Couple in adoption bid for orphan Becky

A CARING couple who welcomed a young Aids orphan into their family today told of their efforts to have her move across the world to live with them permanently.

Grant Sherlock

A CARING couple who welcomed a young Aids orphan into their family today told of their efforts to have her move across the world to live with them permanently.

Xris and Karl Kroger, who live in Ipswich, are hoping to carry out an international adoption which will see 13-year-old Becky move to England to live with them at their Ravenswood home.

Becky, who featured in The Evening Star early last year when she made her first visit to Ipswich, is said to be desperate to be reunited with the couple she regards as her adoptive parents.

With the help of anti retroviral drugs (ARVs) which help her body fight the HIV she contracted from her mother before birth, she has started high school in Cape Town, South Africa, where she is cared for in a Catholic convent.

But Mr and Mrs Kroger are now looking beyond her schooling and believe her future life and care lies with them in England.

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Mrs Kroger, who works for family run Felixstowe firm George Baker Shipping, said: “There's a mutual feeling between the three of us that we want to be together.”

Late last year the Krogers began an application for an international adoption of Becky, triggering a lengthy process which requires them to satisfy both the UK and South African governments that they are suitable parents.

They are now close to securing the backing of the UK government and are ready to begin the process in South Africa.

Today Mrs Kroger, of Mansbrook Boulevard, said she hoped Becky could be in Ipswich by Christmas.

Already the couple have had to go through a year of intensive interviews and form-filling exercises through the adoption agency PACT for the Department of Children and Family Services and face fulfilling further requirements with both governments before their application can be approved.

One of the adoption requirements has seen Mrs Kroger become a stay-at-home mum, which was made possible when her bosses George and Libby Baker offered to allow her to work for the company from home.

“All in all, although the process has been unbelievably stressful, it's been very, very good for us as a couple,” she said.

“Karl said whatever is required to get Becky we will do it.

“There was a dreadful emptiness for all three of us when we became parted last year, it was almost unbelievable.

“When Becky finishes school the orphanage facilities also finish, so then she is out on her own with no parents, family and no back-up system. That's not what we wanted for her.”

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KARL and Xris Kroger's goal is to reunite a family which was previously together after Becky's birth in 1994.

With Becky's mother seriously ill in hospital with Aids, Mrs Kroger began caring for the newborn, who doctors believed had little chance of survival.

Becky's mother died when she was six months old but the inspirational youngster defied all expectations and overcame every hurdle.

However her condition became so serious that the Krogers were unable to care for her at home and Becky moved to Nazareth House, an orphanage specialising in caring for Aids orphans.

She has lived there ever since and flourished - so much so that she was well enough to travel to Ipswich for the first time in December 2006 to be reunited with the Krogers.

Mr and Mrs Kroger believe her amazing progress means she is now capable of making that journey for good and beginning a new life with them in Suffolk.

“It's exciting that we are going to be together again,” Mrs Kroger said.