A Woman Who Was 'Rehomed' By Her Adoptive Family After 5 Years Says It Was The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Her

When she was adopted from Latvia, she didn't realize how hard it would be.

A daughter holds her parents' hands. Valery Zotov / Shutterstock

Ana Shurmer was given up by her first adoptive parents, but she’s forever grateful for it. At seven years old, her life took a significant turn when she was adopted from an orphanage in Latvia. 

In the face of the public’s quick judgment of parents like YouTubers Myka and James Stauffer, who made headlines in 2020 by giving up their adopted autistic son, Huxley, Ana believes that people should refrain from hasty conclusions. Ana empathized with them and shared her story with the New York Post.


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She was ‘rehomed’ by her adoptive family after five years and said it was the best thing that ever happened to her.

Ana’s early life in Latvia was marked by living with a drug-addicted mother and a neglected younger brother. As a child, her behavior was extreme. At the age of 3, she was placed in an understaffed orphanage. Although basic needs such as food, education, and shelter were provided, survival meant fending for oneself.


When she was 7, she was adopted by a wealthy couple from Maryland. They already had other adopted children, as well as their own biological kids. In addition to Ana, they adopted three other children from her orphanage in Latvia.

Ana describes her former adoptive parents as "a very nice, wealthy couple" and says things initially, things went well for about a year and she was grateful to have a "piece of home" through her siblings from the orphanage. However, it wasn't enough.

"I wasn’t getting along with my mom at all. It was beyond ‘we didn’t click.’ If I could do any kind of damage to her, I would," Ana told The New York Post. "We did everything: Family therapy, every type of doctor, brain scans, just to see what was going on medically. They put me on a bunch of antidepressants. There was a point where I was on anti-seizure medication just to wear me out."

Photo: YAKOBCHUK VIACHESLAV / Shutterstock


"When I acted out, I would scream for hours in a locked room and hurt myself. And I didn’t know what was going on. I was about 8, and there was a major language barrier."

Eventually, she was expelled from every school in the Maryland area, leading to her enrollment in a boarding school in Virginia. However, her behavioral issues didn’t stop, despite multiple different treatments.

When she was around 10, her father still believed that she could be helped, but her mother had begun to feel otherwise. One day, they sat her down and explained that they had friends who were interested in getting to know her and potentially adopting her. Confused but willing to go along, she agreed to meet these strangers, unaware that she was being evaluated as a potential fit for their family. 

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She was sent to her best friend’s house, only to be told that she would be moving to Ohio and not returning home.

"I know it sounds horrible that my best friend’s mom had to do it. But if it had come from my mom, it would’ve escalated into something very damaging, so I can see why she wanted to protect herself from my reaction."

The new family was much smaller, consisting of just one daughter, and they were devout Christians. The transition was awkward, especially since her new parents introduced themselves as her “forever home.” 

This smaller family environment allowed her to grow more comfortable over time, and she developed a close bond with her sister. Unlike her previous adoptive parents, they didn’t force her to call them “Mom” and “Dad.” 

Photo: Liderina / Shutterstock


After about a year in Ohio, Ana began referring to them as Mom and Dad voluntarily. The change in environment had a positive impact on her behavior problems, as she received more personalized attention and was homeschooled—a crucial factor in her improvement. 

On top of that, her new parents helped her learn social skills and challenged her aggressive tendencies. She discovered that resorting to violence to protect her possessions, a behavior learned in the orphanage, was inappropriate. 

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After a year in Ohio, her first adoptive family was reintroduced into her life. 

They offered her the choice of whether to reconnect, and she decided to engage with them by exchanging letters and sending birthday gifts. 


Contrary to her first family, who relied on their wealth to address her needs, her second set of parents focused on teaching her the importance of structure, values, work ethic, honesty and loyalty. These life lessons became integral to her identity and no doubt helped her amicably reconnect with her old family. 

Today, she feels like she has two families. She also unexpectedly found her biological brother through social media, who now has a daughter. She described meeting him as bittersweet, as he had endured a far more difficult life on the streets since the age of 14, lacking any familial support.

Approximately five years ago, her parents handed her all her documents, and she cried as she read through them. The Latvian doctors had labeled her as “retarded" at the age of 6, while in the U.S., she received an autism diagnosis. Multiple factors contributed to her situation, including being born with fetal alcohol syndrome due to her mother heavily partying while pregnant.


Her story proves that circumstances can damage a person but not always permanently. She went from getting kicked out of every school to holding down a job as a flight attendant!

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Ethan Cotler is a writer living in Boston. His writing covers entertainment, news and human interest stories.