Adopting a new life together

Engaged couple from Vancouver, both born in India, drawn together by common story

By Mary Ann Albright, Columbian Staff Reporter

Published:

 
photoJudy Heath was featured in a November 1982 Columbian story about her experience adopting children as a single woman. She adopted sons Chris, left, and Colin.

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Some say opposites attract, but as Vancouver couple Chris Heath and Kalin Storm prepare for their upcoming nuptials, they reflect on how the reverse also holds true.

Both were adopted as babies from the same orphanage in Kolkata, India, and were raised in Clark County by single mothers. Both know what it’s like to be asked whether they plan to search for their birth parents (they don’t) or whether they want to meet their “real moms” (they say they already have — the women who raised them).

A shared background filled with surprising similarities anchors their relationship and leads to a greater mutual understanding.

“We’re in the same boat,” Heath said.

He grew up in Vancouver, and Storm spent her childhood in Battle Ground. They connected via MySpace after recognizing each other on the social networking site as fellow Washington State University Vancouver students.

As they got to know each other, the pair were startled to learn how much they have in common.

“I was very surprised,” said Storm, 23, who works in the human resources department for Vancouver Public Schools.

“I just said it was meant to be,” added Heath, 28, manager of the Vancouver office of Hertz Rent-a-Car.

The pair have been engaged since May 31 last year, when Heath proposed atop a waterfall in Canada. They started dating a little more than three years ago. Their first date was dinner at an Olive Garden.

Storm was reluctant at first about entering into a relationship. She’d had her heart broken in the past. But Heath was persistent.

His efforts paid off, and after a few months it became clear to both that they had something special.

“It just felt right with him. It was easy to love him,” Storm said. “I like that I can tell him anything, and he’ll always understand, and he’ll be there no matter what.”

“I’ve always said she puts up with me,” Heath joked.

The two soon realized that not only did they have much in common, but so did their mothers, Judy Heath and Linda Storm. The couple suspected their moms would hit it off, and they did.

“You know how when you just meet someone and are totally comfortable? That’s how we all are with all our families,” said Judy Heath, 68, a Vancouver resident and retired reading specialist for Vancouver Public Schools.

The two families have spent holidays and birthdays together, and Judy Heath has even bonded with Kalin’s grandmother, Linda’s mother, Jane Storm.

“Everybody calls her grandma,” said Linda Storm, a 61-year-old Battle Ground resident who works in internal auditing for Daimler Trucks North America in Portland.

The two families soon will officially meld. Heath and Storm will wed June 18 at the Fairgate Inn in Camas in front of an estimated 150 guests. Their colors will be crimson and silver, a nod to WSU.

Storm has three uncles who played important roles in her life growing up. One will officiate the wedding, one will walk her down the aisle, and one will do the traditional father-daughter dance with her.

The pair are hoping for sunny weather and looking forward to celebrating with loved ones before they head off for their Caribbean cruise honeymoon. Most of all, though, they’re eager to build their future.

“I’m most excited about knowing that I’ll be spending the rest of my life with the man I love,” Storm said.