Adopted Colbert teens learn shocking news

Two Colbert siblings adopted from Ethiopia 13 years ago grew up believing their biological mother had died. Just recently, their adoptive parents got a surprising message on Facebook.

Kella Jelinek was only 2, her brother Adesalem was 4 when their mother, who was battling cancer and HIV, game them up for a chance at a better life.

Just recently, 13 years later, their adoptive parents got a message on Facebook from a non-profit which connects parents in Ethiopia with the children they let go.

“It was just shocking, it almost didn’t feel real,” Adesalem said. His parents waited a month before telling him and his sister — they wanted to make sure the information was legitimate.

“At first you think it’s possibly a scam,” said Brandon Jelinek, Kella and Adesalem’s adoptive father.

The Facebook message came with photos and videos of their mother who lives in a run down house in the town of Sodo. They also received a video, with their mother asking them to come meet her before it’s too late. She survived cancer, but the HIV is progressing.

It’s not going to be easy for the two siblings to reconnect. To start, Kella and Adesalem don’t even speak the same language as their biological mother, and she doesn’t have an address. They only have directions of how to find her.

“I’m probably going to be pretty nervous. I mean, I don’t know anything about her,” Adesalem said.

“I just want what’s best for my kids, and I think being able to see their mother is what’s best,” their father said.

The trip to Ethiopia will cost several thousand dollars, the family has set up GoFundMe account to help cover the expenses. Kella, Adesalem, and both their parents plan to go whenever they have the money to do it.

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