A family in Kastamonu, a city in northwestern Turkey, adopted a young deaf boy who could not speak 50 years ago after they learned he had no family. The family welcomed the orphan into their home and have counted him as a valuable member since 1971.
Ahmet Terzioğlu, the father of the family, first met Hakkı Öksüzoğlu in 1971 at a local coffee house in their village. Öksüzoğlu was very young and pale, so Terzioğlu ordered some tea for him and tried to understand what he was going through. Terzioğlu then invited the 16-year-old to his house for dinner.
Since Öksüzoğlu cannot express himself with words, Terzioğlu started to search for his family. He used newspaper advertisements to try to contact the young man's family members. No one related to Öksüzoğlu could be found, even after Terzioğlu worked with gendarmerie teams to locate them.
Terzioğlu adopted the young boy and treated him the same as his other children for 30 years. Öksüzoğlu took the surname of the family.
Muammer Terzioğlu, the eldest son of the family, stepped in to help his brother after their father passed away in 1999. Calling his brother "Uncle Hakkı" because of the age gap between them, the son Terzioğlu explained that Hakkı is an essential part of their family.
"My father passed away in 1999 ... Even though we do not have a blood bond, there is a special bond between us. Even if his family comes forward, he will always be our brother."
The mukhtar of the village, Yüksel Terzioğlu, spoke on behalf of all the people in their village.
"Hakkı helps take care of the animals and our property. He takes care of our children as his own children and plays with them. We love him as our older brother and uncle. We are his family."
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