Volunteer Jo hopes to bring 'son' home

A KIND-HEARTED woman from Clevedon who went to Eastern Europe four years ago to do voluntary work hopes to adopt one of the orphans she has been looking after

A KIND-HEARTED woman from Clevedon who went to Eastern Europe four years ago to do voluntary work hopes to adopt one of the orphans she has been looking after.Jo Stebbing, of Cambridge Road, went to Romania after completing her university studies to help out at an orphanage.She originally intended to go for a limited time but has now been in country for four years.The 26-year-old saw Alex, the four-year-old boy she has been helping to care for, while working at an orphanage in Brasov.She said: "I did not go out there with the intention of adopting Alex but he took a hold on my heart which left such a strong impression."After about eight months I was allowed to take Alex out of the orphanage. From then on I have been committed to see it through."We are very much like mother and son. Nowadays he is with me for six days a week."Alex is a Romany economic orphan. There are many like him who are left at hospitals by their parents because they cannot afford to look after them.In the Eighties a number of state orphanages were set up. The conditions were often dire and many of the children did not receive the help they needed, particularly those with special needs who were often left to fend for themselves.She hopes to bring Alex, who is bilingual having been taught English by Jo, to live permanently in the UK.Asked if she thought she was missing out on enjoying her 'twenties' back home, Jo said: "I do miss my family and friends but there is a good expatriate community out here and friends who came out here originally visit from time to time."Jo is supported by members of Christ Church in St John's Road, local knitting groups, Clevedon Ladies Choir and her Mum and Dad, Chris and Hugh.Chris, aged 58, is staying with Jo at present helping to distribute aid packages sent across from the UK and the family home is often used as a warehouse for goods such as donated bicycles or buggies.


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