Australian Story this week revisits two Australians it featured ten years ago after they who adopted a child from Ethiopia.
Last month, the Australian government ended its sometimes controversial intercountry adoption program with Ethiopia, dashing the hopes for over 100 childless couples.
More than 600 children – mostly orphans – from that impoverished nation have found homes and a new life with couples in Australia.
Eleven years ago, with only an inkling of what lay ahead, Ian and Sandy Johnson set off for Ethiopia to adopt a 19-month-old orphan, Sophie. Not long after, the surprise discovery of Sophie’s five-year-old brother, Frazer, came to double their brood and complete their family.
In 2002, Australian Story featured the Johnson’s anxious and sometimes painful adventures into parenthood – of getting acquainted with a screaming baby then a terrified preschooler, of helping their children adjust to a new and strange life, and of the startling realities of a lifelong responsibility they had so eagerly signed up for.
Ten years later we see what’s happened to the Johnson’s – would their children forever carry the loss of their birth family and separation from their culture or would they come to thrive with the promise of more opportunities in their adopted home?
Looking back, 12-year-old Sophie (now Tigi) and 15-year-old Frazer Johnson tell it like it is. They discuss whether they see themselves as Ethiopians or Australians, tell of their hopes and ambitions, and of the family they left behind.
8pm Monday on ABC1