A Family Tree, rewritten - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

By Jess Abrahamson

A Family Tree, rewritten


BROOKLYN PARK, MN (KTTC-TV) Each year, adoption enriches the lives of thousands of American families.

And in Minnesota, hundreds of parents are choosing to adopt from the African nation of Ethiopia.

They are now helping other families to learn about their child's heritage one page at a time.

Game time is always a special treat in the Bellward family. A family that's built on the love of adoption.

Paul Bellward says, "Stacy and I always talked about adopting. Even before we were married."

When Stacy and Paul adopted Samara 4 years ago from Ethiopia, the idea was fairly novel. They were just the 11th couple with Minnesota based Children's Home Society to do it. And they soon found something was missing.

Paul Bellward says, "When we came home, we found there wasn't much in the way of resources for Samara to learn about her birth culture and language."

Stacy Bellward says, "We felt so gipped because the Korean adoptees have tons of stuff and the chinese do, too and I thought, well, I think I can solve that problem and so we started writing some books."

First, came a picture dictionary to teach Amharic words. Then came this story:

Stacy (reading to children) "My name is Tsion and I live in the East African community of Ethiopia."

Stacy says she wanted Tsion's story to show that Ethiopia is not only a country of starving people, but of beautiful, proud people who work hard to survive. It has become a valuable resource as the popularity of Ethiopian adoption in Minnesota is exploding. According to its website, Children's Home Society united 306 families with Ethiopia children just last year. Stacy thinks the trend can be credited to Ethiopia's government streamlining the adoption process in 2003 and because of new adoption regulations with countries like China. Adoption in other countries like Guatemala is on hold.

Stacy Bellward says, "Families just entering the adoptive process are trying to find a place where it can be secure."

And security in knowing who she is...is what Stacy and Paul want most for Samara.

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