After years of being unable to conceive, Canadian couple Ron and Natalie Trecroce had made the decision to adopt. After months of research, endless paperwork, and playing the waiting game, Ron and Natalie traveled to Romania to meet their little girl.
They hoped the visit would be a happy start to their new family but instead, they stumbled onto the child's mysterious history. It wasn't long before they realized there were some truly horrifying things from the little girl's past that they would have to deal with before they could bring her home.
Ron And Natalie Were Devastated When They Found Out They Couldn't Conceive
In 1997, Ron and Natalie Trecroce knew it was time for them to expand their family. They had been living together as a married couple in Canada for a few years, and since they got married, they had been trying to conceive a child.
Like many couples around the world, Ron and Natalie realized that they wouldn't be able to have a biological child due to a whole bunch of fertility issues. They decided that wasn't going to hold them back from starting a family, though.
It Wasn't Easy Turning To Adoption
Ron and Natalie were heartbroken about the fact that Natalie couldn't get pregnant, but they knew that they were destined to become parents. They started thinking about different ways that they could create a family of their own.
Back in the late 1990s, surrogacy wasn't as popular or efficient as it is now. Ron and Natalie liked the idea of giving a child in need a place to call home. It seemed like a natural fit for them to begin the adoption process but they had no idea it would set them on a shocking path.
They Finally Set Off To Romania To Meet Rodica
So, Ron and Natalie traveled all the way from Canada to Arad, Romania. Arad is a city on the Mures River in the western part of Romania. Once they got to Arad, they met up with the employees at the adoption agency who directed them to a one-year-old orphan named Rodica Lavinia Farcas.
This little girl hadn't been on the planet for that long, but she already had a mysterious past.
It Was Love At First Sight
Ron and Natalie knew Rodica was their daughter as soon as they laid eyes on her. She had this big, bright smile that could light up a whole room. Rodica had been through so much trauma in her short life, but she seemed to be a very happy child.
Ron and Natalie quickly learned that this wasn't going to be a simple adoption. Before they could take Rodica home to Canada, they got some bad news about her health.
Rodica Was Severely Malnourished
At just one year old, Rodica had developed rickets, which is a disease that's caused by a lack of vitamin D. Children with this disease have bones that are improperly calcified, which means that their bones are soft and fragile.
The good news is that rickets is curable. Rodica just needed to get some more sunlight and take some vitamin D supplements. The bad news was that she couldn't play as much as she would have liked to for a while because her bones were so fragile.
Rodica Wasn't The Only Orphan With Rickets
Unfortunately, Rodica wasn't the only orphan at the Romanian orphanage with rickets. She wasn't the only abandoned child, either. Back in the 1990s, Romania was under the control of Nicolae Ceauşescu, a dictator who banned all kinds of contraception. As you can imagine, this had catastrophic results.
Because of Ceauşescu's policy, people became pregnant with unwanted children that they didn't have the means to take care of. All of those unwanted children ended up in orphanages around the country.
The Orphans Didn't Have Enough Resources
The country was already struggling to provide its citizens with the resources they needed. People couldn't afford to care for the children they conceived, so they had no choice but to put them up for adoption. Children who were lucky ended up in orphanages. Some babies were just totally abandoned and left to fend for themselves.
Rodica was one of the lucky ones. She was given an opportunity to be adopted by a couple from another country who could afford to take care of her.
Ron And Natalie Wanted Answers
Ron and Natalie already felt like Rodica was their daughter. They knew that she had appeared into their lives for a reason. They wanted to know more about their daughter's past. They wanted to have answers for her when she got old enough to ask questions.
They thought that Rodica deserved to know everything she could about her birth mother and why she ended up in that orphanage in Romania.
Let The Digging Begin
Ron and Natalie tried everything they could think of to find out more about Rodica's backstory. They soon realized that it was nearly impossible to get the information they wanted.
Noone at the orphanage would provide them with accurate, up to date paperwork. They weren't even sure that the paperwork existed. They decided to take matters into their own hands. They knew they were going to have to do some serious digging.
Who Is The Girl In This Photo?
Ron and Natalie were trying to find information in the pre-internet era, which is no easy task. They couldn't just type Rodica's name into google or look up her birth mother on Facebook.
Somehow, Natalie and Ron were able to find records of Rodica's family tree. They were able to make connections in Romania and eventually, their hard work paid off. What they saw on that family tree completely shocked them. Rodica's birth mother had actually given more than one child up for adoption.
Rodica Had An Older Sister
Ron and Natalie saw that Rodica's birth mother had actually given birth to a child before Rodica. That child was also given up for adoption. She had been sent to a different orphanage in a different city, so these two siblings never even knew each other.
Ron and Natalie knew that they had to find Rodica's sister. They knew how much it would mean to both girls to have a relationship with someone who shared their experience.
How Ron And Natalie Found Gianina
From the moment that Ron and Natalie learned that Rodica had a sister, they knew that they wanted to adopt her too. They searched every orphanage in Romania until they found Rodica's older sister, Gianina.
Ron and Natalie were shocked by just how similar these two girls looked. Really, they looked like they could have been twins. The Trecroces were now a family of four and they couldn't have been happier.
The Surprises Didn't Stop There
Once the whole family was back home in Canada, Ron and Natalie made another huge discovery about their daughters' biological family. Apparently, these girls had six other siblings. Ron and Natalie were already exhausted from their search for Gianina and they didn't think that they could bring another six children into their home.
Even if they wanted to adopt the other children, it would be impossible to find them without a paper trail from Romania.
Adjusting To Life In Canada
Ron and Natalie accepted that the wouldn't be able to find the other children, and they decided to devote all of their time and energy to the two beautiful young girls already in their care.
Ron and Natalie changed Gianina and Rodica's names. Gianina became Sophie and Rodica became Danielle. Their new names reflected their new lives in a new country. But Natalie didn't feel totally at peace with these name changes.
Preserving Some Of Their Past
The couple didn't want to erase all of who these girls were before they came to Canada. Their life in Romania shaped them into who they are today, and it didn't feel right to completely take away their Romanian names.
To preserve Sophia and Danielle's history, Natalie and Ron decided to turn their previous first names into their new middle names. The girls were now Sophia Gianina Trecroce and Danielle Rodica Trecroce.
A Story That Inspired Many Others
Once people started hearing about Sophie and Danielle's story, they wanted to learn more. It's not that often that you hear about sisters separated at birth who are then reunited halfway around the world.
One documentary filmmaker was so interested in the story of these two girls that he decided to turn their story into a film. He wanted to document the story so that more people would be able to learn about it and be inspired.
The Girls Watched The Film When They Got Older
When Sophie got older, she actually watched the movie that this documentary filmmaker put together. She loved watching her life story unfold on camera, so she edited the video down to a shorter length so that she could upload it to YouTube.
The original video that Sophie posted has since been taken down, but before it was removed from YouTube, it reached thousands of people. Other edited versions of the film still exist on the platform today.
Sophie Is An Adult Now
The video that Sophie uploaded to YouTube got so much attention that it actually inspired Sophie to study photography. When Sophie went to college, she chose to pursue a photography major. The documentary also prompted Sophie to learn more about her family's past.
Sophie decided that she wanted to travel to Romania to learn more about where she came from. She didn't think that she'd find her birth mother, but just being in the country was enough for her.
Danielle Also Went To College
Thanks to the love and support of Ron and Natalie, Danielle, like her sister, was able to grow up into a well-adjusted, smart, and driven young woman. She also went to college to earn a bachelor's degree. She went to a school near her sister so the two girls could live close together.
Danielle also joined Sophie on her trip to Romania so that they could learn about their heritage and family history together.
One Big Happy Family
When Ron and Natalie flew to Romania hoping to expand their family, they never imagined that they'd be coming home with two children rather than one. They knew that starting a family wasn't going to be easy, but they couldn't have foreseen how hard it would be to track down one little girl in all of Romania without the internet or valid paperwork.
All of their hard work obviously paid off, and this whole family got to have a happy ending.