “It’s heartbreaking.”

But there is new hope.

After two suspensions on international adoptions, the country in central Asia is once again in the process of allowing adoptions to resume. Shimukus and her husband, Frank, hope their son will be home to celebrate his sixth birthday in June.

“There’s nothing in this world we wouldn’t do for him,” she said. “We will fight for him as long as it takes.”


When the Shimkuses married in 2008, they knew they wanted to have both biological and adopted children. Both had worked as journalists for WYOU-TV and became familiar with adoptions though the stories they reported.

They had only been married for a few months when their adoption agency sent them a photo of a frail, month-and-a-half-old boy with a severe cleft lip and palate.

He was abandoned by his mother in a hospital. His name was Azamat.

The Shimkuses had not thought about adopting a child with special needs, but something in the photo grabbed them. They asked for a medical report and received one handwritten in Russian.

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