CEDAR CITY — In May 1998 a baby boy was born and given the name of George (pronounced zhorjee) by his birth parents.
Described as a breathtakingly beautiful country, Romania has a sad history. In an effort to build what he considered an “ideal work force,” Ruler Nicolae Ceausescu banned all forms of birth control. However, what became of his ban was widespread poverty with thousands of hungry and displaced children, most of them in the Gypsy population.
Born to Gypsy parents (his mother only 17 at the time), then placed in an orphanage at 6 months old, little George was sure to lead a life of poverty.
Meanwhile, all the way across the world in Utah, a young couple, Ginger and Robert Healy, longed to have children.
It was at that time that Ginger read an account written by Taylorsville Utah's Laurie Lundberg, who took her family to Romania on a humanitarian mission in 1999.
In her account, Lundberg described the situation in Romanian orphanages as “children living in a zoo.” Going on to say that “each had their own cage from which they couldn’t escape. Most of the children had been abandoned at birth, with little or no information about them left behind.”
When Ginger read Lundberg’s account she felt the need to act.
Over the next year, Ginger thought often about the children in Romania. Still with no child of her own, she thought that she could somehow help those children, and prayed often for help in knowing how to do this. So, in late 2000, Ginger contacted Lundberg, and along with a few others, she made the trip to Romania.
“I walked into the first room and there were six toddlers holding their arms out begging to be held," Ginger said. "One baby turned down his morning bottle in order to be held by me. And then, there he was, a beautiful dark haired boy with a personality as charming as could be. I picked him up and we became glued to each other physically, spiritually and emotionally.”
I walked into the first room and there were six toddlers holding their arms out begging to be held. One baby turned down his morning bottle in order to be held by me. And then, there he was, a beautiful dark haired boy with a personality as charming as could be. I picked him up and we became glued to each other physically, spiritually and emotionally.
It was 2 ½ years later that the Healy’s were able to adopt George, and with the new name of Collin George, the couple brought him home to Utah.
At nearly 16 years of age, Collin is thriving, but just as any adopted child, he has questions related to his identity.
Collin is no different than other adopted children in his search for his identity, and a recent program is giving grants to internationally adopted children so they can have the opportunity to travel with their parents back to their homeland to learn about where they came from. The program is funded on a “pay it forward” basis, where the recipient of the money, must then help raise money for another child.
According to the GIFT of Identity website, it states: “Internationally adopted children arrive from all parts of the world to 'forever homes.' These beautiful children leave their country, their culture, and their biological families. They are given a new and usually wonderful, loving home, and a family who strives to give them a joy-filled life. While the losses are great, the gifts are too.
"As time unfolds, it becomes increasingly evident that the greatest gift children receive is the gift of identity — the gift of reconnecting with their birth country, their culture, their caregivers, places of birth and founding, and sometimes their birth family.
It is not surprising that these children, despite the immense love they share with their adoptive families, feel caught in the circumstances, and long to know “Who am I?”
As a recipient of the grant, Collin and his parents will be traveling to Romania in July, and they are currently working to raise funds to collect donations for the abandoned children in Romania as well as donations for the next adopted child to travel.
"He is excited to go and that we are proud of his progress through all his struggles and we are grateful for the opportunity to answer questions about his past," Ginger said. "We love him beyond words. He and his story are nothing short of a miracle."
To help Collin in his efforts, there is a PayPal account set up with Ginger's email address, email@example.com.
To know more about the GIFT of Identity program, go to, gift-of-identity.org.
Arianne Brown is a mother of six who loves running the beautiful trails around Utah. For more articles by her, "like" her Facebook page, follow her on Twitter @arimom5, or visit her blog at thestoriesofyourlife.wordpress.com.