Comment | Maitland can be proud of former Sri Lankan orphan Kacee Rhodes

My God, how I didn’t break down crying is beyond me.

Those were the words we received via email this week from former Rutherford girl Kacee Rhodes whose story we have documented in this paper over the past couple of months.

For those unfamiliar with her tale, Kacee was a Sri Lankan orphan who was adopted as an infant by Maitland parents Mark and Gail Rhodes.

Now nearly 30, Kacee recently decided she wanted to see and experience her homeland and return to the orphanage where she was born.  

She started a Go Fund Me page and, before arriving, had presented the orphanage with a $6800 cheque – a not inconsiderable amount in Sri Lanka, which she has asked be used for education, nutrition and general healthcare.

When she told us of her plans we immediately asked if she would be interested in emailing us to keep us informed of her progress.

And true to her words, the first of those emails arrived this week and was truly emotional. (See Donna Sharpe’s story, page 12)

But first, let us say what a great advertisement she is for Maitland and multiculturalism in general.

The girl who was fortunate enough to be adopted and live in a first world country to loving parents returns home with a cheque in hand to help the orphanage continue its great work.

It’s a moving story.

She also posed with her Dad in front of a distinctive tree – the very same tree in which her Mum (now deceased) and Dad were pictured all those years ago with baby Kacee in their arms.

But the most striking part in all this is the raw emotion – both joy and tears - she so clearly feels for the youngsters she has met at the orphanage.

The Nutrition Centre, for example, that houses children aged 4 weeks to three years.

“It was like when you go to the movies and an emotional or sad part comes on, and you get that lump in your throat when you’re about to cry. You quickly take a sip of your Coke to try to stop yourself from crying. That was how I felt for the entire duration ...”

Kacee’s mother died unexpectedly – and prematurely – a few years back after a short illness.

She would have to be very proud of the young woman her little girl has grown into.

And Maitland can be proud too.