A DECADE after she was at the centre of an adoption battle, a teenage Belarusian girl has been reunited with her Irish family.
Marharyta Marozava (16) beamed with joy as she met host parents Mary and George Sugrue at Shannon Airport. Ten years ago, the Tralee couple unsuccessfully tried to adopt Marharyta who had been coming to their home since 2000. They first met her at a Belarus orphanage while working with the Chernobyl Children's Project.
"She lived with us more or less from 2000 to 2002, but had to go back under law to the Minsk orphanage so that she could be counted for numbers in the orphanage," Mrs Sugrue explained. "However, she has been back here every year since and we go there twice a year."
Marharyta is on an open-ended trip to Kerry and hopes to celebrate her 17th birthday there on July 18.
"This is my family. I am home," she said seconds after meeting the Sugrues in the airport's arrivals hall.
A total of 102 children from Belarus - whose parents were victims of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster -- arrived here this week.