Back in 1997, Ron and Natalie Trecroce were living in Canada when they came to a major decision that would send them halfway around the world. Yes, they decided that it was time to complete their family.
And they wanted to do this through adoption. The Trecroces’ search, then, eventually led them to the city of Arad in the west of Romania. Furthermore, soon they found a little girl whom they instantly felt a connection with.
Her name was Rodica Lavinia Farcas, and she was just one year old. She was living in an orphanage after being left there by her biological mother, who had become unable to care for her. Sadly, the baby girl wasn’t in the best shape.
In fact, Rodica was malnourished, which had in turn led to further health problems. They discovered, for instance, that she had developed rickets and that her bones had weakened because of the prolonged lack of vitamin D and other important nutrients.
Still, the Canadian couple adopted Rodica and prepared to take her back home. Accurate birth records in Romania at that time were not easy to get hold of, however, so the truth about Rodica’s early life was initially difficult for the family to decipher.
But the Trecroces dug deeper. And before long, the Canadian couple made a huge discovery that changed everything: Rodica was not alone in the world. In fact, she had an older sister. But where was she?
The Trecroces decided to track down the older sister. Sadly, the sisters had been placed in separate orphanages when they were given up. So the Trecroces knew that it wasn’t going to be a straightforward task to find the missing sibling.
The couple did, however, eventually manage to work out where the older girl was being looked after. They also learnt that her name was Gianina Farcas and she had been born in 1995. This made her just one year older than Rodica.
It turned out that both sisters had been in Arad the whole time. But it was only in 1997 that the Romanian girls would finally reunite, and it was all thanks to the diligent work of the Trecroces. And wonderfully, the couple officially adopted both sisters and took them back to Canada with them.
Further research into Rodica and Gianina’s early lives, though, revealed that they were not their parents’ only offspring. In fact, they were two of eight siblings. Their new parents tried their hardest to track down one of their brothers but were unable to find him.
Rodica and Gianina were renamed Danielle and Sophie, respectively, and the Trecroces decided to make their original names middle names instead. That way, they were able to retain some of the identity that their Romanian parents had given them.
Danielle and Sophie’s poor start in life was not uncommon in Romania in the 1990s. The country’s leader at the time, Nicolae Ceau?escu, was regarded as a harsh dictator. And he put in place some very stringent birth-control rules.
For instance, he forbade all forms of contraception, and this naturally led to a huge surge in the country’s birth rate. Consequently, many families hit financial trouble and simply didn’t have the means to support multiple children.
That is the reason why so many Romanian babies ended up in orphanages during those years. Some parents who were struggling to care for their children ended up neglecting them; others simply gave them up so that they could have a chance of a better life.
But back to the Trecroces. Six years after the girls were adopted in Romania, the Trecroces received an offer from a documentary maker hoping to share their story. The family obliged, and the sisters’ journey from Arad to Ontario was then made into a film.
Recently, older sister Sophie edited some of the footage into a shorter YouTube clip. It was well received, especially by people who were also adopted in Romania when they were young.
Little sister Danielle commented on her sister’s video, revealing her plans to return to Romania in 2018. She said that she was keen to learn more about the rest of her siblings and parents too. “I would love to go back to explore the country!” she wrote.
However, she also commented on the frustrations of carrying out such research in Romania. “Poor documentation makes it very difficult to track them down,” she explained. Some YouTube users offered her some advice for how to find them, giving her the name of a Facebook group dedicated to finding abandoned Romanian children.
Sophie is now 22 years old and studying photography. Danielle, aged 21, is also a student, and she lives close to her sister in Ontario. It’s amazing to think that had their new Canadian parents not traveled to Romania, the sisters might never have had the chance to grow up together.
Even today, children are abandoned all over the world and siblings are often separated as a result. Hopefully, improvements in the way adoptions are documented – combined, of course, with the power of social media – will make it easier to reunite siblings such as Sophie and Danielle in the future.