ACU pair facilitates foreign adoptions
For Immediate Release
April 16, 2001
By Brian Bethel
Andrei Duta graduated from Abilene Christian University in 1997 with dreams of somehow merging his goals of benefiting his native Romania while using his business savvy here in America.
Four years later, he met Sara Rampey, an ACU student with an even grander goal: Change the world.
In March, the pair engaged in a 12-hour brainstorming session during which they melded their hopes. From that meeting came a concept the pair said could build bridges between America and any number of nations, connecting people in ways both personal and profound.
"When we were finished, we had come up with an idea that would allow us to use both of our God-given skills while helping unite children with loving families," said Duta, who is 27. "We both feel this is what we should be doing - helping people by connecting them."
Duta and Rampey, 22, have founded Amistad Global Inc., an international adoption company with a mission to bring together children in need with parents who will provide loving care and a nurturing environment.
Using their own savings to cover startup costs, the partners say they plan to help potential parents adopt foreign-born children at cost, while streamlining the sometimes-complex process of bringing a child to America.
"We aren't a for-profit organization," Rampey said. "We want to connect children with appropriate Christian families at the lowest possible cost. I honestly believe this is possible, thanks to our business knowledge, our technological skills and our own desire to help."
The process of bringing a child to America is a long, tedious affair, Duta said. Costs can easily run into the tens of thousands of dollars to cover even basic procedures. And a mountain of paperwork from U.S. agencies and foreign powers must be completed to bring both sides of the international equation into balance.
"Even fairly small things, such as international phone calls and mailings, can add up to a very expensive level for most people," Duta said. "Most of the clients who seek an international adoption are upper-middle class or upper class, because they're the only ones who can afford to pay the fees and allocate the necessary resources."
The agency hopes to get donations from private and public investors and raise other donations through marketing campaigns to eventually help even those without vast financial means adopt a foreign child.
"I'd love to see the day when if someone from a loving, Christian home wants to adopt a child, then we can help them do it for free if we can manage it," Duta said.
One primary way the company will streamline the foreign adoption process is using Web-based technology to form a centralized location for information, resources and support while cutting down the paper clutter that can accompany an adoption.
In addition to adoption services, the pair said they plan to create an "adopt-an-orphanage" program. Ideally, the program will let businesses, organizations and interested individuals help meet the needs of orphanages the world over.
The company is working with orphanages in the United States, Romania and Mexico. Africa will eventually be added to the mix of potential adoption opportunities.
Rampey and Duta said that while they both knew they wanted to impact the world, they weren't sure exactly how to do it until they met each other.
"The flow of ideas was amazing," Duta said. "We both knew from the beginning that this was an ideal way to use our skills while helping others."
A senior marketing major at ACU, Rampey said she always wanted to enter marketing. Watching her own father, an immigrant from Panama, build his business from the ground up instilled an early love of the wheels of commerce and the work ethic necessary to succeed.
Duta wanted to follow his own entrepreneurial drives while heeding a call to Christian ministry. Since he graduated from ACU in 1997, he has earned a master's degree in religious communications and worked in the fields of electronic media and World Wide Web design.
Their endeavor is a blend of compassion and outreach, Duta said.
"We want to connect children with individuals and groups that can help them have a better life and help them fully realize both their potential and their dreams," he said. "This is the sort of work we've always wanted to do, and I know we're both very excited about the opportunity to make our own dreams a reality."
Abilene is already home to about 15 Romanian children who have been adopted by locals, many of whom used the help of Dr. Fred White and his wife, Carolyn. The couple adopted a Romanian child and has helped others streamline the process.
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