When Tracy Antonelli was diagnosed with thalassemia as a child, she felt different. It was that “difference” that helped build her family.
Thalassemia is a rare blood disorder that affects up to 2,000 people in the United States and up to 500,000 worldwide. Improperly treated it can lead to critical anemia and even death.
In 2011, Tracy and her husband, Paul, decided to adopt. During the adoption process, she learned that many children in China with thalassemia were abandoned or often under-transfused. She wrote on Adoptive Families, “When I told my husband that children with thalassemia were being abandoned in China, he agreed that this was how we’d build our family. Having a child who shared our DNA didn’t matter to us. Giving a family to someone who needed one trumped everything else.”
They fell in love with Emmie in 2011, and discovered that she too had the incurable disorder. She told People.com, “From that moment, it became my life’s work to make her my daughter.”
Tracy and Paul decided to adopt two more girls from China -- Rosie (6) and Frannie (3). Both equally adorable and with thalassemia as well.
They all receive tri-weekly blood transfusions that the girls weren’t getting in China, and on occasion they have had “mommy-daughter transfusion days.”
“It’s a miracle I found them all from across the world. We all went from strangers to being bonded for life,” said Tracy.
Watch the video to see how a blood disorder turned into love.