Most people don’t expect their life to change dramatically when they check Facebook, but for one Angels Camp family, life will never be the same after one chance click.

Brook Moes was checking his page on the popular social media network when a post from a friend caught his attention. Staring back at him from the screen were three young children, two sisters and a brother, awaiting adoption in Poland. Given up by a mother who was a prostitute and a father who was in and out of prison, time was of the essence for these three children, as the Polish government would soon be removing them from their foster home and sending them to separate orphanages, where the likelihood of seeing each other again was slim.

“There’s something special about these kids. When I looked at them, I just had an instant, mental, emotional connection to them that said, ‘These are Moes kids,’” Brook said. “Looking at them, it just popped into my head – how would I feel if, God forbid, something happened to us and the kids were about to be separated?”

After discussion with his wife, Tanya, who shared his conviction that Faith, Jack and Cleo (not their real names, as Polish law prohibits the publishing of their real names or the distribution of their photos) belonged with the Moes family, Brook made their case to their children. This wouldn’t just be making a small family larger; the Moes family already numbers at seven children ranging in age from 5 months to 16 years old.

Three new sibilings would mean big changes for everyone concerned, but the Moes children were undaunted. Gabriel, age 9, went to his room to retrieve the money he had been saving to buy his first hunting knife, contributing his life savings of $26 to the adoption fund.

“I didn’t want them to be separated, so I thought that I should help,” said Gabriel, 9.

The other Moes children quickly followed suit, with more than $1,400 contributed between them toward bringing their future brother and sisters home. Since then, the adoption has been a family affair, with the children playing their violins in Murphys for donations to the cause, and Brook’s siblings organizing a garage sale to benefit the initial adoption costs.

While supporting and caring for three more children does not present an additional financial burden, the adoption process could easily total more than $35,000, and every moment counts.

“If I have to take another job to pay for this, I will, because you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do when you need to go get your kids,” said Brook, who is a martial arts instructor and an adjunct professor of music at University of the Pacific in Stockton.

While monetary donations will help offset the initial costs of bringing Faith, Jack and Cleo to America from Poland, the Moes family agrees that the support they most appreciate from the community is spiritual and emotional, not financial.

“A huge way people can help is through prayer for all of us. The kids, given their background, there’s a very strong possibility that they will have some issues. They’ve seen or experienced more than any of us ever have. Prayer would be a huge help,” Brook said.

The family has completed their home study, and the Polish government has declared them to be a good fit for the children. Now the family is playing the waiting game as they wait for their paperwork to clear customs, after which Brook and Tanya will travel to Poland to meet the children and complete the formal adoption process.

In the meantime, Faith, Jack and Cleo are being allowed to remain in their foster home in Poland, and the Moes parents and kids are looking ahead to the experiences they’ll share as one big family, from introducing the newest family members to horseback riding and family movie nights, to taking them to their first Frog Jump in May. They hope that Faith, Jack and Cleo will be home in Calaveras County in time for Murphys Open House this December.

“We were thinking the other day how cool it would be to get them back here by Murphys Christmas Open House. What a great introduction to America that would be!” said Brook.

“The county is such a big part of our lives,” said Ethan Moes, 14. “We moved back east for a while, and I missed the county. I can’t wait to show them the fair, and some of the things that were important to me when I was their age, and that made me who I am today.”

For now, however, the family is, furiously studying their Polish, relying on the frequent updates they receive from the children’s Polish foster mother, and giving thanks for unexpected blessings like the donation of a 15-passenger van from family friends who are currently living in Africa, to get them through the difficult waiting period.

“We’re not doing this because everybody says it’s good; we’re doing this because we don’t want them to be separated,” said Katie Moes, 7. “I’ve learned that love is about what you can give to someone else.”

For more information and updates on the Moes Adoption Story, as well as ways to help bring Faith, Jack and Cleo to their new home, visit

Contact Ann Mazzaferro at