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leyla and damianWould you ever adopt a child from a country you're not entirely familiar with who doesn't share much with your culture when it comes to physical appearances? Your skin complexion is different than theirs, your hair is a different texture. But you happen to fall in love, and your family instantly becomes connected to her. According to Ellenore Angelidis, it was one of the most rewarding decisions of her life. Ellenore shares her experience.

Introduce yourself, and why you decided on transracial, international adoption.

My name is Ellenore Angelidis. I am a happily married, working mother of three, two boys through biology and a little girl through adoption.  I don’t have a simple answer for why we decided to adopt. One of my best friends was adopted as an infant and other friends and acquaintances either were also adopted or adopted children so adoption was fairly familiar to us. After having two biological sons, my husband and I discussed adoption as a way to continue to build our family.

We liked the idea of helping a child who needed a family. We gravitated toward international adoption since our heritage is multicultural–he was born and raised in Greece and I was born in the US raised by Dutch parents. However, life intervened with a serious illness, loss of job, a cross country move and a medical scare. During those times, our focus was survival and our sons. But the thoughts of adoption remained a consistent. At one point I asked myself, “If we don’t pursue adoption and try to get our little girl, will I regret this later?"

As I reflected, I fast-forwarded to my later life. I imagined my boys grown with their own families. I imagined thinking back to this time and this decision. I felt the searing sting of regret when I contemplated the hole in my heart where our third child was supposed to be. I had my answer.

What was it about Leyla that made you fall in love with her? What do you love about your daughter's physical and inner beauty?

We adored our daughter from the first moment we laid eyes on her referral picture. It was quite a surprise to us that she bore a striking resemblance to our middle son when he was a baby – minus the obvious differences. When we met her for the first time in Addis, she was so serious with gigantic eyes taking it all in.  She is still like that, always observing the world around her. However, she is also smart, fierce, funny and protective.  With two teenage older brothers, she holds her own and won’t back down easily.  But she is also there for a hug or a word of encouragement when anyone in the family needs it.  She is a little “mama” in our house and likes taking care of others from her siblings, her dad or mom, or even her pup. Her brothers joke that she has more friends in their classes than they do. 

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