I waited anxiously to see the headlights of the shiny black car that would bring my husband, Mike, and our fourth daughter, Leah, home from China. As I stood there with feelings of anxiety, excitement, and nervousness I remembered these are exactly the same feelings I had each time I have waited to first meet one of my daughters. It did not matter whether I was in a crowded hallway, waiting as a first time mother, in the Jin Feng Hotel in Nanchang China, or in a guest room at the Majestic Hotel in Nanning, China, or waiting at home, just a year and a half ago, for this same car. These last few moments before you meet your child seem endless.
Our journey began in 1997 when we began the process that would bring home our first daughter. After a disappointment at an informational meeting with another agency I searched my mind to see if there was anyone I had known that had adopted or could offer some suggestions as to another agency. I suddenly remembered a young woman who had worked for me years ago, but she left her position to work for Wide Horizons to utilize her degree in social work. I could never have imagined what effect that agency would have on my life. We attended an informational meeting with no question that adoption was right for us but also knowing we were interested in Russia.
Surprisingly enough we left the meeting setting our minds on China, we had viewed pictures of all the children from different countries and had fallen in love with the Asian children.
We received our referral call on December 8, 1998. I remember vividly receiving her in our arms and later giving her a bottle and looking into those deep brown eyes and wondering what life had been like for her just hours ago and what stories she would tell us if she could talk. Life couldn’t be better; we had a beautiful daughter, Lauren, and we were happy. By Christmas of that year were already talking about going back to China for another daughter and sister to Lauren. In May of 2001 we headed for Nanning, China to bring home Leslie. Mike recognized Leslie first. She was a beautiful petite little girl. She checked us both out and we fell in love immediately. Leslie had an impish smile and still does and loves to sing and dance.
Mike brought Lily home to all of us in September of 2003. I could not wait to meet her. That night when the black car arrived with Mike and Lily, she took one look at me and screamed. Lily has adjusted just fine, loves to laugh and enjoys every moment of life.
All of the sudden the three sleepy girls beside me, wrapped in blankets, jumped up and started screaming “Here comes Daddy and Leah“. Mike gets out of the car with two little legs dangling out of the Baby Bjorn and says, “Here she is! Here’s Leah.” Home just a month, Leah loves to see her sisters run and laugh, she wants to be part of all the action and seems to be thriving as part of our family.
We have been so fortunate to have been able to bring home four daughters from China with the help of Wide Horizons. We have formed a family that seems just perfect to us in every way. Never would I have imagined two trips to China, four for Mike, and the parents of four beautiful, healthy and intelligent daughters. Through our travels to bring them home, and our outside interests in the culture, we have come to know and love a culture which we knew nothing about. Still hoping to learn more, as our girls grow and mature, we hope that we have taught them what they need to know to be proud of who they are as Americans but not forgetting that they are of Chinese heritage.
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