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For U.S. Athlete and Georgian Birth Family, a Past and Present Revealed

A Eurasianet partner post from RFE/RL

DIKHASHKHO, Georgia -- "Liana, stop shaking! Don't be so scared. She is fine in the United States. Someone has helped her!"

Liana Khurtsidze, 73, her back curved from years of plowing the small plot of land on which she now sits, hears her neighbor's words of comfort but struggles to contain her emotions.

Her voice quivers, as does her wrinkled hand, as it grips her walking stick. Thin wisps of gray hair peek out from beneath the blue kerchief around her head, framing sunken eyes and hollowed cheeks.

Holding back tears, she speaks the name "Ketevan" -- a name that has taken on prayer-like status for Liana, her family, and even her neighbors in the rural Georgian village of Dikhashkho. Ketevan is the daughter she gave up at birth, the daughter born without the lower half of her right leg, and the daughter she has just learned is not only alive and well but is excelling as a Paralympic athlete on the other side of the world.

A lack of information about her daughter's fate had led some in the family to assume she had died.

"I never believed it," Liana says. "If that were true, my heart would have told me."

To read the full story

Copyright (c) 2012. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

A Eurasianet partner post from RFE/RL

For U.S. Athlete and Georgian Birth Family, a Past and Present Revealed

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