I was moved by an article in Reader’s Digest, February 2014, “The Making of a Mom” by Diane Clehane. She wanted to be a mother and it just wasn’t happening. Diane explained, “Married a little over two years, I’d suffered three devastating miscarriages in nine months and, at 42, was slowly coming to terms with the idea that I might never be able to have a child.” As the mother of adopted children, I know that heart-breaking feeling. She went on to tell about how at this age she began to be obsessed with the desire to be a mother. She said, “. . . the voice inside me cried out, ‘It’s too late! You missed your chance to be a mother! You wanted an all-consuming career and now you’ve got one.’”
Divine Intervention is Not a Coincidence
One quiet afternoon, to kill some time before seeing a client, she “ducked into Saks, hoping to distract myself with some retail therapy.” She ended up in the café and was sitting there at the counter when another woman sat near her. The woman surprised her by saying, “Would you like to see a picture of my daughter?” To be courteous she said yes. It was the picture of a smiling Chinese girl about seven years old. They chatted a while about her daughter, then the woman, Jill, said, “I was 51 when I adopted Melanie. And it’s the most rewarding, exciting thing I’ve ever done.” They exchanged cards so they could keep in touch.
That night Diane had a sweet dream about her deceased mother who had mentioned years before that she would liked to have adopted a child from Vietnam, but her father hadn’t felt the same, so they never did. She said, “I woke up knowing I could be—and would be—a mother. I also knew how that was going to happen.” She told her husband, he jumped on board, and they began the process. After what she called an 18-month “paper pregnancy,” she and her husband returned from China with their nine-month-old daughter. It was 2005. They named her Madeline Jing-Mei.
One of the first people she emailed with the news was her friend Jill. That was then. More recently, she wrote to Jill saying, “I can’t imagine my life without Madeline. She’s the happiest child, and I adore her.” She expressed her gratitude again for meeting Jill in Saks years ago, saying she would never have adopted a baby from China had they not met. Jill replied, “It was meant to be.”
A Single Mother’s Story
A dear friend of ours, Jodi, has a similar story to tell. She wanted to be married and have children. She, too, had a successful career, had began building a lovely new home in a family- oriented neighborhood, and was going about making her dreams come true. Being a mother was the desire of her heart. She said, “I realized marriage just didn’t seem to be in the cards for me and if I wanted to be a mother, I’d better consider a different option.”
She heard that single women were allowed to adopt babies in China. She began her search, praying to be guided to the child she should adopt. One day she read an article in the local newspaper about a woman in her town who had adopted a little two-year-old girl from a Chinese orphanage. Jodi said, “It stabbed me right to the heart. That’s when I knew that’s what I needed to do. I called the woman, met with her for dinner, and met her Chinese daughter.” She explained the adoption process to Jodi, connecting her with the agency that had helped her. That was in May of 1996.
It took the agency until March the following year to arrange everything and get the papers to China. After that it was a nine month wait before she received word that she had a child, which included a photo of her baby. The agency then made arrangement for her to pick up her 13-month-old baby daughter. Jodi moved into her new house eight days before she left for China. She named her baby Jade because it has a special meaning in China—a precious stone. The name also worked for her because it was a combination of her name, Jodi, and her father’s name, Glade. She enjoyed being a mother to her sweet little Jade.
Four years later she decided it would be good for Jade to have a sibling. This time she went through a larger international agency. The process began again and a year later she brought home a beautiful little Chinese 17-month-old sister. She named her Joi. Jodi’s parents live a few hours away and visit often. Her father is an adoring grandfather, bringing a strong fatherly influence into their lives. They are surrounded by good people who also care and give loving attention to these little Chinese treasures.
These little girls are now 13 and 17 years old, each very different in their personalities. Jade is shy and has some mild intellectual disabilities, while Joi is bright, bubbly, and involved in many activities.
Jodi says, “Adopting any child is a walk into the unknown. It takes faith.” Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” That’s pretty much what parenting is, whether you give birth to or adopt your children.
Chinese Adoption Information
For a step-by-step guide on adopting from China, visit “How to Adopt a Baby from China“ on WikiHow.