Earlier this year, I was doing the dishes when a documentary on TV caught my eye.
Twin Sisters by Norwegian filmmaker Mona Friis Bertheussen detailed the tales of two girls — identical twins — who were adopted from China by two families, one in Sacramento, Calif., the other in a small village in Norway.
The film is beautifully made, highlighting the girls’ innate connection to one another despite growing up in vastly different environments and cultures. It touched on issues of identity for internationally adopted children — something that would strike a chord with countless immigrant children whose parents’ culture varies drastically from the mainstream that shaped their childhood.
According to Statistics Canada, almost 21,000 children were adopted from abroad by Canadians 1999 to 2009, including 8,000 from China.
A week ago, the Chinese Consulate hosted International Children’s Day celebrations at the Chinese Cultural Centre in Vancouver. The event drew about 20 B.C. families with children adopted from China.
Officials describe these families as an important bridge between cultures, a sign of the growing person-to-person interaction between Canada and the Far East. Several parents explained how they had to “stretch” outside of their usual comfort zone and learn more about another culture for the sake of their children
“Our families are the symbols for the link between China and Canada, and we hope that these children continue to serve as a link to help other Canadians learn more about China,” Eamon Duffy said at the event. He is co-chair of the group Families with Children from China.
The marriage of cultures present challenges that parents and children both readily admit to.
“I remember, when Wednesdays would come around and it was time to go to Mandarin class, I would hide, pretend to be sick,” recounted Maia Robinson, 19, who had taken Chinese language classes since age 5. “I spent a lot of time studying Mandarin, and I remember I used to always resent it.”
Maia and her sister Cleone, 17, were adopted from China when they were infants. The family lives in West Vancouver.
KINGSTON, Ontario – A father had surgery in Toronto on Tuesday to remove part of his liver for one of his three-year-old twin daughters who both need life-saving liver transplants.
Michael Wagner came out of surgery around 2 p.m.
His wife Johanne Wagner used Facebook to keep friends and family updated about the surgery.
The Wagners adopted twin girls Binh and Phuoc who suffer from Alagille syndrome, a genetic disease that affects the liver, heart, kidneys and other systems of the body.
Doctors determined Phuoc was the best medical match to receive part of her father’s liver. A donor for Binh remains to be found.
“Daddy out of surgery and well,” Johanne wrote on Facebook. “The portion of his liver has been transferred across the street.”
The girls’ condition has attacked their livers and caused abnormalities in the ducts that carry bile from the liver to the gallbladder and small intestine.
The result is a buildup of bile in the liver that prevents it from working properly to remove waste materials from the bloodstream.
A long journey from Ethiopia, a storybook ending at Pearson
Published on Wednesday December 19, 2012
CARLOS OSORIO/TORONTO STAR
Tiffany Gillespie (in black shirt) watches as her newly adopted daughter Edan (in pink) greets her new sisters Cristiana (in purple) and Aliya (in white) at Pearson airport Wednesday. Tiffany was returning with Edan after adopting her from an orphanage in Ethiopia.
The text to her partner came from the immigration line on the other side of sliding glass doors at Pearson airport’s Terminal 1.
“You’d better have Kleenex for me.”
Tiffany Gillespie was puddling up again. Inching closer and closer to one last border officer, the tears were flowing more frequently now. Soon, the 5-year-old at her side, the one with the trusting eyes, gap-toothed smile and colourful beads braided so perfectly into her hair, would officially be a landed immigrant.
Immigration lawyer aids all ages. Bola Akinnusi Janis Ramsay photo
BARRIE – From adopting a tiny baby to bringing your grandparents to Canada, Bola Akinnusi is ready to help Barrie residents.
Practising immigration and refugee law, Akinnusi set up shop in Barrie earlier this summer.
“My main focus in Barrie is immigration, as I discovered a year ago there was a need for an immigration lawyer in Barrie,” said Akinnusi.