Avery Bonoffski’s world has been shaken multiple times during the past year and a half, very literally on Jan. 12, 2010, when an earthquake rocked the 2-year-old’s home of Haiti. Less than two weeks later, her life changed completely when she was adopted into the Bonoffski family. Mike Bonoffski, senior vice president, marketing and communications for the Cabarrus County CVB, and his wife Tracy were scheduled to travel to Haiti to finalize her adoption Jan. 20, not expecting to bring her home for another two years. Then the earthquake changed that. Instead a military plane transported Avery to Florida, where the Bonoffskis picked her up and took her home to North Carolina on Jan. 25.
A little more than a year later, 3-year-old Avery and the Bonoffskis, including older brothers Caden and Preston, are continuing to adjust to life as a family of five. “We did have some difficulty with our adjustment to her, which I think caught us both a little by surprise,” Tracy said. “We expected more of a problem with her adjusting to us, but we have not seen any attachment issues at all. We have found she requires a lot more patience than our other two children…It has gotten better since last year and I think it will continue to over time.”
Avery arrived not speaking one word—even in Creole—and now can say about 100-200 English words and speaks in short sentences. She is so full of energy the Bonoffskis often have to remind her to calm down.
Tracy’s advice for adoptive parents is to remind them that the adjustment process is long and tiring. “We are still adjusting in many ways, as life as a family of four got turned upside down for us when the earthquake hit. …Surrounding yourself with family and friends who are willing to be patient with your child, and not judge your child (or yourselves) has been very helpful for us. And seeking help or advice from those who are knowledgeable in behavior issues in adopted children can be very helpful as well.”