GRAND RAPIDS, MI (February 14, 2013) – Elizabeth Stone, the adopted U.S. Paralympian medalist whose family attends First Covenant Church, hopes to soon be re-united with her birth mother in the mountains of the former Soviet Union nation of Georgia.
A story on Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) website says many people in the remote village of Dikhashkho had thought Stone must have died, but her mother was not one of them.
“I never believed it,” 73-year-old Liana Khurtsidze told the media agency of her daughter, who she named, Ketevan Amberkievna Xurcidze. “If that were true, my heart would have told me.”
Elizabeth was born without the lower portion of her right leg. She has gone on to win bronze and silver medals while competing in three Paralympics. She also has captured several world championships.
Linda Stone, a physical therapist in Grand Rapids, had been seeking to adopt a child and saw a picture of Elizabeth in a Romanian orphanage. She brought her new daughter home when the girl was four years old.
Elizabeth’s birth mother was found by a reporter from RFE/RL after the news agency had written a profile about the 22-year-old during the 2012 Paralympics. The story garnered a lot of attention in Georgia.
A man claiming to be a relative contacted the RFE/RL Tblisi bureau. They found Khurtsidze and her twin daughters. Khurtsidze said she believed Ketevan had a better chance of getting appropriate medical attention if her daughter were adopted.
Click here to read the RFE/RL story.