JANESVILLE -- It is a story that goes back 17 years and took one of FOX6's reporters and a Wisconsin family to Romania. In 1995 and 1997, FOX6 Reporter Myra Sanchick traveled to Romania to bring back orphans being adopted into Wisconsin homes. Now, nearly two decades later, Sanchick checks in with a family and their two adopted daughters.
For two orphans, Elena and Roxy, the reality of what could have been still hits close to home. FOX6 video is a link to their past. Darla and Al Luby of Janesville were a little nervous and very excited as they traveled to Romania to adopt Elena. Several months later, they headed back to adopt Roxy. Myra Sanchick went along.
The Lubys also went back to Romania a third time, to adopt another orphan, Christian. "I'd do it again in a minute. It's been easy. I think because we didn't have any grand expectations. Some people go into adoption thinking 'I'm going to have the perfect child,' and there's no such thing as the perfect child. You have to take the problems and deal with them. We didn't expect perfection," Al Luby said.
The Lubys have built a photo history of the family's life together through the years. Two sisters came from separate orphanages nearly two decades ago, and are as close as sisters can be. The rocking infants in crowded beds with hundreds of children in need of affection are stories Elena and Roxy say seem unreal in the busy lives they lead, living close to their parents in Janesville.
"I appreciate everything they've done for me and I'd say they made me who I am today, and I'm very grateful for adopting us because without them I wouldn't be here," Elena said.
"We have a really nice family. We've been incredibly lucky. Our kids are as normal as teenagers can be. They do good things. They've screwed up sometimes, but you love them unconditionally. That's the trick - the unconditional love and the support they need," the Lubys said.
The Lubys say their only regret is all the children left behind. "You wonder what happened to them. You wonder where they are today. What their lives are like. What their situation is," the Lubys said.
Since the Lubys trips to Romania, the doors have closed for Romanian adoptions in the U.S. Romanian law currently bans the adoption of its orphans to anyone living outside of the country, except for the child's relatives.
The U.S. State Department says it is looking forward to expanding its adoption relationship with Romania in the future.