KELOWNA – Tara O’Sullivan, 14, and Anna Sudha Dalhaug, 16, share a powerful bond. The story of how that bond grew so strong goes back to the city of Kolkata in India where the two girls lived in an orphanage.
Living in anything but ideal conditions, O’Sullivan formed a friendship with Dalhaug that defied the odds.
“I was four years old and really sick,” says O’Sullivan. “I was in this room, a dark room that had nobody around me. I only had myself to keep me company.
“I heard a door slowly open and then there was Anna. She came and she held my hand and I started crying. I said, ‘why are you here? Aren’t you scared of me?’ She said ‘no, you’re my sister, I’m here for you.'”
The best friends, who consider themselves to be like sisters after their time at the orphanage, were separated after being adopted: Anna to Norway and Tara to Canada.
With their loving families, they have grown into strong, beautiful, happy teenagers, but they both felt something was missing. Tara’s mother, Mohini Singh, set out to help fill that void in her daughter’s heart.
“Anna, who was known as Sudha in the orphanage, found Tara on Facebook. So, I called her mother and asked if she could come [to the Okanagan] for a visit,” says Singh.
The two girls reunited in Kelowna on Wednesday as Sudha flew in from Norway.
“My wish came true and I’m very thankful for that,” says O’Sullivan.
Seeing O’Sullivan and Dalhaug thrive despite their circumstances prompted the creation of the East Meets West Orphans Foundation. The local charity has helped about 170 children with serious medical issues get healthy enough to be adopted out and find their ‘forever homes’ like Tara and Anna have.