Saturday, December 10, 2011


Early correspondence from me to the agency - "We were alerted to a boy, whom no one has inquired about, 10 years old, healthy (which seems odd that no one would) but perhaps I am being more optimistic about the chances of 10 year old healthy boys being adopted than real life gives.

He has been on the shared (special focus?) list for over 2 months."

This means he was on the shared list for over 6 months before having his status changed to special focus.

An early look up of the characters of his name hero (handsome or talented)! The handsome part is certainly there.

This search though was not just about searching for this boy's file but also some soul searching. We had in the past few days just brought home our 3rd child, home just 9 months after child 2 had joined our family. Knowing the process for a 4th child would likely take a year more or less, that was not the issue. The issue though would revolve on how well child 3 would integrate into our family of four - now home, not the honeymoon period in China where some things were still her society.

The agency found his file, one day before his 11th birthday.

His file was created in April, 2010 and sent up the line. Reading his file, which we received 12 days after first hearing his name, we had a question and thus requested an update.

We decided based on a change in the rules of adoption from China to reuse the dossier we had used to adopt Star, our 3rd child. We wanted to make sure everything was a go as far as China was concerned, that we could get a waiver for age for us, to adopt him, since he was listed as healthy.

The update came, on January 26th, answering the questions we had about his status of the moment, that a waiver could be had and yet we seemed in limbo.

On the 27th I wrote, "As of last night we are inching forward to saying yes to go ahead with the adoption. This adoption is taking on a surreal feel to it - in that advocacy for it came from an unexpected source."

Milepost 0 - (DTA) ie - Decision to Adopt - Then the balance shifted on the 29th, when Tian, our oldest went to Mama and asked her to please adopt this boy to be my brother. He will be her virtual twin. (Defined as birthdays less than 6 months apart.) The last doubt crumbled. With the update in hand, more pictures - this adventure picked up steam.

Friday, December 9, 2011


December 11, 2010 -  We arrived in New York around 3 pm, but before landing we flew over, and Star got to see from the air something neither Ellen or I had seen in real life, the Statue of Liberty.  Very neat.  Clearing US Customs, fairly quickly, as such things go, dragging our two huge suitcases, three children with everyone having a rolling carry on as well.  What a sight we must have been.  I think the immigration officer and the security folks figured we had enough problems - no way we could be a threat.  We were bone tired by then but still wanted to get some snacks which like theater food is way overpriced for what you get.

We flew out of JFK around 5 pm.

We arrived in Atlanta, the same day we left China, but 26 hours later.  The hotel we had left from 15 days before awaited our arrival as did our vehicle.  We got into our suite as soon as we could by around 830 pm.  As soon as we got settled a tad, the kids and I took the Blazer and we got on the freeway to go find some fast food about 5 miles away.  Yu-Hsuan tells Star, "Dad - he drives fast."  Thanks, Yu-Hsuan.

Back at the hotel a bit later - we sorta ate and then what I had waited for so long - the heated indoor pool, which by that time we had nearly to ourselves - the non heated indoor pool, somewhat cold but still a treat away from riding in a plane for hours unending.

We asked when check out was - 11 am.  We said, since we've traveled 31 hours to get here, please wake us at 8, so we can get ready and get out on time.  OK said the hotel folks.

After a nice hour in the hot pool it was time to get the crew in bed.  Honestly now nearly a year later, I don't know who slept where other than Tian took the couch in the outer room.

December 12, 2010 - The wake up call was needless.  By 4 am we were all up - because we were still on China time where it was 5 pm.  We were pulling away from the hotel well before 8 am, our 'wakeup' time.  It was a cold and wet morning, but we were heading home so Star could see her new home in daylight.

We had talked the night before and I suggested we get to the north side of Atlanta before stopping for breakfast at a good Southern eating place - Cracker Barrel.  We had been to that particular one several times over the years so we knew what to expect.

As we traveled north, about 25-30 miles to the exit, the temps kept dropping and the rain continued.  There is a section of road north of the belt way that encircles Atlanta, where the road is 8 lanes wide on each side of the road.

Driving along that section of road, in one of the middle lanes, my prayer from the day before, began to be answered.  We had been driving perhaps a half hour, had made it through the center of the city, north into that wide lane area, the kids more or less asleep in the back seat, when Ellen suddenly said - "I never thought I would be saying this again and never this soon, but I'm interested in adopting that boy."

I was so stunned by what she said, that I struggled to keep the Blazer in the lane we were in.  I never saw it coming.  I was dumbfounded.  In less than 24 hours of my prayer, God had already worked on Ellen's heart - perhaps before that.  We had been given the name of the boy, two days before...

We drove on to the exit, went in and had our good Southern breakfast returning to our vehicle.  By then it was starting to sleet / rain and we moved further northward.  By the time we reached our exit in Tennessee - the snow was falling fast and furious so that Star came to her new home in snow.

About a month later, I learned that the girl from Wuhan had a family reach out for her.  Whether or not she is home now I do not know.  I do pray that she is and now knows the love of a forever family.  With that news, my prayer was answered completely.

Home, the next day, Monday, back to work, I contacted an agency who had done a search once before, to ask if they could find this boy's file and what we needed to do to bring him home.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

My Prayer

December 11, 2010 - We left our hotel in Guangzhou close to 5 am, driven to the airport by van with a couple from California, leaving at nearly the same time for our flights to Beijing.  Arriving in Beijing around 11 am, we moved through the system and lifted off from Beijing around 1 pm.

As our plane climbed into the sky tears formed in my eyes as many thoughts rushed through -

- for my daughters leaving their homeland once and twice
- for the children we had met, who had no known family coming for them

Later I was moved to write several pieces for China tugs at my heart.  Among them was a prayer, written not so God can remember it but that I can - on our flight home from Beijing to New York, for it is my heart's throb.

Dear God,

There are two children on my mind, a 7 yo girl in Wuhan and a 10 yo boy in Guangdong.  Could one or both come to our family?  I know that you already know our future and we don't and that is best.

But Lord I know that these precious children you love need the love of a family. My prayer is that whatever your will  for these 2 precious little ones that you will meld my heart to accept it.  If one or both or neither is to be with us I pray for their sake that such be revealed soon.

I pray that you will also speak to Ellen, who has seen the need first hand.

Please lead and direct me in the future endeavors and I seek to follow your will for us - at home, at work to be witness of your love.

But Lord, most especially I pray for the children of China and Taiwan - that those who call you Father will step up and answer the call of the orphan.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Milepost (-2) - 10 Dec 2010 - Our last full day in China.

Today we visited our first daughter's orphanage.  It was a bittersweet experience.  We went a different route to the orphanage but finally came to an area we recognized, passing a place we had had brunch with the orphanage director and social welfare institute director in March, 2008.  Moving on perhaps a half mile down the street to the orphanage compound.  We pulled in and entered the orphanage through a different door than we had in 2008.

Presently the director Ms. Tang came to greet us, all smiles.  We proceeded up a flight of stairs to the second floor, through a locked gate that protects the children and keeps them inside as well.  Moving through the next section we encountered a group of children, most of whom appeared to be Downs syndrome children.  There were approximately a dozen children there.  Two of them toddled over to us and wrapped their arms around our legs.  Later, Ellen, told me that that behavior was consistent with Downs children, but I was unaware of such and found it hard to pry the one holding me loose and move on, leaving them.

We entered a room near the director's office where visitors would greet, the playroom across the way, pictures of various caregivers on one wall, a set of windows facing a courtyard next to which was a bulletin board of various children's pictures.  There were several there of our daughter and other children we knew, either from pictures or from actually meeting them.

Once word came that our daughter had arrived for a heritage visit, people came out of the woodwork, happy to see our daughter, how much she had grown.  At some point an adoption bookkeeping record was brought out and we saw her name and ours and her picture.  We also saw the name and family of a boy we met after adoption at our hotel.  Other pictures, most of which I did not see, were brought out of our daughter and other children.

The visit to this orphanage was different than the one the previous week because we really didn't see that many children and because this orphanage had so few available for adoption - not that we were looking.  There were plenty of smiles to go around but there were also tears and in some small way, the visit of the previous week was re-enforced.

Moving from the orphanage, we stopped along a street and met the director's mother who had taken our daughter and her roommate to school for nearly two years in her own vehicle.  From there we went to the alledged finding place, a park.  Afterwards we went to the school of the director's daughter, who our daughter had known and played with.  While waiting to greet her daughter, a name was given us, by our guide, of a child who needed a family.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Milepost (-3) - 3 Dec 2010.  That day we visited the orphanage and foster home where Star had lived a good portion of her life.  Meeting the children at the orphanage about to join their families in the days ahead was one thing.  Meeting the children with families further back in the process but more so the children with no one coming for them - was hard.

One cute little boy touched my wife's heart.  She said, 'if I could put him in my suitcase and take him with me I would'.  He though already had a family coming for him.  There, amidst the swirling kids, seeds were planted.