Adoption leads to sisters reunion

January 16, 2008 9:01:48 PM PST
It was quite a homecoming for a South Jersey woman, her daughter and her new granddaughter. They returned from a mission of love from Ethiopia.

Just hours after returning, Maria Quinn kissed her new two-and-a-half-year-old adopted daughter, Kozette.

Kozette was reunited with her younger sister named Sabai.

"I have such a close relationship with my sibling. I know how wonderful it is to go through life with a sibling and I guess I just couldn't look at Sabai later in life and say, 'You have a sister, but you don't know her,'" explained Maria.

Six months ago Maria, a 34-year-old single mom, adopted Sabai from an orphanage in Ethiopia.

"The mortality rate is extreme. A high percentage of them don't reach five-years-old. Sabai had a very bad cold when I got her and I just know she wouldn't have made it, and it was just a cold. When she was here, we took her to Children's Hospital and she was better within weeks," said Maryann Lorimer.

Maria soon learned Sabai had a sister who was also up for adoption. The girls' biological mother is poor and she couldn't take care of them. So Maria began the process of adopting Kozette to get the sisters back together.

"I have been blessed with a nice home, a good job and all those things," she said.

Maria said she always knew she would adopt. Ethiopia is a country where adoption policies are open to single women.

Maria, who is from Philadlephia, now lives in Hawaii where she is a teacher.

While visiting family here on Wednesday night, she told us that motherhood has forever changed her.

"Little things that don't get done aren't such a big deal anymore. You don't sweat the small stuff. It's 'Are they happy? Are they safe? Healthy?' It's the big picture that matters," she said.

Maria and her daughters will be staying in this area for one week before heading back to Maui. That's where her sister is to help with all the baby-sitting.