Couple seeks to adopt Russian child

By Christina Woo

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Russia and Tucson have very little in common, but Robinlisa Marks and David Molinari hope their dream of a having a family will transcend those borders.

Marks, 26, a vocational rehabilitation junior at UA, was diagnosed in her early twenties with polycystic ovaries, a medical condition that makes it difficult for her to conceive.

"I've always wanted children," said Marks. "When I found out about my problem, it was devastating."

Determined to have a family, Marks and Molinari, 27, a medical imaging major at Pima Medical Institute, began looking into alternative methods, eventually deciding upon adopting a Russian child.

Marks chose to adopt from Russia because she has ancestral ties to that country.

"My great-grandmother came from Russia," said Marks. "She met my great-grandfather off the boat on Ellis Island."

Originally, the couple looked into in vitro fertilization, but Marks was hesitant about spending the money on methods with no guarantees.

"We'd rather spend the money and be assured of a child," said Marks.

Molinari, whose uncle spent three years trying to adopt a child within the United States, says he doesn't want to deal with the U.S. government.

"It's really hard to try and adopt a kid in our country . there's so much politics you have to play," said Molinari.

After months of research, the couple turned to the World Association for Children And Parents (WACAP), a non-profit child welfare and adoption agency based in Seattle, Washington.

WACAP focuses mainly on overseas adoption involving children from countries such as China, Colombia and Russia.

Margie Patsula, WACAP's Russia Program Coordinator, said that most of the children in the orphanages usually have some type of developmental delays or minor medical conditions.

"It's amazing to see the kinds of conditions these (children) live in; it's a privilege to help."

David Mattucci, a retired New York City policeman, and his wife, Janet, a registered nurse agree with Patsula on the harsh realities of the conditions in the orphanages.

"There was probably one nurse to every 15 children. Most of them were malnourished; the place was filthy."

The Mattuccis began adoption procedures through WACAP in March 1994, and received their children a boy and a girl in July.

Mattucci believes that his daughter would have died had she remained in Russia.

"She was extremely malnourished . to see them then and to see them now, there's just a major difference," Mattucci said.

Marks and Molinari are hoping for a healthy baby girl, but are not expecting their child to be so.

"If you really wanted a child, you have to make some sacrifices," said Marks.

Stacie Michaels, a friend of the couple, said, "I think it's neat that somebody could take and find it in their hearts to adopt from another country. They look at children as no matter what race, color they're still children and they need to be raised by somebody."

Although Molinari is a self-employed courier, the couple is worried about finding the money to cover the adoption fees, which he expects to be over $9,000. Student loans and everyday expenses are keeping them from having the family that they have always wanted.

"It's going to be a long process. That's why we're starting now. We think it might be three or four years by the time we have enough money to do this. If we had the money, it would be one to two years," said Molinari.

First Interstate Bank has opened an account to help the couple cover adoption fees. Donations can be made to the Marks-Molinari Adoption Fund at any First Interstate branch.

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