Monday, August 11, 2003    


A Journey to a Little Girl

By:Brenda Becknell

Three years ago, my sister adopted a baby girl from China. I was lucky enough to make the trip to China with her. It was an experience I will never forget.

Parents in China today are strongly encouraged to have just one child. Because boys are still valued so strongly, often the girl babies are given up for adoption by their parents. However, openly giving up a child for adoption is not permitted in China, so parents must do this secretly, often leaving the days-old baby very close to an orphange, hospital, or police station so they will be found quickly and taken care of. It's hard for us to understand why someone else must go through something so heart-rending in order for another person to experience something so joyful.

We met up with the rest of the adoption group, five couples and four other single moms, in Kunming. I watched all these people anxiously await the first actual glimpse of a child they had only seen in photos. The day the babies came was an emotional experience I'll never forget. I've never actually been in a room with so much emotion - joy and love and relief and gratitude all mixed together.

In the two weeks the group was together, you could see the bond between the parents and babies grow day by day. By the end of the first week, it was as if the two had never been apart. Friendships between the parents were formed and bonds were made that are still there, three years later.

We were able to visit the orphanage and meet the women who had taken care of these babies for the first several months (or in some cases, years) of their lives. It was heartwarming to see their faces light up when they saw these babies again, even though it had only been a few days since they left the orphange. You could tell the babies had been given real love and care, and the parents all appreciated the opportunity to see this.

Everywhere we went, we were greeted warmly. The groups of schoolchildren that we saw on school trips always came up to us to say "hello" and practice their English. The elderly women, like grandmothers everywhere, came up to coo over the babies and congratulate the parents. Countries and cultures may be different, but when it comes right down to it, the people aren't so very different.

A simple picture album could not possibly have done justice to all the moments captured on film during these two weeks. A journal alone couldn't have done it. Only in scrapbooking could I really capture the emotions and experiences of this trip. I hope that when my niece is a little older, this album will help her understand that she was truly loved on two continents.

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