Jeanne Radicone meets her sponsored child, Ana, on a recent sponsor tour to Colombia.
As Jeanne Radicone walked up a muddy street to visit the home of a Compassion-sponsored child, she could hardly stop the tears. Facing the realities of poverty is a moving moment for anyone, but for Jeanne, there was an extra layer of emotion.
As Jeanne stood in the crowded street, she found herself surrounded by little ones, grabbing, reaching -- all desperate for a touch of kindness. She tried to smile through the tears, but she had only one thought: "This could have been me."
Twenty-six years earlier and less than 40 miles away, a baby girl was born to a single, frightened mother in Bogotá® The mother, unable to support even herself, took her newborn daughter to an orphanage, where she was soon adopted by a family in the United States. John and Ann Radicone named their little girl Jeanne, and she joined a 2-year-old brother, also adopted from Colombia.
Although Jeanne says she has always appreciated the fact that she was adopted, she never understood the reasoning behind the decisions made by both her biological and adopted parents. However, when she traveled to Colombia on a Compassion sponsor tour to visit Ana Correa, her sponsored child, she saw what her life could have looked like.
"I didn't know how profound it was going to be," says Jeanne. "But when I saw those children in the streets, I realized that could have been me. My biological mother was very young when she had me, and she cared enough about me to put me up for adoption. And my mom and dad's love and support of me has given me such a wonderful life with so many opportunities."
A Humbling Experience
Jeanne also realized that her own decision to sponsor little Ana was another life-altering choice. As Jeanne spent time with this shy little girl, she was amazed at Ana's sweet spirit and happiness in the midst of such poverty.
"When I first met Ana, she was pretty overwhelmed," says Jeanne. "There were lots of people around, and she's very shy. I knew she was happy to meet me though, and gradually I got to see her beautiful smile!"
Sponsors and their children spent the day on a nearby private beach, where Jeanne says many of the children experienced a lot of firsts: boat rides, swimming, and ice cream!
"I think what amazed me the most about Ana was the fact that she had to share everything with me," says Jeanne. "She would practically shove ice cream in my mouth, even though I knew that had to be such a treat for her. It was so humbling."
Jeanne is happy to report that her parents, who accompanied her on the trip to Colombia, are now also sponsoring children. The Colombian side of her family now officially out numbers the Americans - and Jeanne couldn't be happier!
"The trip was wonderful for my parents and me," says Jeanne. "It allowed us to experience my home country with people who care deeply about the children of Colombia."
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