Ukrainian sis­ters re­u­nited in United States

Adopted by fam­i­lies in Swe­den and In­di­ana, the sib­lings spent more than two decades apart

StarMetro Calgary - - DAILY LIFE - Mered­ith Co­lias-Pete

Grow­ing up thou­sands of kilo­me­tres apart, a Michi­gan City, Ind., wo­man had an un­likely and emo­tional re­union with a sis­ter she didn’t know she had last month at Chicago’s O’Hare In­ter­na­tional Air­port.

The two sis­ters were both born in Ukraine. One — Leanna Hall, 26, now of Michi­gan City, grew up there and was adopted as a teenager in Porter County. The other, Nad­jezda Lof, 23, was adopted at 4 and grew up in Swe­den.

It took de­ter­mi­na­tion from Nad­jezda, who is known as Na­dia, and years of search­ing, dead ends, faulty pa­per­work and help from ex­tended fam­ily in Ukraine to find her sis­ter.

It was “the biggest Christ­mas gift,” Leanna said of their re­union. Nad­jezda Lof, 23, kisses her sis­ter Leanna Hall, 26. The two found one an­other af­ter be­ing placed in a Ukrainian or­phan­age and end­ing up in dif­fer­ent adop­tive homes. Lof’s cousin con­nected the two sis­ters via Face­book.

In 1992, Leanna was born in Odessa.

Her par­ents, Maria and Sergei, were heroin ad­dicts, she said. Her ma­ter­nal grand­mother tried her best to give some sta­bil­ity. She once men­tioned

she had a sis­ter, who had died ear­lier, Leanna said.

Around age 7, she was sent to a Ukrainian shel­ter, and then an or­phan­age. At 14, an Amer­i­can wo­man liv­ing in Porter County adopted her.

She came to the U.S. with a pic­ture that showed her grand­mother and birth mother, Maria, as a teenager.

In 1995, Nad­jezda was born three months pre­ma­ture. She was aban­doned at the hospi­tal. A few months later, she was sent to a dif­fer­ent Ukrainian or­phan­age.

A cou­ple from north­ern Swe­den adopted her at age 4.

In Oc­to­ber, Nad­jezda went to Ukraine to ap­pear on a TV show that spe­cial­ized in lost­fam­ily re­unions.

How­ever, most of her im­me­di­ate birth fam­ily, such as her par­ents and grand­mother, had al­ready died, it found.

It lo­cated an older cousin, Dmitry, and gave her his Face­book page. The show said she had a sis­ter that had been adopted in the United States, but had no other in­for­ma­tion.

On Nov. 5, her cousin sent a cryp­tic mes­sage to Nad­jezda: Be on­line in one hour. His later mes­sage: I’ve found your sis­ter.

Their re­union was even more amaz­ing since Ukrainian sib­lings are gen­er­ally adopted to­gether. In this case, that was ob­vi­ously mud­dled. Read more at thes­tar.com/life/re­la­tion­ships

SUZANNE TEN­NANT/TRI­BUNE NEWS SER­VICE

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.