Angela's dad is an adoptee, and at his request, in 1992 I started searching for his birth mother. Not only did I find her on Thanksgiving day 1993, but I also found his biological father's family as well. This reunited him with his birth mom, three sisters and three brothers! (his biological father had passed away a couple years before.)
Shortly after finding his birth family, I started searching for his adopted sister's birth family. She didn't want to meet them, but was in search of medical information. I never was able to locate her birth family, but during the 3 years I searched, I was able to reunite OVER 200 adoptees and birth mothers with their biological families!!! These were "mutual consent" reunions, where both parties wanted contact. It was the most rewarding thing I've ever done in my life so far!
Then there is the sibling group of four that my sister's family adopted when Angela was little. That made a family of 9 kids for them.
And now I'm taking it one step further. Over the past couple of years, as I've watched adoptive families bring home their children with DS from countries such as Ukraine, and Russia, I've had this desire to GO THERE and SEE for myself. I don't know why, I just have to go. We've started the process to host a Ukrainian orphan, and hopefully next year I'll be able to travel there with a humanitarian group that delivers aid to the orphanages of Eastern Europe.
But there is MORE! My friend Shelley adopted two boys over the last couple of years. Xander has Down syndrome and came from Ukraine, and Grifyn was the first child with DS to be adopted out of Serbia! Their family has decided it's not yet complete and is now adopting two boys with DS from Bulgaria. They will be the first children with DS allowed to be adopted out of Bulgaria!!!!
Most countries require two trips for the parents to the country of adoption. But Bulgaria only requires one parent. While Shelly's husband stays home to care for their 5 other children, Shelley will be making one trip to meet and get to know her boys, then another to bring them home. But for one parent to bring home two children alone, (who've never left the orphanage before, never ridden in cars, never eaten in restaurants, much less flown in a plane!) is a daunting task. Can you imagine one parent making that trip? I can't! And so...I'm GOING ALONG!
Right now we have no idea when we'd travel. Shelley is hoping her first trip will be sometime in September or October, but that is an educated guess, and we don't know the timeline for the second trip. My job, between now and then, is to start raising the money I need to travel. I've added a "chip in" button to my sidebar, and hope to be doing a couple give-aways very soon to help raise the funds I need.
I have to admit I have an ulterior motive. I plan to bring along lots of pictures and videos of Angela LIVING LIFE, so people there can see that people with DS CAN be something. They have VALUE. They should not be spending their days tied to their cribs, just waiting for the next infection, malnutrition or dehydration to kill them. That's what's happening all across Easter Europe, and as I type this babies just like Angela are dying. Maybe that's why I feel so strongly about going?