The waiting game

Born with no arms, Romanian-born George Dennehy was abandoned at birth and given to an orphanage. Left to slowly starve, he was not expected to live.

That is, until his name was added - almost as an afterthought - to a long list of children available for adoption. The odds were against him as his picture was on the very last page, but that didn’t stop an American couple with three kids of their own adopting George and giving him a home.

Today, George is an all-American teenager who can play the guitar, drive a car, and has a girlfriend. He even has a burgeoning music career, with a single, It’s a Gift, available now on iTunes.

His adoptive parents have now adopted 9 children from America and around the world (alongside their three biological children), building a home full of love, joy and laughter. Perhaps the most inspiring of the Dennehy brood is seven-year-old Hope, born with no arms or legs, who loves to swim.

It’s an inspiring story, but closer to home, the outlook is less hopeful. Sunday Night reporter Alex Cullen meets Pete & Leila Gunning, one of a growing number of Australian couples forced to move overseas to achieve their dream of starting a family. They were driven to leave because of the draconian laws here that deliberately make adoption a long and very expensive process - CLICK HERE to keep track of the Gunnings’ progress in their quest to adopt.

In 1980 over 3,000 children were adopted in Australia - last year that number had dwindled to 384. Deborra-lee Furness, who with husband Hugh Jackman was forced to adopt in America, tells Sunday Night how laws must be changed to give more disadvantaged kids a chance at a loving home.

Deborra-lee Furness is the patron of National Adoption Awareness Week, which takes place from Sunday November 11 to Saturday November 17 this year.