A family bond is one of the most powerful connections in the world. Sometimes these important people aren’t even related to you by blood: if they’re a part of your family, you just know.
When Nanette and Vern Garrett wanted to add a child to their family, they started to think about adoption. Nanette had a premonition that led to the couple flying to the National Adoption Center in Ukraine, where they spent hours looking through photos of orphaned children.
Suddenly, one photo of a girl with a bow in her hair stopped them both in their tracks. That photo was just the beginning of an amazing adventure the whole family will never forget!
Nanette and Vern Garrett were already the proud parents of six of their own children when they made a serious decision. They had the resources and they had the desire: they were going to adopt a child from Ukraine and give that child a second chance.
Nanette and Vern looked at countless photographs sent to them by different agencies, but there was one image that stayed with them. While the other children smiled in their photographs, the little girl in this black-and-white image kept a somber look on her face.
The little girl in the photograph was named Emily, and when Nannette and Vern finally flew to the orphanage where she was living in Ukraine, it was love at first sight. They were happy to make Emily a part of their family, but they didn’t know that she was leaving someone very special behind…
Emily had a sister named Elizabeth who was five years older. Until they were placed in the orphanage, Elizabeth was part big sister and part mother, doing whatever she had to do in order to make sure that her little sibling survived.
Elizabeth passed a letter on to the Garretts thanking them for adopting her sister, and it struck a chord with both Nanette and Vern. They boarded the first flight they could in order to get back to Ukraine and meet Elizabeth.
Elizabeth never expected that the Garretts would read her letter and be so moved. More surprising: they had not flown all the way across the world just to praise her for taking care of her little sister. They actually wanted to invite Elizabeth to become part of their family, too!
Vern still gets choked up when he discusses the bond between Elizabeth and Emily. When he and his wife first met their newest daughter, they could not believe how they instantly clicked with the 15-year-old. It was the same experience they had with Emily.
When Emily left the orphanage she had been quiet and tearful, but when Elizabeth readied to depart there were smiles all around. This time, a family wasn’t being pulled apart; it was being brought together!
Elizabeth couldn’t believe her luck. The entire trip from Ukraine to the United States felt like an absolute dream. In the end, there was only one possible thing that could convince her that everything was real, and that was seeing her little sister again.
Just watch the touching moment when Elizabeth and her little sister, Emily, were reunited once again in America in the video below. Definitely have your tissues nearby, because this one is a serious tearjerker!
What an amazing story! It’s truly incredible that Nanette and Vern were able to bring those two sisters back together after so many years apart. Emily and Elizabeth are so lucky to have their tiny family unit embraced into such a loving new family of their own.
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