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A new life in America.

Genia was a little eight-year-old girl in an orphanage in Siberia. Who can think of a more bleak existence? Imagine Genia's delight in learning that an American family had invited her to spend a month with them and, if they took a liking to each other, adopting her into their family!

The American family seemed like a perfect match for Genia. David and Terri Young had a girl Genia's age named Amanda, and the four got along wonderfully. But Mrs. Young noticed something about Genia that troubled her: the little girl's skin was covered with unexplained blisters. After a visit to a dermatologist, the Youngs learned that Genia had a rare skin disease called epidermolysis bullosa, or EB. People with the condition have skin that blisters at the slightest bit of friction. The disease is incurable and requires nonstop attention by a dedicated caregiver. Even worse, severe cases can be fatal.

As much as the Youngs cared about Genia, they were reluctant to assume such critical responsibility. An accident had taken the life of Amanda's older sister five years earlier, and they dared not risk putting their daughter through the trauma of losing another sister.

However, the Youngs were determined to help young Genia in whatever way they could. They contacted people at DebRA, a national EB support group, and were put in contact with a woman named Stacey Plummet, an EB sufferer who runs a local support group in North Carolina. It so happened that Mrs. Plummer had a young daughter, Sydney, who also suffered from the hereditary disease. Mrs. Plummer's experience with her own daughter made her especially sympathetic to Genia's situation.

The two families met, and the Plummers hit it off with Genia immediately. When Stacey Plummer and her husband Trent learned that the Youngs had decided not to adopt Genia, they became dismayed by the girl's potential fate: going back to the orphanage in Siberia. A few hours later, they told the Youngs that they wanted to adopt Genia. Trent told ABC News reporters: "I can only imagine if it were Sydney. I couldn't imagine her being alone with EB."

Genia did go back to the orphanage until the details of the adoption could be worked out. One formidable hurdle was the $30,000 in expenses required to complete the adoption. The amount was out of the Plummets' reach. Still eager to help the afflicted girl, the Youngs contacted their friends to ask for help, and the friends responded generously with donations to help the Plummets adopt young Genia.

Back at the orphanage, Genia received a wonderful present on Christmas Eve, 2003. She learned that the Plummers would soon be coming to take her to America! By springtime, her dream came true.

In a news interview several months later, Stacey Plummet had this to say: "[Genia's] made the perfect extension of our family. I can't think of a better sister for Sydney."

And we can't think of better parents than Trent and Stacey Plummet!
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Title Annotation:The Goodness Of America; Genia: the adopted child
Author:Mass, Warren
Publication:The New American
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 24, 2005
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