Former campus of hope resident returns home to visit


After seven years of being raised up in New York and in New Zealand where she is now living with her American parents, a former Campus of Hope resident returns home to visit.

The young child was just a toddler when she came under the care of the Samoa Victim Support Group (SVSG), due to some family matters, and her home was no longer safe for her to stay. 

As a child protection organization, SVSG took the child under its shelter care program.

During that time, the Office of the US Embassy in Samoa usually visited the children survivors of violence, and one of the officers Justin Kimmons Gilbert and his wife met the toddler. 

The couple grew very fond of her and started the process of identifying her biological parents for their consent to adoption.

In an interview with the family, Justin Kimmons Gilbert said that adoption was not part of their plans.

“We weren’t looking to adopt. We were just two people who used to travel around the world and then Michelle met ‘this toddler’ and I met her, and then I told my wife that maybe this is how the story continues. We knew SVSG and President Lina Chang from my time at the US Embassy, and all these pieces made it easier for us to do adoption knowing the processes”. 

He also stated that their family came back just to show their daughter her birthplace.

“We felt in our hearts that it is best to let our daughter know about her roots, therefore we told her that she was at the Campus of Hope looking for a family, while we were looking for a family too, and so we decided to take her with us to the United States”- Justin Kimmons Gilbert.

The young child is attending a Primary school in New Zealand and her mother Michelle described her as an incredible, smart and talented child.  She is the top reader in her class, she is an artist and has become good at fire knife dancing. 

The parents are trying their best to let their child learn the Faasamoa as it is part of her identity.