Charity Network Encourages Adoption of Ukranian Orphans

Charity Network Encourages Adoption of Ukranian Orphans

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Sammy Linebaugh reporting A warm Utah welcome to dozens of Ukranian orphans from families who will host the children in their homes for three weeks. The hope is that many, if not all, of these children will be adopted.

That's the goal of a Utah family's charity network.

Nanette Garrett/ Save A Child Co-Founder: "We did stop on a little girl's picture and both felt good about it."

And as they watched these Ukranian orphans sing and dance, Vern and Nanette Garrett fell in love instantly with 8-year-old Emily.

Emily Garrett: "I was really excited because I wanted a family."

But something was hiding behind that smile.

Charity Network Encourages Adoption of Ukranian Orphans

Vern Garrett/ Save a Child Co-Founder: "When we drove away, Emily had a tear coming down her cheek. She just looked out the side of the van for about 300 miles and she wouldn't look forward. So we knew something was going on inside of her, but we couldn't speak very well to her."

Emily Garrett: "I was worried about Elizabeth. I wanted her to be adopted too."

Elizabeth is Emily's older sister. Then 13, she lived in the same orphanage, had practically raised Emily after the sisters were abandoned by an alcoholic mother.

Elizabeth: "My friends said, 'Your little sister was adopted to America.' I started crying. I thought, she is little, she will forget me."

Nanette Garrett: "It broke our heart the minute we realized what we'd done.

Charity Network Encourages Adoption of Ukranian Orphans

And yet, the idea of adopting another child was complicated and expensive, roughly 20 thousand dollars. And so, a year went by. Emily settled into life in Taylorsville, Utah. And then one day, the Garretts received a letter from Elizabeth.

Vern Garrett: "There was nothing like, 'Why didn't you wait for me? Why couldn't you have brought me? I need a home too.' Nothing. It was all, 'Thank you. Thank you so much, and I just want you to know how much I love you for taking care of my little sister.'"

Charity Network Encourages Adoption of Ukranian Orphans

And with that, the Garrett family would grow, once again. Vern and Nanette adopted Elizabeth in March of 2004. Two years after the sisters had been separated.

Elizabeth: "When I saw her I just started running fast to her."

The long awaited reunion.

Elizabeth: "I was shaking, I was so excited to see her."

Emily: "I thought I was never going to see her again."

Now the difference, in both smiles, is black and white.

You can meet Vern Garrett live tomorrow morning on Eyewitness News Today.

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