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St. Louis HELP Contributes as Family Brings Home Adopted Daughters from China

  • Synopsis: Published: 2016-12-23 - Story of Robin and John Chomko who have 15 children, 13 of whom are adopted from the U.S., Africa, China and Russia. For further information pertaining to this article contact: Jeff Dunlap at St. Louis Health Equipment Lending Program at 314 567 4700.

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Quote: "After each adoption, we always felt as though we were finished adopting -- but there are so many orphans and it seemed we always had room for one more."

Robin and John Chomko have 15 children, 13 of whom are adopted from the U.S., Africa, China and Russia – including two, young Chinese girls adopted in September, 2016.

John is 69 years old and works as a lineman for Ameren Illinois. Robin, age 50, is a former teacher who stays at home to care for their kids in Collinsville, Illinois, about 15 miles from St. Louis.

Robin and John are deeply devout Christians, members of Providence Presbyterian Church of Edwardsville, Illinois. They adopt because "We believe that Jesus calls His people to care for orphans," Robin says.

The Chomkos are not state-supported foster parents. They adopt with the ample kindness of their hearts fueled by desire to give kids a good home. They also sponsor two orphans in Ethiopia.

"All children need someone to hold their hand as they go through life," says Robin.

"Many of our kids came to us as a result of other people knowing that we care for kids from hard places. We didn't actually set out to adopt as many kids as possible. After each adoption, we always felt as though we were finished adopting -- but there are so many orphans and it seemed we always had room for one more."

From Left Amelia and Lily, adoptees from China.
About This Image: From Left Amelia and Lily, adoptees from China.
In September, after weeks of preparation, Robin and John were set to depart soon after Labor Day to adopt two little girls in China -- one, named Lily, has neurological disorders and needs a special type of child-sized stroller; the other little girl, Amelia, has Down Syndrome.

All but packed for the long trip, Robin couldn't find the type of special stroller she needed for Lily, no matter where she looked. Then she discovered the St. Louis Health Equipment Lending Program via Internet search (http://www.stlhelp.org).

On Labor Day, she called St. Louis HELP's lending warehouse at 314 567 4700 and left a voice message even though the nonprofit organization was closed for the holiday.

Executive Director Laura Cannon-Singer heard Robin's anxious message. Laura called warehouse logistics manager Kyle Wilson; he immediately called Robin and told her that St. Louis HELP had the special stroller she needed for the China trip and that she could borrow it for free for as long as necessary.

"I was thrilled that St. Louis HELP had what we needed; it was a Godsend," Robin says. She jumped into her car and drove 30 miles from Collinsville to the lending warehouse in Olivette where Kyle Wilson met her, retrieved the stroller from our inventory and loaded it into Robin's car.

"She was very happy," recalls Kyle. "And I felt glad that we could help her."

Two days later at 6 a.m. Wednesday Robin and John left for China with the stroller -- "Its color unexpectedly matched our luggage!" Robin says with a smile. And, 24 days later, they brought their new daughters Lily, age 12, and Amelia, age four, home from China to Collinsville.

"We hate to hear about children who don't have homes, yet there are tons of them around the world without homes," says Robin.

"We believe the greatest form of poverty is to not have a family, and so we keep growing our own...We are so lucky to have these amazing kids."

Robin and John have been growing their family by adopting children for 13 years. "It is expensive," Robin says, "yet my husband and I believe God led us to this ministry."

"When we began, we paid down all of our debt -- including for our home. Now, when other people pay their monthly mortgage bill, we pay our grocery bill," she says. Including their two biological sons Luke and Lane, the Chomko kids range in age from 23 to four, with Amelia the youngest. The Chomkos use a 15-passenger van to travel with their brood.

Of the 13 adopted children, two have Down Syndrome. These include Amelia (the four year old girl from China) and a seven year old boy from Ethiopia. Robin taught for several years in the Granite City School District; she home schooled all of the children for 18 years until this year when they adopted Lily and Amelia from China. In their new home since September, "Lily and Amelia are doing wonderfully," Robin says. "They are really thriving and all the kids love them." "Lily plays on an iPod and watches Chinese movies on it. She is learning English very quickly. She is an artist, too, and won medals for her artwork in China."

Lily suffers from scoliosis, a sideways curvature of the spine, and spinal muscular atrophy, a disease that robs physical strength by affecting motor nerve cells in the spinal cord, limiting ability to walk, eat or breathe.

"We feel a great deal of hope for Lily to get better," says Robin. "She may have back surgery sometime soon -- spinal fusion surgery."

Until then, the Chomkos will keep using the stroller they borrowed from St. Louis HELP on loan -- with our blessing.

"My husband and I believe our mission in life is to provide homes for children that don't have homes, and give a great deal of love to them.

"Hardship makes these children special," adds Robin. "They are all sweet and amazing, happy kids.

"My husband and I are the lucky ones. We are truly blessed. We celebrated our 30- year wedding anniversary in China on Sept 21st."

Robin Chomko has a Facebook page where you can see photos of the Chomko family at https://www.facebook.com/robin.chomko

In 2016, St. Louis HELP assisted more than 6,000 people and caregivers by providing free loans of the home health equipment they desperately need. In addition, we collected more than 11,000 home health items that people and organizations have donated for our free loan program -- including equipment we revitalized at our lending warehouse.

For a free loan of home medical equipment or to make a tax-deductible donation of equipment or a financial gift, contact the St. Louis Health Equipment Lending Program at 314 567 4700.

Related Information:

  1. Adoption of Children with Disabilities - The number of children waiting to be adopted show that from thirty to fifty percent experience a form of developmental disability - Disabled World
  2. Countries Efforts to Address Rights of People with Disabilities - UCLA WORLD Policy Analysis Center assesses countries efforts to address rights of people with disabilities - University of California Los Angeles
  3. Pre-Adoptive FASD Education - Information provides pre-adoptive fasd education to prepare adoptive families for the unexpected - Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome


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