Gates Woman Continues Search for Family
A Gates woman has spent the last 20 years searching for lost family members. Olha Duerr-Clark recently located four of her five siblings and continues looking for the other.
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Olha's son, Parker, is living the childhood she didn't experience. Growing up poor in Ukraine, she didn't have the things she and her husband can provide for their child. To make things even more difficult, Olha's family separated when her father found he couldn't care for six children on his own.
"There was a woman from New Jersey, Roxolana Potter, who offered to take four of the girls, Natalia, Bohdania, Nadia and myself to the United States for four years and to educate us; then after that, send us back to our father."
But that didn't happen. After just six months in the States, two of the sisters, Natalia and Nadia, were sent back to Ukraine and placed in an orphanage. Olha was adopted by a family in the Lake George area while Bohdania remained in New Jersey.
Over the years, Olha began looking for her family with no luck. Little did she know her siblings in Ukraine were looking for her too.
Then, with the help of the Russian TV show "Waiting for Me" that finds lost family members, they were reunited. Olha and her husband Kevin traveled to Ukraine in April for a family reunion. That proved to be difficult because Olha no longer speaks the language.
“Luckily one of my sisters, Natalia, she spoke a little bit of English, so we were able to do a lot of charades and show pictures, it was great. It was funny because at times we were just looking at each other like 'what are you saying?' But it was so nice just to see her smile or give each other hugs because it's been 20 years and we still had that bond even though it's been so long."
The wait continues to be reunited with the youngest sister Bohdania. Olha says she found her on MySpace about six years ago, but the two have never talked in person. She believes Bohdonia is either in New Jersey or the U.S. Virgin Islands.
"I think about her every day. i just wonder what she's doing, does she have a boyfriend, is she married. I don't have those answers. I want to find out, I want to make sure she's okay. Even if she says 'I was too young, this is too much for me,’ I would just rather her say 'thank you for looking but no thank you, I’m not interested.' If she is interested, we're here for her."
Olha has connected with the internet site Indiegogo.com in an effort to raise money so her Ukrainian family can visit her Gates home. She’s hopeful Bohdania will be located so she can also be part of that gathering.