A 10-year-old Vancouver Island girl stars in an international campaign to try to connect children adopted from China with their birth parents.
Isabelle Smit was adopted from Chongqing, China. It’s believed she was found near a bridge at just three days old.
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She was taken to an orphanage before she was adopted by a couple from Greater Victoria, 10 months later.
“I want to know why [my birth parents] gave me up and I want to know where they went and if they were ever going to want to find me,” Smit said.
Her desire to locate her biological parents and family was sparked at age four, when she first learned about her adoption.
But it wasn’t until recently that she was able to come close to finding them.
A Halifax mother started the idea, and put out an appeal to other adoptive parents in Canada.
The effort has since grown to include families from all over the world looking to connect their children with their birth parents.
“There were a number of families that came forward but they were scared to follow through with the DNA testing,” Isabelle’s adoptive mother Kristen Lundgren said.
“There’s that stigma associated with having relinquished your child and it is an illegal thing to do in China.”
Despite the challenges, the video has led to the DNA testing of at least 15 families in Chongqing, Lundgren said.
The video has been shared widely on social media and has caught the attention of Chinese media.
It’s even morphed into a fundraiser to help pay for at least 100 DNA test kits for birth parents.
“How do you turn somebody away? They’re looking for their child or sister or brother so being in a situation where any parent that comes forward can be tested, that is our big hope,” Lundgren said.
As for Smit, she’s still waiting for the match that would change her life forever.
“I’d be so happy and super nervous… maybe [my birth parents and I] could have a great relationship,” Smit said.
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