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A loving home for little Daniel


A loving home for little Daniel
9/07/2008 9:35:00 AM
Aberdare couple Trevor and Melanie Rees have arrived home from “a very emotional trip” to Ethiopia with a new addition to their family, a son named Daniel.
Trevor and Melanie were notified on February 29 this year that they were able to adopt Daniel, and after filling in the necessary paperwork, organising Daniel’s visa and planning the trip, they finally arrived in Ethiopia on June 4, and picked Daniel up the next day.
They allowed 20 days for their stay, in case there were any problems with Daniel’s paperwork, but this all ran smoothly and they were on the plane back home after 12 days.
“It’s such a different lifestyle over there,” Trevor said, adding that they were pretty much confined to their hotel as they did not feel safe on the streets.
Melanie’s mother, Val Beckmore, accompanied the couple to Ethiopia, something that they are grateful for.
“It was good to have an extra person – it was a very emotional trip,” Melanie said.
“There were a lot of things you want to remember and a lot you want to forget,” Trevor added.
Daniel was born on July 19 last year and abandoned 18 days later, but his new mum and dad’s journey to parenthood started well before that.
After they were told in January 2001 that “fertility-wise” Melanie had no hope, they explored their options, and decided to skip IVF and go straight to adoption.
They contacted the Department of Community Services (DOCS) and were sent and “expression of interest pack”, and attended a two-day seminar for couples wishing to adopt a child.
They were then allocated a social worker, who put in a report and recommendation to DOCS, and finally a caseworker gave them the stamp of approval.
The Rees’s process was drawn out longer than others, as they originally wanted to adopt a child from Colombia, but the rules for adopting Colombian children under the age of seven changed and they had to start again, as Australians can only choose to adopt from one country.
It was about five years from when they first decided to adopt a child that their file was finally placed on the list in Ethiopia, and another two years before they were told that they had been chosen to adopt Daniel.
Daniel was born in a birthing centre in Ethiopia’s Bahir Dar region, and was placed in the nearby Grace Care Centre, run by an American woman and two Australians, after he was abandoned.
He was then transferred to Koala House in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, a centre for Ethiopian children who will be adopted by Australian families.
Koala House is run by Ato Lakew Gebeyehu, who was appointed by the Australian States and Territories to represent them and Australian families as part of the inter-country adoption program.
Melanie said Lakew is “a very religious man, a firm believer in what is meant to be”, and Trevor added that he allocates the child to the family who he believes it will best be suited, not just who is next in line.
And with little Daniel adapting very well to his new home, it appears Lakew has made the right choice.

2008 Jul 9